If you’ve ever said, "I’m not creative," this is for you.

Creativity is a challenge for most people, especially when it comes to marketing. At one point, you have probably said “I’m just not creative.” But don’t give up because there are ways to be creative, even when you think you’re not.

Here are three creativity enhancement methods. Use one, two, or any combination of the three to spark creative ideas for your marketing.

ASKING QUESTIONS

Gerald Solutionman” Haman, is founder of Solution People and the award-winning inventor of an innovation tool that has proven to increase creativity by over 500%. Gerald believes that too many times we look for the answers before we’ve established the right questions. To solve that problem, Haman developed the KnowBrainer pocket creativity tool. It’s a mini question bank that gets you asking the right questions as you move through Haman’s Accelerated Innovation process.

180 cards containing questions, quotes and other creativity starters, allow you to investigate, create, evaluate and then activate your ideas. Get your team together in a room with a KnowBrainer and you will come up with some creative marketing. We’ve successfully used this tool to innovate creative solutions at The Marketing Spot (that’s my personal KnowBrainer in the picture). It’s only $98 from Solution People.

If you have the time and the money, Haman’s Accelerated Innovation Training is a one-day journey through innovation and creativity in The Thinkubator. I highly recommend it and it’s a good excuse to go to Chicago.
*Note: I have no affiliation with Solution People other than I have paid money for the tools I am recommending here.

DRAWING PICTURES

Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin, believes that any problem can be clarified, and even solved with visual thinking. That includes creative problems.

In his Change This Manifesto, The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking: The “Lost Chapter” from The Back of the Napkin, Roam says,

“By drawing it (our problem) we will see otherwise
invisible aspects and potential solutions emerge.”

Roam calls this “visual thinking” and says drawing is not for artists. Drawing pictures helps us clarify what’s in our own heads. You already know how to think visually because that’s how your brain is wired. Roams says it’s as simple as look, see, imagine, show.

First you look at the landscape/problem. All you do is scan the situation without judgment. Next you see to recognize the patterns of your obstacle, so that you can make some sense of them. Then you imagine, to see things that aren’t there, by visually pulling out what you don’t see, from what you do see. Finally, you show, or share, with someone else. This is when drawing comes into the picture.

Roam explains more with some simple illustrations at his ultra-cool Back of the Napkin website. The Back of the Napkin book promises to help you “crystallize your ideas, think outside the box, and communicate more powerfully,” and I think, more creatively.

STORYBOARDING

Some books entertain, some educate, but some books change the way you do things. That’s what Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen did for me. It didn’t just show me how to be a more effective presenter, it taught be how to be more creative. The light bulb moment for me was storyboarding.

First, use Dan Roam’s advice above and sketch out some of the ideas you have to solve your problem. Narrow your pictures down to one key idea. Now, develop a narrative for that key idea. It’s like crafting a story. Reynolds likens it to drawing comic books. Focus your attention on the key idea, your narrative, and then story-board it.

I like to use a big post-it sketch pads and then post my ideas to the wall as I develop them. Put your key idea at the top of the page and then draw several blank boxes on your story board. In those boxes, narrate your story with simple pictures. To the right is a photo of a recent story board that I created for one of my workshops. You can see that I use sticky post-it index cards instead of drawing boxes on my storyboard. If I change my mind or think of a better idea, I can easily re-arrange the story.

Even if you don’t do presentations, read Reynolds’ book and Presentation Zen blog. It will stimulate your creativity.

GET OTHERS INVOLVED

I find I’m more creative when I have help. There’s something about bouncing ideas off other people that stimulates creativity. Sometimes it’s just a little off-hand comment that sparks your imagination. So draft some comrades and get creative. Buy a sketch pad, ask some questions, draw some pictures, and then story-board your ideas. Then let me know what you create.

Got any other creative ideas? Let’s hear/see them.


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