Discover the science of creativity
This is a unique, interactive experience that may help you experience a new way to think. This is NOT another self-improvement article, or a pompous piece on how to write.
After years working as a graphic designer, I opened up a small boutique advertising agency with Tom Guttman, whose claim to fame at Foot, Cone & Belding was E.T., the first three-dimensional outdoor billboard, that stopped traffic on I-95 in Florida between Orlando’s airport and Universal Studios Florida. For the last sixteen years, I have been paid to create new ideas for ad concepts, TV and radio commercial scripts, tag lines, product names, even branding mythology. In that time, I have come up with thousands of terrible ideas, a bunch of ideas that were sold to clients, and a handful of really memorable ones of which I’m proud.
When your business is saleable ideas that meet a deadline, part of your own professional development is to figure out ways to come up with ideas when you’ve exhausted everything that normally comes to out of your mind. Over the years, I’ve learned some pretty cool techniques. But the best way to teach someone something is not to tell them, but let them experience it for themselves. That’s why I’ve tried to design an experience, instead of writing an article.
Ground rules for this experience
In order not to spoil this experience for other people, please do NOT talk to other people about your results. I will see your responses, and go over results with you privately, but comments will not be displayed at the bottom of this article. Can you do that? If so, let’s begin.
Exercise #1: The mash up.
Here are a few random things (when you get the hang of this exercise, you can do it with whatever things you want). Put these things together in a unique way to create a product, tell a story, solve some problem or any other idea that comes to your mind.
- The economic principle that limiting choice makes it easier for people to make a decision and be happy about it
- The good cop-bad cop idea of how to negotiate; how our prejudices can create just as powerful motivation as our passions
- The use of diversion to hide your true intention
- The ability of oppressed people to find some niche in which they can succeed, because the dominant group never thought this could be profitable
- The guerilla marketing tactic of getting some famous person to take interest in you without you having to pay expensive endorsement fees
Try to combine at least two, but hopefully all of these ideas. Don’t spend more than 10–15 minutes thinking about this, because the example I’m using will not be what you expect. That’s not to say that you can’t come up with your own good ideas. It’s just my example will probably make you see things in a completely different way.
When you’ve got an idea, just make a comment below like you normally would. (I’ve turned off the comments, so no one will be influenced by your idea and not do the work with a completely open mind.)
If we get a lot of responses, they will become part of the next article, along with the “solution” to this problem. It’s not really a solution, it’s more a method of letting you experience one of the ways a creative mind works, instead of being told how to do something.
See? I told you this would not be another typical bullish*t life hacking listicle.
I hope this experiment gives you one of those Eureka! moments.