Simple Ways To Develop Fresh Ideas

If you find yourself going from brainstorm meeting to brainstorm meeting, you know how tough it can be to consistently come up with fresh ideas. In a culture that demands innovation and disruption, it's important to fight burnout and refresh your approach.

Katherine Fusco, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, says that you can see things in new and inspiring ways when you commit to some simple, regular practices. We explore these practices in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Make a date with yourself. In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron suggests a weekly practice she calls the "artist's date." The artist's date is not a date to work on your own regular creative work, Fusco says. Instead, it's a date to feed your inspiration by looking at something artistically nourishing and stimulating. If you write computer code for a living, you might go to an art exhibition one week or browse your independent bookstore for a new novel the next. If you are a writer, you might go for a walk in an arboretum on Monday mornings or take a cooking class on a Friday each month. It may be that in contemplation of a painting of a seashell, you are inspired to solve an immediate problem, but the purpose of the artist date is less directive. Instead, the idea is to enrich you, to fill you with wide-ranging, stimulating and nourishing material for a creative living.

2. Read about creative lives. Fusco encourages professionals to start building a library of others who have lived inspirationally full and productive lives. She says that biographies and how-to guides from other fields can be wonderful sources of inspiration that also open you up to the way a day and a life might be structured. In Deep Work, for example, computer scientist Cal Newport describes the inspiring life of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who worked in a tower in the forest to develop theories away from the distractions of his day. Although there's a wide chasm between contemporary computer science and Jung's somewhat idiosyncratic psychology, Newport draws inspiration from his work habits to explain why he avoids the social media chatter of our own moment.

3. Get in touch with your "beginner's mind." It can be refreshing to one's self as a knowledge-seeking being to be very bad at something and to get viscerally in touch with what it means to learn as a process, full of curiosity and uncertainty. In disciplines with which we are familiar, Fusco says we tend to commit to problems and projects with a sense of our approach already established. But how do you approach fly fishing? Crochet? Trapeze flying? Extremely novel experiences require close attention and intensely focused thought of a kind we may have lost in relation to our most frequent and yet most important work.

When you want to tap into your creativity for a new campaign or pitch, try the tips above to approach your work in exciting new ways.

Source: Katherine Fusco is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches film, theory and American literature. Fusco writes about mindfulness, writing and popular culture.

filed under September 2019
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