Use The Power of Imagination to Boost Your Creativity

Man can create anything he can imagine.

Imagination—our ability to create images not available to the sensory system—is arguably our greatest faculty for evolving human consciousness. In order to transform ourselves and our world, we need to be able to leap out of the familiar and into the unknown.ideasNH

"Ideas are intangible forces, but they have more power than the physical brains that give birth to them. They have the power to live on, after the brain that creates them has returned to dust." Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich

Imagination is Think and Grow Rich fifth step towards riches and success in life.  It is through imagination wherein desire is crystallized into reality. Mr. Hill discussed in this chapter how man’s only limitation lies in the development and use of his imagination. Even after more than 70+ years after Think and Grow Rich was first released in 1937 and 100+ years after the idea was born, it is still the source of motivation, inspiration and success principle for so many…

Sparks For Creativity

A Universe Of Possibilitiesidea

I am so frustrated when I hear people describe themselves as not creative. If you consider it, each sentence we utter is a creative act. In fact, every problem, every product and every moment in our lives is an opportunity for creativity.

I just picked up a book from Tina Seelig, InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, and she said something that really resonated with me: "Creativity is an endless resource, and we can tap into it at any time."

Innovation Enginemodel

Seelig offers a new creativity model, that she calls the "Innovation Engine," to explain how ingenuity is generated and fostered. Chapter-by-chapter she explains specific tools, techniques and conditions that together enhance creativity in individuals, teams and organizations.

Her approach to unlocking creativity is a holistic one. Her model has six parts – three that come from inside of you (knowledge, imagination and attitude) and three that are generated by the environment in which you live (culture, resources and habitat).

"These are not isolated factors. You have to look at them in concert," Seelig said.

Knowledge, imagination and attitude overlap and are internal because they reside in the mind. Knowledge is the toolbox for your imagination; your imagination is the catalyst for the transformation of your knowledge into new ideas; and your attitude provides you with the drive needed to push through difficult problems.

On the other side, culture, habitat, and resources are of the outside world. Culture, habitat, and resources influence the process by which imagination catalyzes the transformation of knowledge into ideas. Thus the individual and the environment are interdependent in interesting and non-obvious ways and essential for creative problem solving. 

Inventive Solutions

Seelig said both imagination and innovation can be fostered in a few simple ways.

Look at things from a new perspective. According to Seelig, we often allow our imagination to dwindle as we age. One of the way we do that, is by asking ourself constraining questions such as: 5 +5 = ?

“There is only one right answer. Really creative people don’t look at the world like this. They look at problems through different lenses and they reframe the problem,” said Seelig. Instead, creative people ask questions like this:  ? + ? = 10

Reframing the question this way, opens up the parameters and allows for an infinite number of inventive answers. 

Rethinking of failure as research. Even under pressure, you must not be afraid of failure, said Seelig. You can always gain knowledge from unexpected results. This way you won't won't fear being innovative, just in case things don't come out the way they are expected to. 

"We all have creativity within us," Seelig argues, "and there are endless opportunities to use it."

 Watch this TedX talk by Tina Seelig on unlocking creativity. Seelig will take you through her innovation model and the various components needed for creativity.tina

Creative Flow

Creativity is an adventurous exploration of ideas.

When something strikes a spark of curiosity… follow it. Creation is an exploratory path flowing through idea space, and the final creative work is only one of many paths through that space. Experience your own path in the world of idea space.

Creative work is not right or wrong. It's important to think completely openly when entering your creative challenge, letting your ideas express themselves. Enter with flow. flo

Every path leads to and provides a unique perspective from the whole of that space, so all paths are valid and worth consideration.  

No single path has all the answers. Some paths run in circles. Some are dead ends. Some lead to treasures. There is a point though in this journey where an almost magical feeling of connection occurs.

That final idea or destination is not better, although it might fit or feel better for your brand, or your specific campaign…It’s the creative journey itself that matters. 

The more paths and journeys we explore, the better the space is understood, the better we can see which ideas we should follow, and which are more valuable for your particular creative outcome. 

Do you have a particular way in which you enter into a creative journey? Have you found tools or spaces that work for you?

Here are some interesting links and articles I found on the subject of creative process and flow.
-Creative flow

-Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

-Flow Experience

Absence Thinking (From the MDCG tool box)

At any point in a creative-thinking situation, alone or in a group, new solutions emerge when those involved force themselves to think in an arbitrarily different way.

Absence Thinking: Think about what is not there. tool

When to use it
Use it when you are stuck and unable to shift thinking to other modes.
Use it when you want to do something that has not been done before.

How to use it
Think about what you are thinking about, and then think about what you are not thinking about.
When you are looking at something (or otherwise sensing), notice what is not there.
Watch people and notice what they do not do.
Make lists of things to remember that you normally forget.
In other words, deliberately and carefully think about what is absent.

An artist draws the spaces between things.
A market manager for a furniture wonders about product areas where customers have made no comment. She watches them using tables and notes that they leave the tables out when not using them. She invents a table that can be easily be folded and stored.

How it works
The psychology of thought is such that we are very good at seeing what is there, but not at all good at seeing what is not there. Absence Thinking compensates for this by deliberately forcing us to do what we do not naturally do.

MDCG has a series of tools for creating ideas, by exploring different methods of thinking that will help those who use them produce surprising and useful results. I will be posting techniques, tools and methods from our series regularly here, so check back often!


The Creative Process Has Five Stages

A structured process for creativity in advertising

Creative advertising can be seen as a combination of creative strategy and creative tactics. Where creative strategy constitutes deciding what the advertising message wants to convey while the creative tactics deal with how the advertising message is to be executed. Experts view the creative advertising  process to be exactly like an assembly line- organized, sequential, controlled and efficient. Using process models for creativity in planning strategy can be useful since they offer an organized approach to creative problem solving. 

Pioneering creative process theorist Graham Wallas believed creative insights and illuminations emerge from a five-stage process. There are several process models used in brainstorming creative ideas, this one from Wallas I particularly like, and feel the stages he's outlined have been my process too. 

1. Preparation (assimilating content and knowledge, preparatory work on a problem, exploring the problem’s dimensions) - Fact-Finding

2. Incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally) - Problem-Finding

3. Intimation (the creative person gets a “feeling” that a solution is on its way) - Idea-Finding

4. Illumination (insight where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness) - Solution-Finding

5. Verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied) - Acceptance-Finding