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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Would You Like To Think Out Of A Different Box?

Would You Like To Think Out Of A Different Box?

Creativity, for us normal people, is like water in the desert. Sometimes its here when it rains, and sometimes it dries up. You can never expect its presence but to hope and pray for it to come. Yet this god-gifted talent is extremely useful for industries like fashion, design, product research development, marketing and the list goes on. But all hope is not lost because creativity is something that we can try to nurture and well since art is subjective, we can all learn to be as creative as possible with the help of these books.

Remember those great Volkswagen ads? by Alfredo Marcantonio, David Abbott, John O’Driscoll

    We cannot forget to mention the industry highly dependent on creativity here. Remember those great Volkswagen ads? is the comprehensive compilation and review of the revolutionary Volkswagen advertising campaign in the1960s and 70s (when Facebook has not appeared) and advertisements were about print ads in newspapers and magazines.

    The campaign by this world-renowned automobile brand is universally acknowledged to be the greatest and most influential campaign recognised by Advertising Age and Times. The book covers advertisements on the classic VW Beetle, the Van, Bus and Camper, capturing the golden age of advertising and the classic use of creativity, which still plays an important role in business creativity.

    Reading duration: 5hrs 9mins

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    Get Remember those great Volkswagen ads? from Amazon at $46.28

    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

      Millions of people worship Steve Jobs, the icon of design and innovation. What is so successful with Steve Jobs? And how did he created the empire of Apple Inc.?

      The biography of the genius is compiled with three years of interviews with Steve Jobs, portraying Jobs success, Apple, his family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors. No one needs one persuasive reason to read this book if you are already holding the world-changing device created and inspired by this technology giant.

      Reading duration: 9hrs 17mins

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      Get Steve Jobs from Amazon at $11.83

      Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

        As a child, you’re told to “go and have fun”, to explore, to fail, to try again, and again and again. The bumps and bruises aren’t a bad thing, they’re your badge of honour: you’ve tried, you’ve persevered. And then you hit a certain more adult age and you’re told: “to be careful, to study/work hard and to do your best”.

        The Kelly brothers believed there is always a creative inner me within us, which is only hidden by the way we were brought up. Failing at certain tasks can provoke our creative soul, and inspire alternative thinking. The book suggests creativity does not end in art or design, it is also about education, problem-solving, and innovation.

        Reading duration: 4hrs 18mins

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        Get Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All from Amazon at $19.00

        Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

          Austin Kleon told the truth about creativity, that few artists can admit to, that nothing is completely original, and all creative work builds on what came before. Every new idea is a remix or mash-up of one or two previous ideas.

          The book Steal like an Artist introduce principles to creativity such as “don’t wait until you know who you are to get started”, “go away so you can come back”, definitely not the normal principles but sentences that reflects and inspires readers to re-think about their choices they make. “Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.”

          Reading duration: 2hrs 16mins

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          Get Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative from Amazon at $9.89

          Where good ideas come from the natural history of innovation by Steven Johnson

            The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? Steven Johnson’s identifies the seven key patterns of innovation and creativity, including 1. the adjacent possible, 2. liquid networks, 3. the slow hunch, 4. serendipity, 5. error, 6. exaptation, 7. platforms.

            Johnson addressed one of the reasons why big cities are so much more innovative than small towns is that you have more diversity, more “spillover” of ideas, and more chance for the ideas to mingle around together, mainly because ideas take time to form and cultivate.

            Reading duration: 4hrs 52mins

            Get Where good ideas come from the natural history of innovation from Amazon at $13.83

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            Lifehack Reads

            Lifehack Reads is the curated collection of our favorite books, carefully categorized and sorted by our Editorial Team.

