Brainstorming, creative meetings…we’ve all attended these, with very poor results. At most people simply repeat the ideas they already have and nothing novel is born.
Why is this? I think it’s because creativity doesn’t work that way, at least not for me. For me- novel ideas are seldom generated in a meeting rooms = at the Boss’s demand. It’s not that I cannot summon my “muse” on demand, it is almost always a matter of physical and mental setting. Let’s start with the physical- for me creativity usually required some distance and “buffering” of the external world- a closed room, some music, etc. it does NOT include multiple people in the same room and noise. But even this isn’t enough (and, to be honest, many times lead to procrastination). What I really need is to doze off, to drift and enter a “zone”. I need to be in the righ mental state of mind, which for means to be as far away from the challenge/ problem as possible.
I can achieve this better when I’m NOT thinking about the work or physically located in a work environment. Looking back, my best ideas come in strange places and are tied to specific activities:
- Exercising (Running, swimming, surfing)
- Taking a shower
- Right before I fall asleep
So, the optimal work environment for me would have a treadmill, shower and a bed! But seriously, having identified these activities as especially prolific ground for creativity, the most effective use for me would be to engage these in a concise manner- with a game plan. So to induce more creativity, the best method for me is to:
- Find places/activities which work best
- Go to these places with a game plan/ specific goal in mind ( a specific question or topic that needs to be addressed)
- Once the activity is over, Record, record, record whatever I’ve thought of (difficult to do if the idea pops into your head right before you fall asleep, but doable).
Once this process is in place, it can be refined (matching specific questions/mental challenges to specific activities).
Try to identify your (physical and mental) sweet spots, and engage in activities you know are conductive to creativity. And don’t forget to record it in the end- a good idea you’ve forgotten is just as useless as the one you haven’t even thought of yet.