When the Fleet Review sailed into town recently, there was an abundance of excitement around the ships and sailors descending on the Harbour city, so I decided to use the weekend to my advantage and flex my creative muscle, by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and taking an interest in something I know nothing about.
Thinking creatively is about making connections - connecting random ideas, thoughts, feelings and insights, to come up with new ways of looking at and solving a problem. Simply put, it’s the idea of using old to create new.
Our ability to connect random things is dependent entirely on the sorts of things we know about and have experienced. In order to be able to hook up more random thoughts and therefore have great ideas, we need to absorb and mop up as much information as our little brains can hold, ready for making that all important connection.
We all know about things we like, but there are only so many random connections you’re going to be able to make with Prince Harry/chocolate. But if you start to step outside of your comfort zone to look, feel, smell and touch things you wouldn’t usually (hello sailor!), your ability to think more creatively and draw more connections will inevitably increase.
With this in mind, I headed off to look at some ships and boats and naval stuff, to learn about something I know absolutely nothing about, not with the intention of coming up with a great campaign or strategy, but by putting myself into a situation I wouldn’t normally be in I gained a different perspective. And that’s another important thing about thinking creatively - the ability to approach a problem from a different angle, or put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
So when someone asks if you want to do something you have no interest of doing, DO IT. You never know what it might feed your inner-random-things-bank and might give you the nugget you need during your next brainstorm.