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            Published on April 6, 2021

            How To Brainstorm Ideas More Creatively And Effectively

            How To Brainstorm Ideas More Creatively And Effectively

            Do you continually look for ways and means to do things better but find yourself in a shortage of ideas? As humans, we are continually evolving and looking for ways to do what we do more efficiently—to yield the same or higher output with lesser inputs in time, resources, and effort. One way to do this is to wait for the Eureka! moment and inspiration to strike. But that is far-fetched and requires a lot of waiting around to take small steps ahead.

            However, putting in place a structure for ideation can come in handy for those looking to take giant leaps forward. And that’s where brainstorming ideas can help.

            Let’s have a look at how to brainstorm ideas more creatively and effectively. But before that, let’s dive deeper into understanding brainstorming.

            What Is Brainstorming?

            Brainstorming is an excellent tool for ideation, out-of-the-box thinking, and creative problem solving without criticism or judgment.

            Meriam Webster’s dictionary defines brainstorming as “a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem.”[1]

            Three things stand out here:

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            1. Spontaneous contribution – Brainstorming allows individuals to share crazy, far-fetched, out of the box half-baked ideas. It does not have to be thoroughly thought out yet at the ideation stage.
            2. All members – Brainstorming is a technique where taking in diverse opinions can improve ideating offbeat solutions.
            3. Find a solution to a problem – It is fundamentally goal-oriented towards one thing—solving the issue at hand. Without a clear problem statement, brainstorming ideas will not yield effective results.

            Broadly speaking, brainstorming is synonymous with the idea-generating process that creatively solves problems.

            You Can Brainstorm Ideas on Your Own

            It is common to think that brainstorming is effective only in groups and cannot be done individually. However, that is not entirely true. Studies have shown that although both approaches have their pros and cons in catalyzing idea generation, people are more creative when they brainstorm on their own than in groups.[2]

            Individually, one is empowered to flexibly work at their pace and drive idea generation. They can set their own time and place and ideate when one is at their creative best. Additionally, there is no fear of judgment when brainstorming individually.

            On the other hand, group brainstorming holds a sacred place in innovating in workplaces. Here, you can take advantage of the diverse experience, perspectives, and creativity of all team members to ideate and develop offbeat solutions that offer outstanding results.

            Is Brainstorming Effective?

            Brainstorming delivers tremendous value, from providing innovative and offbeat ideas that would have never occurred in the ordinary course of work to building a culture of collaboration and team spirit. Here are some reasons why brainstorming is effective and beneficial.

            1. Goes Beyond Creative Blocks

            Brainstorming ideas can help individuals and teams move forward when they find themselves creatively stuck. Inspiration is hard to come by, and brainstorming is an excellent approach to access on-demand creativity without the pressure of getting it right the first time.

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            2. Encourages Divergent Thinking

            By leaving no idea behind, brainstorming can help explore diverse ideas and alternatives to grow. Brainstorming ideas offers a judgment-free space to think of as many possibilities as you can until you’re convinced of the way forward.

            3. Supports Team Building

            Compared to other techniques, you create a relaxed and informal ambiance to brainstorm ideas that encourage open participation among team members. People are offered the space to share their opinion and points of view without fear of judgment, strengthening the camaraderie among team members. Frequent brainstorming sessions instill the spirit of collaboration and help teams to rely on each other’s strengths to deliver improved results.

            How Does It Work?

            Brainstorming ideas involves 4 crucial stages:

            1. Identifying the central problem or goal: This stage defines the critical purpose for brainstorming ideas.
            2. Idea Generation: An avenue permitting free-flowing generation of ideas.
            3. Developing the idea: Deep dive into the ideas produced and build upon them.
            4. Idea evaluation: Evaluating the top ideas towards its efficacy in solving the central goal or issue.

            The process is structured to allow consideration of varied ideas objectively to achieve the solution to the critical problem at hand.

            ProTips to Brainstorm Ideas Effectively

            Here are a few #ProTips to brainstorm ideas creatively and effectively.

