Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


Reframe your thinking: 10 ways to capture more creative moments

< Blog home

Reframe your thinking: 10 ways to capture more creative moments

If you want to live and work more creatively it could be time for a change of perspective.

By simply reframing the way you look at things and refining your angle of view, you can achieve a deeper, more intentional level of creativity.

Commit to thinking a little differently and consider these 10 less conventional ways to be more creative…

1. Be endlessly curious

“The first step toward becoming more creative is to cultivate a passion for curiosity.” In his book, Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly urges us to try to find something that surprises us each day, take the time to pause, stop, try new things and actually listen to what people are saying.

Ask questions, experiment, reconnect with your sense of wonder, be open to new ideas, dig deeper to explore things in a more profound way, and take inspiration from the words of Albert Einstein, “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”

2. Focus on active looking 

In the same way that active listening is more than just hearing, active looking is more than just seeing. Be present, be intentional, allow yourself to look at things for a moment longer than usual, concentrate fully on what you see and always be receptive to visual stimulation that can help you with your creative challenges.

As Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Many people look, but few people see” and that mindful seeing is when creative moments burst into view.

3. Review and redraft 

Try to push your thoughts further and further away from where they first began. Always be prepared to move an idea on to version 2 (then 3 then 4), develop it, search for the next iteration to refine and enhance it.

4. Exposure to memory and recall

People tend to assume that to be creative they have to come up with something previously unseen. But creativity is rarely about something entirely new. Instead, it’s about making connections to your challenge with information that you already know and things that inspire you. By becoming better at remembering and recalling things we will be better placed to make those crucial connections.

Improve memory and recall skills by keeping a diary, playing brain games, doodling, avoiding multitasking and switching off frequently. This article explores 11 more ways to improve your memory with proven techniques that work.

5. Change your perception 

Creativity begins with perception. If we always take things at face value and never stretch our imaginations to look beyond the obvious our creativity will always fall short. Break out of the cycle of seeing things for what they are and practise seeing things for what they could be.

 6. Mental wandering

Contrary to the popular belief that you have to be focused to come up with great ideas, not concentrating might actually be what you need. Make time for moments of silence and contemplation (also known as daydreaming) without access to technology or other distractions.

Cognitive psychologist, Scott Barry Kaufman, studies how ‘mind wandering’ helps our brains to explore challenges from a different perspective, “Daydreaming is where things like problem solving, creativity, goal driven thought, future planning, seeing the perspective of another person, and so on – find space to exist.

“Aha moments don’t come from a directed and particular focus on a task, but by letting your mind wander and open up to other possibilities.”

7. Grit and determination

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” 

Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance explains that “the secret to achieving what we want is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence called grit”.

Many people believe that creativity is a skill we’re born with – we either possess it or we don’t – but this simply isn’t the case. As with learning any skill, it takes time, energy, hard work and a dogged commitment to keep going.

So develop a steadfast spirit to see things through and commit to persistently pushing your creative challenge on to its final execution and delivery.

Don’t give up, don’t run out of steam and don’t find excuses not to finish.

8. Filter your fears

Being creative can be a scary experience. It often requires us to step out of our comfort zones which exposes us to all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts – fear of rejection, embarrassment, other peoples’ opinions, not being good enough or good old-fashioned failure. The truth is that these feelings cannot be avoided entirely, but they can be managed.

In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert explains that your passion for creativity should coexist with your fears. They cannot be mutually exclusive. She encourages us to see them as ‘travelling companions’ but ultimately your creativity is the driver and your fear is the passenger with no say in the direction you’re going.

So strap yourself in and get comfortable with those uncomfortable thoughts by accepting that they’re a necessary part of the creative process.

9. Give yourself permission 

Sources of inspiration are all around us but because we don’t always believe that we’re up to the challenge we don’t allow ourselves the chance to let that inspiration take hold. We miss opportunities to be stimulated and influenced by what we see.

Give your confidence a boost by purposely and resolutely telling yourself that it’s okay to create.

10. Practise, practise, practise

Creativity is a skill that needs to be consciously practised in the same way as training in athletics, rehearsing in dance or learning a new language. The more you do it the more natural it will become.

The key is to be smart about the way you do it. Practising hard can be a waste of time if you don’t practise intelligently. Be considerate about what you want to achieve, set realistic goals and practise with purpose and intent.

Look at creativity through a different lens

There is no right or wrong when it comes to creativity. And the beauty of it lies in every individual’s own unique blend of experiences and approaches. So take a step back, consider each of the points above, experiment with different situations and enjoy the learning along the way.

We don’t just talk about creativity. We make it happen too

If you’d like to explore some of the less conventional ways to build creativity into your work and personal life then get in touch. We run tailored workshops where we make it our mission to get you and your people thinking more creatively.

Learn how to generate more creative moments in the Academy masterclass…

6 Steps to Successful Creative Campaigns

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
Alive logo