Creativity is nothing more than combining two things in an unexpected way. However, it is critical that it really is unexpected.
For example, if you mash peanut butter and jelly together, it may taste great, but it’s not very creative. You must take two things that have never been put together and combine them to produce something truly innovative.
Many people struggle with finding two new things to mix together. Here are some sure-fire methods and concrete examples that clearly explain how to pick items to mash together to produce a creative output:
If you’ve ever wished you were more creative or tried to improve anything about yourself, you probably just said a general phrase such as, “I wish I was more creative,” “I wish I was a better leader,” or “I wish I was a better friend.”
However, that’s not enough. In the case of creativity specifically, you can’t just say you want to be generally creative. You need to, instead, generate your starting point.
This means that you need to get specific about which area of your life you want to be more creative in. Ask yourself where you are innovating or where you need creative ideas?
Utilize Imaginary Boundaries
Once you have your starting point and have identified the area of your life in which you need a creative idea, identify the imaginary boundary around that area. Draw a circle around it to enclose it.
Then, look around that area and take two items from it. Pull them together in a random way or juxtapose them in some way. What you get may seem absurd, but it gives you a clear way to generate a creative idea.
An Example From the Home
Let’s say you wanted to generate a creative idea for decorating your child’s bedroom. You would first draw that imaginary boundary around that room. Then you would take a couple of items from that room and combine them in a unique way.
For example, you could make a copy of the headboard and put it in new places, make it interchangeable depending on something your child loves, or mash it together with a variety of other things.
An Example at Work
Let’s say you work in food service and have a specific sequence for preparing food. You may want to try the division technique to generate a creative idea.
Take any part of that sequence or process, cut it out, and put it in another place in the sequence, a different physical location, or another place in time. When you do this, you have the potential to see the benefits of doing something in a different way than before. This could generate some really mind-blowing ideas.
To hear more scenarios that demonstrate how to generate creative ideas, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 038: Boost Creative Thinking By Being Specific – Ten Tips to Generate Better Ideas.