finding creative solutions


where do ideas come from?

how do they appear? what can we do to provoke good ideas? how can our brains enhance creativity?

Where do ideas come from? How do we arrive at that magical AHA! moment? What can we do to speed up this process when we find ourselves in a creative funk?

One important insight to understand about creative problems is that we must embrace the idea that there can be more than one right answer. Every journey begins with a crucial problem that forces us to seek alternate solutions. Frustration triggers hard work.

Hopelessness —> Frustration —> Revelation

It’s important to not only see small details, but the bigger picture as well. This utilizes both the left and right side of our brain, allowing us to make connections between two polar concepts and form them into a new idea. Having a relaxed state of mind is another crucial factor to enhance creativity. More and more companies are promoting down time at offices with space to take naps, play games, paint and draw, etc.

When I’m in search of creative inspiration, I like to start by going somewhere that inspires me. This could be as simple as outside on my front steps, to journeying somewhere with a view, visiting an exhibit, etc. Anyplace where people and nature converge tends to help me see the world from an existential point of view. I’ve also tried to become better at letting my inner thoughts flow freely. What if all those airplanes in the sky were UFOs instead? They could beam down from the sky and walk along the street as if they were humans… By this point, I’ve thought of a few new concepts, simply by walking outside and letting my imagination run without limitations.

Another approach to the creative idea generating process is a long-term thinking process composed of feed, chew, walk, work, and show. Depending on the problem, each step allows your brain to think critically while making connections between other areas of knowledge.

FEED - expose yourself to the world, learn about your topic/problem

CHEW - think about connections, challenge assumptions, why?, why not?, what if?

WALK - away. This helps to trigger your relaxed brain and make subconscious associations

WORK - execute your vision

SHOW - ask for advice, refine your concept, test it in a real-world scenario

Throughout this process, there are techniques you can use to spark that lightning bolt of genius. Make sure your brain is in a state of mind that is prepared to receive ideas. Keep your eyes open to the world around you. Observe, analyze, and question what you don’t understand. Notice the people… what do they need? How do they behave? What would grab their attention most right now?