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Essential Resources for Creativity (163 techniques + 30 tips + books!)

Essential Resources for Creativity (163 techniques + 30 tips + books!)

Creativity and innovation thinking are topics that I have been searching recently. Below are those couple of sites’ resource links + some related recommended books that related to creativity and innovation. Techniques (163 of them!) by Mycoted should help you with creative thinking – those are the toolbox for you when you get stuck on developing your ideas.

Tips on Creativity by Gaping void is a list of how to be creative. This is the initial list for understanding what is creative and what are the ways you can gain creativity.

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Finally I have gathered some references on books and audiobooks which are great for references on this topic.

Here are the lists:

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“There are many definitions of creativity, from my favourite above, to dictionary definitions such as “originality of thought” (Collins English Dictionary). Personally I believe we are all creative, we all have original thoughts and ideas, although for many the action of expressing those creative thoughts has been trained out of us over the years.” – Mycoted

Creativity Techniques:

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  1. Alternative Scenarios
  2. Analogies
  3. Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA)
  4. Anonymous voting
  5. Assumption surfacing
  6. Attribute listing (and variants)
  7. Backward Forward Planning
  8. Boundary examination
  9. Boundary relaxation
  10. Brainstorming
  11. Brain sketching
  12. Brain Writing
  13. Brain writing 6-3-5
  14. Brain writing game
  15. Brain writing pool
  16. Browsing
  17. Brutethink
  18. Bug listing
  19. Bullet proofing
  20. Bunches of bananas
  21. Card story boards
  22. CATWOE
  23. Charrette
  24. Cherry Split
  25. Circle of Opportunity
  26. Clarification
  27. Classic Brainstorming
  28. Collective notebook (CNB)
  29. Comparison tables
  30. Component detailing
  31. Concept Fan
  32. Consensus mapping
  33. Constrained brain writing
  34. Contradiction Analysis
  35. Controlling imagery
  36. Crawford slip writing
  37. Creative problem solving (CPS)
  38. Criteria for idea-finding potential
  39. Critical path diagrams (CPD)
  40. Decision seminar
  41. Delphi
  42. DO IT
  43. Dialectical approaches
  44. Dimensional analysis
  45. Drawing
  46. Estimate-discuss -estimate
  47. Exaggeration (magnify or minify)
  48. Excursions
  49. Factors in ‘selling’ ideas
  50. False Faces
  51. Fishbone diagram
  52. Five W’s and H
  53. Flow charts for action planning
  54. Focus groups
  55. Focusing
  56. Force-field analysis
  57. Force-fit game
  58. Free association
  59. ‘Fresh eye’ and networking
  60. Gallery method
  61. Gap analysis
  62. Goal orientation
  63. Greetings cards
  64. Help, hinder
  65. Heuristic ideation technique (HIT)
  66. Highlighting
  67. Idea advocate
  68. Imagery for answering questions
  69. Imagery manipulation
  70. Imaginary Brainstorming
  71. Implementation checklists
  72. Improved nominal group technique
  73. Interpretive structural modeling
  74. Keeping a dream diary
  75. Kepner and Tregoe’s method
  76. KJ-method
  77. Laddering
  78. Lateral Thinking
  79. Listing
  80. Listing pros and cons
  81. Metaplan information market
  82. Mind mapping
  83. Morphological analysis
  84. Morphological Forced Connections
  85. Multiple redefinition
  86. Negative brainstorming
  87. Nominal group technique (NGT)
  88. Nominal-interacting technique
  89. Notebook
  90. Observer and merged viewpoints
  91. Osborn’s checklist
  92. Other people’s definitions
  93. Other people’s viewpoints
  94. Paired comparison
  95. Panel consensus
  96. Paraphrasing key words
  97. Personal balance-sheet
  98. Phases of integrated problem solving (PIPS)
  99. Pictures as idea triggers
  100. Pin cards
  101. PMI (Plus, Minus, Interaction)
  102. Plan Do Check Act (PDCA)
  103. Plusses, potentials and concerns
  104. Potential-problem analysis (PPA)
  105. Preliminary questions
  106. Problem-centred leadership (PCL)
  107. Problem Reversal
  108. Progressive hurdles
  109. Progressive revelation
  110. Provocation
  111. Q-sort
  112. Quality circles
  113. Random stimuli of various kinds
  114. Rawlinson Brainstorming
  115. Receptivity to ideas
  116. Reframing values
  117. Relational words
  118. Relaxation
  119. Reversals
  120. Role storming
  121. 7-Step Model
  122. SCAMMPERR
  123. SCAMPER
  124. Sculptures
  125. Search conference
  126. Sequential-attributes matrix
  127. Similarities and Differences
  128. Simple rating methods
  129. Simplex
  130. Six Thinking Hats
  131. Slice and Dice
  132. Snowball technique
  133. Stakeholder analysis
  134. Sticking dots
  135. Stimulus analysis
  136. Story writing
  137. Strategic assumption testing
  138. Strategic choice approach
  139. Strategic management process
  140. Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA)
  141. Successive element integration
  142. Super Group®
  143. Super heroes
  144. SWOT Analysis
  145. Synectics
  146. Systematized Direct Induction (SDI)
  147. Technology Monitoring
  148. Think Tank
  149. TILMAG
  150. Transactional planning
  151. Trigger Sessions
  152. Trigger method
  153. TRIZ
  154. Using ‘crazy’ ideas
  155. Using experts
  156. Value brainstorming
  157. Value engineering
  158. Visual brainstorming
  159. Visualising a goal
  160. Who are you?
  161. ‘Why?’ etc. – repeatable questions
  162. Wishing
  163. Working with dreams and images
“”Creative” is one of those annoying words that means little, simply because it means so many different things to different people. I make no claim to have a better definition of “creative” than anyone else.” – Hugh Macleod