            • Welcome wild ideas: Make sure you encourage offbeat and non-linear ideas. The more diverse the ideas produced in the ideation stage, the better it is to allow for innovative solutions to come forth.
            • Plan ahead: Allow people to think by themselves before the brainstorming session. This tip ensures that people are allowed sufficient time to mull over the problem statement and come prepared to ideate on tackling the issue.
            • Goal-tending: As you navigate the ideation stage, focus on the central goal or problem. It is natural to stray away while opening up the forum for ideas. So, it is essential to remind the teams on the problem statement to keep the discussions relevant and identify the best solution.
            • Record everything: Record all ideas, not just the good ones. This rule is fundamental to capture all probable ideas in the ideation stage. Make sure that every single idea generated is systematically captured regardless of how useful it is. Additionally, permit one conversation at a time to ensure all thoughts are given consideration and are not missed out in parallel discussions.
            • Judgement-free: Creating a no-judgment space encourages people to speak up and express their opinions freely. Keeping judgments aside can help continue the flow of ideas and encourage teams to build and develop each other’s thought processes. One idea could spark another, leading to much more effective solutions.
            • Defer evaluation: Refrain from evaluating ideas in the ideation stage. Hold the assessments till the evaluation stage for the best results. All ideas hold some potential so enforce the no assessment rule until all the ideas are captured, tabled, and developed. Alex Osborn, who conceptualized the brainstorming technique, recommends “defer judgment” as the golden rule to brainstorm effectively.[3]

            How to Use Brainstorming Effectively on Your Own

            Here are a few tips for brainstorming ideas effectively on your own:

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            1. Ground Yourself

            Make sure to ground yourself by meditating or practicing any other mindfulness technique to ensure your entire presence before brainstorming. You could also choose a time and place when you’re most active and energetic for the best results.

            2. Minimize Distractions

            Choose a time where you can focus entirely on brainstorming ideas for the problem at hand. Minimize distractions and create space for paying 100% attention in ideating solutions.

            3. Go Wild

            Individual Brainstorming does not have worries about other’s judgment and offers a safe space to ideate as many crazy or wild ideas as they come. There’s no worry about egos or team dynamics either. So, the brainstorming can be focused on solving the core issue.

            4. Use Mind maps

            To keep the chain of thought as you brainstorm ideas, you can use mind maps to arrange, assimilate, and develop concepts further. Word association, prompts, or even visual cues can come in handy to ideate across the spectrum.

            5. Take a Break Before Evaluating

            Don’t go into assessments and evaluations right after you ideate. Take a break. Do something completely different before you consider the ideas to be objective and unbiased. Keep the overarching goal in mind to filter the best possible outcomes. You could also narrow it down to the top 2 to 3 ideas and run it past your mentors or colleagues to get unbiased opinions from trustworthy sources.

            How to Use Brainstorming Effectively in a Group

            Here are a few tips for brainstorming ideas effectively in a group:

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            1. Diversity

            Form groups across functions to bring in different perspectives as you brainstorm together. Ensure that the individuals chosen are equally vested and aligned towards the shared goal to achieve maximum results. You could also brainstorm with a complete outsider to get a fresh perspective on a problem that you’ve been stuck with for a long time.

            2. 6-3-5 Technique

            You can adapt the 6 people coming up with 3 ideas every 5 minutes to keep the ideation momentum going. You can get over 100 ideas in 30 minutes using this approach.

            3. Challenge Bad Ideas

            Ask team members to write down the craziest and most ludicrous ways to solve the problem. Then challenge other team members to make changes to flip a bad idea into a good one.

            Final Thoughts

            Brainstorming ideas is an excellent way to creatively identify the best way forward. It provides structure to unstructured thinking and delivers immense value to individuals and organizations to think beyond the conventional norms. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve picked up a thing or two to help you brainstorm ideas effectively.

            Featured photo credit: Leon via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Merriam-Webster: brainstorming
            [2] MindTools: Brainstorming
            [3] The Heart of Innovation: Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session

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