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Monday, September 24, 2007

When the Creativity Dries Out

Monday, September 24, 2007

In a recent conversation with a colleague, he asked me, "What happens when the creativity dries out?" That is, what do you do when your struggling to find a new idea, concept or marketing message? I like to think I'm full of ideas, but I've also hit the brick wall from time to time. Here are seven strategies you can use to get the creative juices flowing:

1. Search the Internet. If you have an idea or concept or don't know where to start, spend some time surfing the Internet. Looking for book titles? Visit or other book related sites and do a little research. Seeing similar products in your category is a great catalyst for creative ideas.

2. Start drawing. Putting pen, marker, or crayon to paper or white board is a great way to get your thoughts going. Many creative thinkers use whiteboards excessively starting with a word in the middle of the board. Circle it and created branches that contain related ideas and circle them. You'll be surprised how quickly you can fill your whiteboard with new concepts and ideas.

3. Involve others. Anyone can have a great idea. From a marketing perspective, many new product names and even marketing concepts have come from everyday people with no formal marketing experience. Need a new product name? Ask those you work with, family, or friends. Even if you don't get the name you were looking for the experience can provide new ideas and concepts.

4. Go to your "idea" file. Keep an idea file. Each time you find an ad, webpage, or email that really moves you, throw it in your idea file. Over time you'll probably fill more than one file and use it regularly to generate new ideas or identify concepts you wish to replicate. The idea file is an old concept but one that's highly effective.

5. Flip through books. Printed resources including books and magazines can be a great resource for ideas. Keep in mind that some of the best resources may be those that are outside of your industry or area of expertise.

6. Pick up the remote. Television commercials are created by some of the most intelligent and creative people in the marketing industry. Use commercials as idea generators. The best way to use commercials to generate ideas is to consider the imagery, the key messaging, and the feelings they create. Can you apply any of these elements to your product or service?

7. Go for a walk. If you're still struggling to generate that "big" idea, then go for a walk, clear your head, and refresh. Sometime taking a break is the best thing you can do for your mind. It's said that Thomas Edison, one of the world's greatest inventors took cat naps to clear his mind and improve his thinking. Give it a try!

Creative thinking is both fun and challenging. When your stuck and need something motivating, experiment, try something new, look for references that can start the ideas flowing again. Every struggles for new ideas so be prepared - know who you can talk to in order to get the ideas flowing again and have a plan. This results in more ideas and more creativity.


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