Open up for creativity

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Creativity is more about being not embarrassed than having great ideas. Creativity for me is starting somewhere, and from there, it flows, and you need to let it flow. You do not know what will come out and where you will end up. The more ideas you can produce, the higher the chance some are highly useful.

Embarrassment is a learned disease. It can be cured. It’s about willingness to fail. We prescribe so much and say things like, ‘‘Creativity opens you up to brand-new worlds.’’ It doesn’t open anything up to brand-new worlds. You don’t know what it opens you up to. It’s not a line from A to B. It’s a line from A to strawberry pizza. 

Mo Willems

Practical tips to open up

It is always easy to say about anything you need to let go, trust the process and do it. Here are three simple tips on how to open up more for creativity:

1. Go for volume

The odds of producing an influential or successful idea are a positive function of the total number of ideas generated.

Dean Simonton

More ideas are better. There is, in this stage, no need to focus on quality. Quantity is the most predictable path to quality. Therefore push yourself to generate as much as possible to increase your chances of success later.

2. Invert

Invert. Always Invert.

Carl Jacobi

The best way to gain clarity about a problem is to address it backwards. Either by starting at the end or by making it worse first. Especially when you make it worse, you can then invert it again and make it better.

3. Begin, let others finish it

Stop halfway (or at a third or a quarter) of an idea and give it to somebody else so they can build upon it and finish it. It might not end up as the idea you had expected, though most likely, the outcome was not expected by anyone. Do this a few times and mix ideas to come to a new one.

Of course, there are plenty of other methods to stimulate your creativity. The most important thing to remember is that when you feel you cannot create any more ideas, that is where the natural creativity begins, and you generate the value.