By Michael Kerr
1. Keep an idea journal to keep track off all your ideas, no matter how zany they may first appear!
2. Have fun! Humour and creativity are directly related and feed off each other. Humour helps reduce inhibitions, promotes lateral thinking and opens up more honest and open communication. (Ha + Ha = AHA!). Play a fun game, play Pictionary, brainstorm something wacky or do a theatre improv game before sitting down to brainstorm.
3. Become a browser of information. Studies suggest highly creative people tend to be generalists who make associations between unrelated information. Look for ideas everywhere and anywhere and from anyone!
4. Take the time to carefully frame the wording of your problem statement or goals for ideas to make sure that you are solving the right problem and not limiting your solutions.
5. Create a creativity and humour library in your office or workplace.
6. Circulate an idea file to collect ideas from ALL staff and even outside clients.
7. Hold contests for new ideas. Reward yourself and others for their creativity.
8. Establish a fun physical working environment and ambience. Our physical environment can have a huge impact on our ability to be creative.
9. Establish a “no sacred cows allowed” policy. (Challenge ALL rules, assumptions and outdated thinking!)
10. Keep a mini-tape recorder in your vehicle to capture ideas on the road.
11. Tolerate individual quirks in other people - recognize them as the opportunity for diverse perspectives. Ask total outsiders for their ideas.
12. Establish teams with a good mix of abilities (combine “idea people” with “doers”, “sellers” & “planners”).
13. Use puzzles and toys to stimulate creative thinking during meetings.
14. Hold regular brainstorm meetings to practice the process. (Remember the rules: quantity over quality, no blocking, no judging, build on other ideas – “Yes, and!”)
15. Ban idea-squashing language (“we’ve always done it this way”) from your vocabulary.
16. Hold meetings in different locations (have a picnic, go for a walk, go to someone’s house, a museum, the zoo. . .) to change your perspective.
17. View your problem from the opposite or reverse perspective.
18. Force random connections. Choose a word from the dictionary and look for novel connections between the word and your problem.
19. Make an idea list: force yourself to list 20 different ideas related to the issue.
20. Mindmap possible ideas. Put a key word or phrase in the middle of the page and then let ideas branch off in different directions, writing them all on the same page, branching ideas off each other in related categories.
21. Always ask yourself what the “other” right answer is. Force yourself to keep hunting for more ideas.
22. Exaggerate a trait connected to the problem and see what ideas follow.
23. Look at your problem or goal from a different perspective by imagining it from the perspective of another profession, a famous person or even an animal.
24. Re-word your problem statement and see what new ideas emerge by simply posing a different question.
25. Ask a five year-old for ideas for a totally novel perspective!
26. Choose your “peak brain hours” to brainstorm. (Don’t brainstorm at if your brain always feels like sludge at that hour!)
27. Minimize the risks associated with implementing a new idea by minimizing any possible downsides, communicating the risks and developing a plan for the “worse case scenario.”
28. Learn to SELL new ideas. Become an idea cheerleader and champion their cause.
29. Create an action plan with deadlines to implement new ideas.
30. Give yourself permission to play and be to be creative!