Rutt. Funk. Block. Call it what you will, there are certain times when you just get totally, absolutely, undeniably, bang-your-head-on-the-desk stuck coming up with a creative solution.
Notice I didn’t say a creative concept, because creative problem solving is not just for us Creatives with a capital C. Whether you’re creating an ad campaign, developing a contract strategy, building a brand position, naming a new product, etc., there’s creativity at work–yours and your team’s.
So what happens when you hit the wall?
The creative team at SPBA recently participated in a killer creativity program developed by our friends across the pond at IAS b2b Marketing called Brain Juice. It gave us keen insight and easy, practical tools for squeezing your noggin’ to keep the creativity flowing.
The great metaphor Brain Juice teaches (to add to the rutt, funk, block, and wall) is The River.
Imagine when you’re ideating that you’re in The River. After you spend some time there, The River starts to dry up. Thinking gets stale. Worse, it gets repetitive, and you end up coming back to the same ideas. It’s physiological; your brain goes to what’s familiar and reflexive and can’t get past it.
The only way to get to new ideas is to get out of The River.
Somehow, you have to tear yourself away from what you’re working on and let The River refill. Many writers, Stephen King among them, often say they go for walks or have some form of physical activity that they use to recharge their creative batteries. So go walk around the block. Maybe grab a coffee.
But what if that’s not enough to get you out of The River? You have to trick your brain! There are many tools–some people may call them tricks–that can spur fresh thinking.
I’ll share one of the great tools we learned with Brain Juice: Eccentric Thinking. Remove all of the parameters from what you’re working on. For a few minutes, anything and everything becomes fair game. Find out what happens when you just ask, “What if…”
- What if we had an unlimited budget?
- What if we had no budget?
- What if we had to solve the problem in the next five minutes?
- What if we couldn’t use pictures?
- What if we were explaining this to a 6-year-old?
- What if, what if, what if…?
Then, go back and see what you’ve come up with. Clearly, not every solution you come up with will be viable–but you may discover ideas that can be scaled, tweaked, tailored, and made into something you can use.
Good luck on The River. May the current flow fast and deep.