“I don’t think I’m much more creative than the average person. Creativity is something that just needs to be unlocked.” David Kelley said in an interview with San Francisco Chronicle. David Kelley is the Chairman and founder of IDEO, an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy.

Do you want to kickstart your creativity?
I previously blogged about why life scientists should want to be creative. Every person can become more creative, but there are some easy and some not-so-easy methods. There is an entire industry devoted to helping businesses be more creative. Unfortunately many of these are not so applicable to scientists or researchers. However, I have made a list of a few that you might find helpful. These are approaches that do not cost anything and you will not need to spend much extra time to do them. What you need to do is remember to do them every now and then and the more often you do them they will become a natural part of your day. I am covering each in more depth in six different blog posts.

1. Change surroundings
The process of thinking should not be confined to your lab or your workplace. To get new and fresh inspiration; get out of your building, or at least get out of the rooms you normally work in.

2. Change habits
Changing habits will change your perspective, open up for new impressions and stimulate your brain to be more creative. An entertained brain is a more creative brain.

3. Observe
By observing your surroundings to a larger extent you will open your mind and make a database of impressions, thoughts and ideas. Observe shapes, colors, movement, feelings, interactions etc. and make a mental library of observations.

4. Connect thoughts
When you have started observing the world around you to a larger extent than before and your database of observations increase, start connecting them. Things that seem unlikely to have anything to do with one another can suddenly make perfect sense.

5. Collect your ideas
Always carry something to take notes with. Use a pen and a note book or take oral or written notes on your phone. If you read or see anything that catches your attention in a magazine, paper or brochure; tear it out or put in a bookmark. Also bookmark or copy things you find on internet.

6. Believe that you are creative
Tell yourself that you are creative and believe it. Write down one thing that you did today that was creative – no matter how small.  Keep a small log and you will find that you are indeed creative! If you are still in doubt; read the quote from David Kelley at the top of this blog post again.

Implement one or all
You can start with one of the tips at first and then pick another one. You can also implement all at once: When you leave the office to go and work at the nearest coffee shop, tell yourself that you are creative. Believe it, walk a different route to the coffee shop than you normally do, notice people you pass, sensations and differences, make connections between old and new thoughts that turn up and write them down. All six tips in one go – it´s not harder than that.

Enjoy this inspiring talk by Tina Seelig on things that influence creativity. (Note that she is using a cool presentation tool called Prezi that I will cover in a future blog post.)



Please leave a comment below if you have tried any of my suggestions to kickstart your creativity and explain how they worked. What do you do to get out of a rut and become creative?