It is important to get away from all the typical routines in order to develop creativity. The idea of change is common among successful and creative thinkers. This means creating a specific ritual around creativity or simply finding a way to take a break. Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, an entrepreneur and marketing expert from Costa Rica, offers insight into learning how to think outside the box to create better marketing plans.
One surprising way is simply to take a shower. Taking a shower gives us a strangely conducive environment to thinking, like anyone who has had an amazing idea while taking a shower (only to forget it when they finally find a pen and paper). If you have an idea in mind, walk into the shower with a pen and paper at hand, and see what you can think of.
Going for a walk helps. Like the shower, taking a walk can develop creativity. Explains Zuñiga, “Whether you take a walk as a prelude to starting with a creative project or do it as part of the project itself, doing this activity will help you get your creativity flowing.”
Create psychological distance between your normal routine and time for creativity. Writer Toni Morrison always watched the sun rise in the morning before she started writing. She felt that doing so gave him access to his creativity.
Giving a lot of different ideas, especially those that might seem a little far-fetched, can be a good alternative to choosing a few really good ideas. This process helps you open your mind so you don’t get stuck in the same old thought patterns.
It is not about identifying what is possible and what is not. When you are proposing ideas, don’t limit your creativity. All ideas, no matter how ridiculous or inapplicable, are welcomed at this stage. You won’t make it past this stage if you limit yourself.
During this stage, avoid saying things to yourself that limit your creativity rather than stimulate it. Notice every time you say, “That won’t work,” “We didn’t do it like that before,” “We can’t solve this problem,” or “We don’t have enough time.”
Finding creative solutions and ideas stems from seeing the problem or project in a new way. Seeing something differently allows you to glimpse possible new solutions that you might not have considered otherwise. Luckily, there are some useful resources for reconceptualization that you can turn to.
Turn the problem around. You can do it literally or figuratively; flipping an image over can make it easier to draw because your brain has to see it from the point of view of its components rather than what it expects it should see there.
Work backwards. Sometimes, it helps to look at the solution first and work backwards from it. For example, let’s say you work in the advertising section of a newspaper. It’s losing money because it doesn’t receive enough advertisements. Start from the best end result (having a lot of ads of the right kind). Work backwards by contacting the types of companies and groups that can provide you with the best and most profitable ads.
Give yourself time to daydream. Turn off your computer, TV, and phone. If you constantly stick to distractions, it will be much harder for your brain to rest and make connections. “You can daydream while walking or when you’re in the shower,” asserts Zuñiga. “Daydream in the morning before you wake up or at night before bedtime.”
Sometimes, if you’re having a hard time thinking outside the box, it’s time for you to set some basic parameters. You may see it as an obstacle to your creativity, but if you set the correct parameters, you’ll find that it can offer new ideas.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that your ideas won’t always work; that’s normal. It’s the reason you consider the worst-case scenario when you come up with an idea.