Sometimes whacky is what's wanted. If you've been tasked with coming up with an "off the wall" idea, then take a look at the following seven ways to unleash your inner creative.
1. Do a Huge Brain Dump
Write down everything that comes into your head. Everything. Not just the good ideas. Not just the “maybe this will work” ideas. Put everything on paper as it enters your mind.
It’s a stream of consciousness that you want to capture, and for a few minutes, it will feel very bizarre. You will go off on wild, crazy tangents. You may write down a shopping list or the weird dream you had last night about bananas in space. But after a while, if you have immersed yourself in your assignment, you’ll start seeing connections. Little ideas that mean nothing on their own but when joined together become a spark that can turn into a successful campaign.
Seriously, play like you were a kid again. Bring in a bunch of your old toys, like that He-Man Castle Grayskull or a collection of Trolls and other stuffed toys. Legos are great, as are any sets that require some imagination and creativity. Play-Doh is about $1 for a tub. Invest in a dozen of those, and make something. Anything.
Stop thinking about the assignment or campaign, and play like you mean it. Your subconscious mind is working to connect unusual ideas while you take some time off from thinking. Before you know it, you'll be struck by a flash of genius. Drop everything, and get writing.
3. Change the Scenery
If you sit in an office with your feet on a desk, go outside and walk around. Jog. Play pool or racquetball. Sit in the back seat of your car or truck. Get a massage, facial, or pedicure. Do everything except the norm.
It’s amazing how a change of scenery and exposure to a different environment can impact your ideation.
4. Take Some Risks
How big or small those risks are, that’s up to you. Maybe you like the idea of bungee jumping or riding the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Find a way to get an adrenaline rush. Something that gets your blood pumping, your heart racing, and your mind energized. When you have finished, you will have a new perspective on your project. Now start the creative process again, and see how you do.
5. Have a Drink
Science confirmed in 2014 that the ideal blood alcohol level for creativity is 0.075 percent. It has been called the “creative peak,” and it’s something many creative people have known for decades.
Having trouble? Pop to the local bar or pub for a few pints. CP+B Copenhagen took this idea to the next level. They created an alcoholic drink called The Problem Solver, with a bottle that shows you exactly how much to drink to hit that peak. That, in itself, is one crazy but cool idea.
6. Look Beyond the Competition
It’s easy enough to get some research on the ads and campaigns the competitors are running, and it can be helpful. But it can also confine your thinking to a limited playing field.
So if you’re working with a client like Ford, don’t look at the ads Nissan and Mazda are doing. Instead, look to very different markets. How is Heinz ketchup selling itself right now? What was that crazy ad for bleach that someone launched that went viral? What is going on with that strange campaign for potting soil?
Absorb yourself in foreign landscapes for a while, then come back to the drawing board. Your ideas will be very different.
7. Experiment With Your Senses
Heighten your sense of smell or hearing by inhaling various scents or listening to music. Or do the opposite and limit one of your senses. Wear earplugs or a blindfold. Put on thick gloves or try doing tasks with one hand.
Mess with the way you interact with the world and you may just hit upon an idea that makes other people change the way they think about the brand you’re promoting.