Image by: SEVENHEADS
By Dexter Lunde
Being relevant to your market means that you’re being innovative with your ideas. In order for you to keep up with the game, you need to be coming up with ideas constantly. However, after a few innovative and fantastic ideas, you may go through a creative block. This is normal and happens to everyone at some point in time.
Writers get writer’s block. Artists get creative blocks. Small business owners get content marketing blocks. Those in research and design get stuck as well. It is something that we need to learn to get over. Luckily, there are a lot of ideas out there and you can mix and match to find out which ideas work best for you.
#1) Maybe It’s The Project
If you’re working on a project and you run out of ideas, it may be that your project is too overwhelming and big. In these cases, it is best to break that project down into more manageable chunks of work. Take that big goal and section it off into smaller goals.
#2) Surround Yourself With a Varied Support System
Having a supportive group around you is good. When you fall, then can help you up. When you’re stuck, they can share their ideas and as long as you are open-minded, they can often show you something that you didn’t even see. That comes with taking a step back and looking at the problem from a different viewpoint. Often, we are too close to the problem to see the solution that is right before our eyes.
Having a varied support system is important because not only can they show you different viewpoints, they can do so with varied knowledge that you don’t have. If you work in retail & design and your support system only consists of other designers, you may be able to keep up with trends but you won’t be able to be as innovative as others who have designers and other professionals on their team.
For example, fitness trainers can tell you what is in when it comes to work out attire and physical activity. People who work in the entertainment industry can tell you what’s big in that field (something that you can integrate into your latest designs).
#3) Use Your Past Experiences
We can spend so much time looking forward that we can forget about taking what’s behind us to help jettison us forward. Experts always say “talk about what you know” and we can forget that, that means to use our experiences to identify problems and fix them. Don’t be afraid to look at past experiences that don’t have anything to do with your current project. When we combine these pieces of knowledge, we can often see how we can create new and innovative ideas in our field of expertise.
#4) Look at Using New Experiences
Just like you can combine past experiences that have nothing to do with each other, creating new ones can help you see your problem with new eyes as well. Reach out to new people. Creating new contacts can help change your perspective. Try out a new place. Go somewhere you’ve never been before and see what ideas this can spark. Pick up a new book. Take a class in something obligatory.
All of those are examples of new proficiencies that can shed a little light on your problem or can help you create new ideas.
#5) Create An Innovation or Research & Development Lab
No one ever gets tapped out of ideas unless they stop experiencing new things. However, sometimes we could just use a little help. That’s when an R&D or innovation lab can come in handy. Lockheed Martin and Apple are a couple of examples of companies who created their own labs that are dedicated to developing new and innovative ideas.
#6) Write It Down
If your problem is that you’re so anxious about the project that you’re having trouble generating ideas, I suggest that you write down all of those worries. Write down what you are stressing over to help physically get them out of the way. This practice could help your brain stop worrying about them as much because you’ve written these things down and you don’t need to worry about remembering them anymore.
This is more of a psychological practice but it can also help generate ideas. Once you’ve written them down, take a good look at them to see if they can help you move forward. Will answering one of these questions or anxieties help you answer your problem or produce an idea?
#7) Step Away & Do Something Creative
Perhaps your problem is that you’re thinking too hard about trying to break free from your creative block. Instead, take a step back and a deep breath. Now go do something creative. Go paint something. Go write down your frustrations in prose. Go sculpt something.
Or, if you’re not very artistic, go meditate. Sometimes clearing your head is one of the best ways to start fresh and wipe your slate clean.
Now it’s your turn. What do you do when you are stuck? What helps you generate more ideas? Where do you go when you are having trouble thinking of new innovations for work? Do you have an R&D team?