5 ways to get the creative ideas flowing again

Created by cjalvarado
July 16, 2013

No matter how creative you are, sometimes the well just runs dry. But, you still have projects and clients, and they’re still relying on your creative genius! So, why not try something new to break through creative’s block? Here are five different methods that will have you raining fresh ideas in no time.

First things first, strike the Power Pose. Don’t know what I mean? Watch this.

Get Out

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Staring at the same walls day-in and day-out can drain your creativity–quickly. Get up, get moving, and get a new perspective on things. Go for a walk.  Visit the magazine aisle at your local bookstore. If you want to get real crazy, take your team to the zoo. Get out of the office—both physically and mentally—if possible. Lastly, if you get out, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” for an hour or so, to truly absorb your surroundings.

Work Together

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. –Henry Ford

Great ideas are a collection of hundreds of good ones, so work in groups to harvest as many ideas as possible. Set a timer for two minutes and have each person write as many ideas and keywords as possible. After the timer dings, everyone can share their list and compare notes. Encourage quantity over quality for this exercise—one person’s half-thought may spark a fire for someone else.

Do it Alone

I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me. –Albert Einstein

If collaborating in a group isn’t working for you, take some alone time. Lock yourself in your office, turn up your music, and turn off your phone. Close your eyes, clear your head, and wait for the storm.

Use a tape recorder so you can speak your ideas as they hit you, instead of stopping to write them down, so you can maintain focus. Then, you can write down the ideas that pop. I use my trusty Moleskin.

Role Play

The best way of successfully acting a part is to be it.  –Arthur Conan Doyle

When you run out of ideas, sometimes all you need to do is immerse yourself in a different mindset. If you’re trying to write a commercial for a product that appeals to 18 to 25-year-old males, then be an 18 to 25-year-old male. Spend some time reading what they would read, watching TV they would enjoy, or listening to a popular song for their demographic. Spark up a conversation with people in that demographic, and ask questions.  Make it your aim to listen intently. You’ll start to learn the pain points, think with their brain, and tap into thoughts you never would have had on your own.

Let’s Get Visual

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self. –Jean-Luc Godard

Perhaps the trick to thinking up your next great idea is simply _not _to think. Go online and browse images. Mindlessly search keywords on Pinterest. Find things that appeal to you, print them out, and hang them up. Create an entire wall that is comprised of images. Once the wall is full, group the images into relevant categories. Tweak, add, and subtract until you start to see a solid idea taking shape; then mold it into something greater. Let the images guide you. At Bamboo we do this to help generate fresh ideas on things we’ve been working on for a while. The images provoke all kinds of new ideas.

If you find your creativity dwindling, take a break from what you’re doing and start fresh with some of these methods. Snapping out of your current headspace may be all you need to get the wheels turning again. Your best idea yet may be closer than you think.


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