The following is a guest post by Philip Brunner, a freelance graphic designer who, for the past seven years, has specialised in brand creation and restructuring.
Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems.
Have you ever watched children use their imagination? Children have the most amazing creative powers. They can utilize the most unusual things and make a kingdom out of it. So, what happened to us? Why did we stop being so creative? Some of the principal differences between us and children are that they haven’t yet been inhibited by family, institutions or society.
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.“
— EDWARD DE BONO
I am going to deal with the most common problem in creativity. Our thinking!
We tend to see only the obvious way of looking at a problem—the same comfortable way we always think about it. Our standard way of thinking has gotten us nowhere creatively.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
— ALBERT EINSTEIN
Psychologists call this “functional fixedness.” Finding a solution to this problem is the beginning of creativity. We need to shift our thinking from standard to radical. We need a paradigm shift.
A paradigm is an organized belief structure that dictates your thoughts and actions. Each paradigm holds particular beliefs about what is true, what is effective, valuable, etc. It significantly affects your perception of reality. We need to challenge the beliefs that affect our involvement in the level of creativity we have. We need to confront the beliefs that cause the resistance. There is only one authority over what we believe, and that’s us. To start finding out what has been stopping us, here are a couple of open-ended statements. Complete them as honestly as you can.
i. I don’t believe I can be creative because…
ii. I don’t believe I can change because…
Now find as many reasons as you can to counter those beliefs.
Try to find at least 10-15 reasons for each statement.
You will begin to see that you have no logical justification for not being creative. Our irrational beliefs have been the culprit all along. We don’t need to overturn every stone in our attempt to find that one perfectly written article about creativity that will cause it to instantly manifest in us. We just need to make some changes in our thought process and use the creative tools already at our disposal. (See link below)
The change towards creativity can and should be continually nurtured and enhanced through deliberate habituation for chance of success. We need to be in the habit of being creative or cognitive atrophy will set in. We should enforce our creative progression by spending at least 15 minutes a day, or more, generating or recognizing ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that can be useful in solving problems.
Mind-mapping is a great tool for stimulating all the senses. It’s a method of storing, organizing, prioritizing, learning, reviewing, and memorizing information. It effectively presents an overview and summary of a body of knowledge that fuses words and pictures; helping simulate logic and creativity for proficient and effective thinking practices involving the five senses. Mind-mapping and brainstorming with colleagues during the design process has been successful for many designers.
There’s a chapter in the book Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities that deals specifically with mind-mapping. It’s available to you as a free download.
After a while of aggressively applying creative techniques to our everyday problems it will become more natural and intuitive. Our subconscious will begin to do most of the heavy lifting. When we are faced with a more complex problem in the future, we will be able to spend most of our time in deliberation, confidently expecting the subconscious part of our mind to finally collaborate with our consciousness.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
— ALBERT EINSTEIN
Some of the benefits and exciting motivational factors of being creative include having the intuitive sense that knowledge is not subject to the lineation of time, that all solutions have pre-existed, and the next generation of solutions is readily available for those who don’t stop looking.
I found that when making behavioral and/or cognitive modifications, I tell my family and colleagues along with keeping a journal for better observation and accountability.
Here’s an exhaustive list of creative tools from creatingminds.
For further discussion about creativity or cognitive issues you can contact me on Facebook.
Following my call for guest authors, Philip’s the first in a series of new faces here. I do hope you’ll make him (and the others) feel at home. Huge thanks for the post idea submissions so far, and if you read guest posts you particularly like, or don’t, I’d love to know what you think. The content’s for you.
Images courtesy of Thinkstock.