Tips to be creative:

  1. Ignore everybody.
  2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.
  3. Put the hours in.
  4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
  5. You are responsible for your own experience.
  6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
  7. Keep your day job.
  8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
  9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
  10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
  11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
  12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
  13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.
  14. Dying young is overrated.
  15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.
  16. The world is changing.
  17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.
  18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.
  19. Sing in your own voice.
  20. 20. The choice of media is irrelevant.
  21. Selling out is harder than it looks.
  22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
  23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.
  24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.
  25. You have to find your own schtick.
  26. Write from the heart.
  27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.
  28. Power is never given. Power is taken.
  29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.
  30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

Reference Links:
Creativity Techniques – [Mycoted]
How to be Creative (latest version) – [gapingvoid]
Audio Books:
The Breakout Principle: Maximize Creativity, Athletic Performance, Productivity and Personal Well-Being

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    Super-Creativity

      Recommend Books:
      A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD : How You Can Be More Creative
      Why Didn’t I Think of That? Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness
      Planning Under Pressure: The Strategic Choice Approach (Urban and Regional Planning Series, Volume 37)
      Broken Crayons: Break Your Crayons and Draw Outside the Lines

      Strategies of Genius, Volume One, Volume Two
      Techniques of Structured Problem Solving (General Business & Business Ed.)
      Thinkertoys (A Handbook of Business Creativity)

      Comments and further discussions are welcome at Lifehack.Community.

      More by this author

      Leon Ho

      Founder of Lifehack

      Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques Fifty Essential Topics on Economics

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

      How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

      Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

      When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

      Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

      What Makes People Poor Listeners?

      Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

      1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

      Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

      Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

      It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

      2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

      This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

      Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

      3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

      It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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      I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

      If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

      4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

      While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

      To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

      My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

      Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

      Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

      How To Be a Better Listener

      For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

      1. Pay Attention

      A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

      According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

      As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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      I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

      2. Use Positive Body Language

      You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

      A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

      People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

      But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

      According to Alan Gurney,[2]

      “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

      Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

      3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

      I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

      Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

      Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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      Be polite and wait your turn!

      4. Ask Questions

      Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

      5. Just Listen

      This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

      I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

      I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

      6. Remember and Follow Up

      Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

      For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

      According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

      It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

      7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

      If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

      Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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      Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

      Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

      NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

      1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
      2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

      8. Maintain Eye Contact

      When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

      Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

      By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

      Final Thoughts

      Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

      You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

      And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

      More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
      [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
      [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
      [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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