If your position requires you to be creative, you are blessed. It’s a privilege to be encouraged to suspend what you know and create what doesn’t exist. I am fortunate to count myself as one of those who spends time each week creating.
My creative bias is marketing strategy, but I think my point holds for most genres of the artistic science. But it’s not an exclusive club. We are all gifted with ability to create, given the right ingredients.
#1 Take from your own creative palette
Once you’ve got a brief (focused permission) you need a palette of reference. This is personal and it’s different for us all. For some it’s Ian Dury, a passion for designer shoes, an obsession with the Four Tops, the last year of lectures at university or even the pop culture consumed over the weekend. All have been quoted back to me as inspiration behind an idea.
Of course our sources and memories are vast, unstructured, badly organised and blurred over time which makes it the greatest library for creativity available to us – so use it.
The reason being that as Paul Arden sort of puts it, ‘it does not matter where you take ideas from, it’s where you take them to which matters.’
#2 Building your own ideas labyrinth
I have ways to structure ideas, and techniques to hold thoughts and return to them and add small advancement weeks later. They have taken years of refining by listening to others approaches and forming my own archaic but ultimately successful network in my mind. As a consequence they are messy and probably only effective for me.
#3 Finding your own creative workshop
But there is one aspect which I believe can be replicated by all and that’s the creative space. You never hear a rock star saying I wrote the hit whilst sat at my desk. Unless you apply a regimental Roald Dahl like approach to creating ideas (yellow pencils, yellow paper, white writing shed, red tin of sweets, green sleeping bag etc) I suggest finding a variety of places which encourage your creativity. Find places which trigger ideas by their significance or by highlighting your own insignificance. Either way they inspire me to arrive at new outcomes I hadn’t reached before I spent time there. Below are three of my favourite. I like to think of them as my creative workshops.
The British Museum workshop
I recently met with a friend in the cafe and we came up with an idea which could change his life and possibly a way in which an established part of his industry works. It’s the height here. You sit with one hundred and fifty feet of headspace. And all areas are shared so you get a buzz all the time from the lives others are living around you. And whilst all around are consuming we are creating. Contributing to the future. NB. Bring some change as the cafe doesn’t take plastic for less than £5.
The Building Centre (Store Street) workshop
When you walk in you are welcomed by a 3D model of London’s landscape including those planned developments. You can trace your route to work and figure out in miniature how much of London’s footprint you actually cover. I’d suggest unless you are a town planner, cabbie or a tourist it’s probably not very much.
Move around the centre and you will find 3D photocopiers, new material exhibitions and stories about the impact of commercial and residential developments in London.
You feel like you are getting the ‘inside’ story on the city, which is empowering. You start to see something you know very well from a new perspective. Bingo. This is exactly why it provides such a fabulous new canvas for creativity. There are many break out areas and a decent cafe too.
Edinburgh Castle view workshop (Princes Street)
High above Princes Street in Edinburgh is the Debenhams Cafe which, with its convex windows, has a ceiling to floor view over Princes Street Gardens and up towards Edinburgh Castle. Take lunch at 1pm and you can even hear the roar of the ceremonial cannon. It’s never occupied by anyone except shoppers so you can lose yourself in thought and vista. The clash of timeless significance and throw away everyday retail make it a heady cocktail.
It’s the sort of view of the castle many are looking for, but it’s not the sort of place you’d think to come to get it so you can get lost in your thought. Admittedly the windows need a clearer Perspex solution, but the view has always fuelled my imagination.
Obviously, we are all gifted with the ability to create ideas. We do it everyday. If it’s your job you’d hope you are better at it than others. But if you can create the right environment, it’s interesting to see what you can achieve.
So if you want to be creative, you need do nothing more than get off your backside and take a walk. It’s free and it frees the mind. And who knows the rest might just come to you.
Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which achieves cut-through propositions for our clients. To do this we look beyond the familar towards the unordinary. To find out more about what we do and if that might be of interest to you please visit our website lexdengroup.com
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