Earlier this summer, I went to see the play Hamilton. What really impressed me about the production was the creativity that went into the story and lyrics of the play. From transforming the famous Hamilton/Jefferson debates to rap battles to the humorous portrayal of King George, the creativity of Lin-Manuel Miranda is truly remarkable.
Seeing the play also was a reminder that creativity is important in the work we do. We use our creativity to develop unique story angles, new campaign ideas and new approaches to everyday issues.
However, I think I speak for most of us that finding time for creativity is often a lower priority on our to-do list. We often get bogged down in day-to-day tasks like responding to emails, deadlines, etc. There is little time to allow for creativity.
Creative ideas can come to us in many ways: whether it’s a flash of inspiration or ideas that develop slowly over time, it’s important to have a framework in place to hone your creativity.
At Think Big, we carve out time to solve problems or to brainstorm certain issues. Personally, being creative means I need to have a clear head and have time away from other obligations to come up with new ideas. Here are some ways that work for me:
1. Exercise. When I exercise, I’m not caught up in my to-do list. If I can go out for a run, walk, hike (any movement usually does it) and work on a problem, I’ll often solve the issue or come up with a great idea for a client. The link between exercise and creativity is also backed by science. Exercise helps spur chemicals in your brain that actually help this process happen.
2. Traveling. When you travel for work or pleasure it breaks you from your routine. This often helps my brain get away from everyday tasks and concentrate on ideas. I’ll often use time on the plane for creative time.
3. Brainstorm Meetings. When I am struggling with an idea, I'll plan time for an in-person meeting or call to talk it through with my team or peers. Two heads are often better than one!
4. Research. Researching competitors or other areas of campaigns, media coverage and social media posts will often help me develop new strategies and approaches for clients. Staying updated on industry trends and news often does spark new ideas.
Allowing yourself more opportunities for extra time and space in your day or week for creativity will pay dividends in developing new ideas for your work.
Always Think Big,