You have a large collection of knowledge and experience (your tub of Legos). Now how do you sift through them to start making connections and forming ideas? It takes some effort. Various methods like mind mapping or free writing can sometimes help expedite this process. Other factors can play a role in finding connections to form ideas as well.
Incubation. Sometimes ideas take time. After learning all you can about a job—the client, their industry, the product, etc.—step away from it. Let everything drift to the back of your head. There, your subconscious will take over and continue to think on it. So when you return to the job, an idea may more quickly emerge.
Serendipity. Sometimes ideas just happen by accident. A band in the late 60s didn’t know what to call themselves until a member found a dirty book on the ground. It’s title? Velvet Underground.
Science. Sometimes science can help an idea emerge. More specifically, your dopamine levels. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls pleasure and motivation and helps us relax. When our minds are relaxed, we’re not thinking analytically about a problem. Rather, our attention is directed inward, allowing us to detect connections we might have overlooked. That’s why some of us get our best ideas in the shower, or when exercising, driving home, taking the Browns to the Super Bowl, etc. These are all typical dopamine triggers.
Other factors can also help ideas emerge, such as collaboration. You may have an idea on the verge of brilliance, but it’s just missing one piece. Your coworker might have that missing Lego you’ve been looking for. So collaborate and communicate often for creativity. Teamwork makes the dream work.
In summary, anyone can be creative. You just have to find connections in what you know and what you’ve done to create an idea. And the more knowledge and experiences you acquire, the better chance you have at creating something spectacular. It’s not always easy. But it’s not impossible.
Oh, and one last thing to remember. Even after you fill up your tub with Legos, sort through and connect them and create something awesome…
The client can always come back with revisions.
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