Creating in Flow

The world of creativity—with a twist of rationality

4 Good Ways to Get Great Ideas

Use simple objects, strategies, and your mind to be creative.

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"Being creative isn't about having a state of mind that facilitates creativity," claims expert in applied creativity Bryan W. Mattimore, "it's about setting tight parameters that will paradoxically liberate creative expression."

Now there's food for thought. Idea Stormers: How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs is the latest book by Bryan W. Mattimore. His articles have appeared widely in major magazines, and he has facilitated more than 1500 business and marketing ideation sessions for well-known business clients.

Idea Stormers, while aimed at businesses, can also help those of us seeking to enhance our own creativity or who find ourselves blocked on anything.

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I chose to highlight the following four techniques, each of which is easy to learn and customizable, notes Mattimore. It seems to me they're all suited to in- or out-of-office creative thinking (as are dozens of the other techniques in Idea Stormers).

1. Worst Idea: Think up terrible ideas, then reverse them or use them as inspiration for getting good ideas.

2. Wishing: Begin by coming up with your best, most impossible wish for this creative task, then add reality and practicality to come up with workable substitutes.

3. Questioning Assumptions: We all typically assume more than we realize about what isn't possible and what might be. List those assumptions about your project, then choose some to use as a springboard for creating new ideas.

4. Picture Prompts: Although it might seem counterintuitive to use visual images to instigate verbal creativity, it works, per Mattimore. It may take some time to gather images from magazines that are intriguing and relate in some way to your task. Then use them as a springboard to make connections and come up with something new.

Finally: "The human mind has an uncanny ability to make creative connections between seemingly random or irrelevant stimuli," Mattimore reminds readers.

Copyright (2013) by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.

Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and author. Her current focus is on the creative aspects of rationality and atheism.

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