Some people will have you believe that creativity is something you're born with rather than something which can be teased out of you. I, however, am of the school of thought that creativity, like any other skill is something which can be taught.
Creative inspiration should be fuelled by the world around you - ideas can come in the form of anything from current affairs to culture and it's important to remain relevant and immerse yourself in what is going on around you. Take a proactive approach and go to a gig, take in a show or check out a gallery and you'll reap the benefits when it comes to hatching your next show-stopping scheme.
With the internet and social media, there are so many outlets for information that there really are no excuses. It is important to embrace both culture and counter culture to stay abreast of what is currently popular and to help you predict the next big thing. Even if something is not to your taste, it is still important to try and keep track of how it's received. Just because you don't like something, it doesn't mean that the audience for your next idea won't, after all, you never know what your next project could be.
Thinking creatively stems from allowing yourself to think differently. Open your mind and don't feel like your thoughts and ideas need to conform. In a world of seemingly endless rules and regulations, the one place where everyone is completely free to do what they want is in their heads. Allow yourself to have free, organic thoughts without judgement and remember no idea is a bad idea. If more people had considered the possibility of flying, without instantly writing it off, who knows where we would be today.
As the ideas pop into your head, remember to write them down; everyone has a phone now so take a note or leave a voice message for yourself. You will often find that when reviewing your ideas, one of them offers the perfect solution to your problem, or at the very least, provides a launching point for more ideas that will help you get to where you need to be. Let the ideas flow and don't feel the need to add a filter.
Creative sparks don't just appear out of the blue, so avoid getting frustrated if you aren't instantly struck with a stroke of genius. The more pressure you put on yourself to be creative, the harder it becomes. My best ideas come to me when I'm in the shower, at the gym, out for a walk or even in the pub with friends (I would like to say some of my best ideas have come after a few drinks but I wouldn't want to encourage alcoholism!).
Don't be scared to try and reinvent the wheel. Some of our most successful campaigns and events have been based on taking a tired idea that has been flogged to death and making it our own. This means approaching a concept from another angle, having a different perspective and changing the way it is perceived by the end user. It's always good to challenge peoples pre-determined conceptions; after all, if everyone listened when told to not try and reinvent the wheel, we would never innovate or move forward, and standing still is the death of creativity.
All the creativity in the world means nothing without a pragmatic plan of action. In terms of turning an idea into a reality, always start with the most ambitious version of what you want to achieve and work out which parts of your idea are most important to the success of the project.
If you've allowed yourself to think big, don't let the size and scale of your plan put you off making it a reality. Start by breaking it down into smaller chunks, creating a series of more manageable projects that can be worked on independently without losing site of the overall goal. It is amazing how many people just throw themselves into something without actually thinking about how they are going to achieve the end result.
Creativity is something that comes from a seemingly detached part of our mind, and as such, it stands to reason the key to being inventive is finding out how to access the part of us where ingenuity lies. Allowing yourself to think freely, coupled with a wide subject knowledge will put you in good stead to flex those mental muscles and will have you well on your way to unlocking your artistic self!
Image - author's own