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15 Easy Ways to Have More Ideas

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15 Easy Ways to Have More Ideas

‘The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.’*

We couldn’t agree more. There are certain practices that should be encouraged when creating a culture where ideas flow freely, happily and without fear of judgment. They can become everyday habits and can also be encouraged to flourish in others too. Here we explore fifteen great examples. We’d love to hear yours too. Share your ideas!

  1. CONNECT THE DOTS. Making connections between two seeming unrelated experiences is a proven way to stretch creative muscles and allow your conscious to be open to different ideas. People who consistently have great ideas are particularly good at making unusual connections.
  2. THINK POSITIVELY. Don’t be quick to dismiss an initial idea as impossible. Think about why it would work, rather than why it wouldn’t.
  3. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Take a problem and look at it with a different filter, a fresh view. Reframe it. Explore other industries, cultures and practices to seek inspiration and use your findings to generate new ways of approaching the issue.
  4. OBSERVE. Embrace the anthropologist persona. Pay close attention to the world around you. Learn from others by observing them intently because sometimes a breakthrough idea is just one small insight away.
  5. COLLABORATE. Hang around with people outside your circle of friends/usual colleagues. Make a point of mingling with people who are different to you to get new perspectives. We’re currently working with a client on a campaign that encourages employees to lunch with someone new. We love that idea!
  6. COLLECT STORIES. Have a file where you store compelling narratives from real life situations so you become more aware of unique and actionable perspectives. Gathering other peoples’ meaningful experiences can provide an endless resource that will help you approach challenges through a different lens.
  7. KEEP TRYING NEW THINGS. Doing things you’ve never done before will help you experience new ideas. Push yourself out of your comfort zone – at work, socially, personally. Try new foods, learn a new skill, or take up a different language. Expand your horizons to allow your brain to explore fresh and unfamiliar thought patterns.
  8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK SILLY. Take the lead from children – they are endlessly curious and they allow creativity to take hold. That’s when ideas happen. Be a little doolally from time to time.
  9. FIND YOUR GOLDILOCKS ZONE. Ambient noise levels are perfect for improving creative thinking. The Goldilocks Zone is where just the right amount of background noise can trigger our minds to think more creatively and generate more ideas. Whether that’s the right level of music, the low buzz of a coffee shop or one of the many ambient noise apps available. It’s about finding what works for you.
  10. ‘WHAT IF??’ Ask more questions. Understand the problem by exploring it more. Learn to ask the questions that lead to the breakthrough ideas. And it’s not just a matter of being willing to question—it’s also important to know how to question. This article by Fast Companyexplores how innovation is driven by questions that are original, bold, counterintuitive, and perceptive.
  11. RECONSIDER THE NORM. When people are comfortable with challenging the status quo it encourages an atmosphere of innovation. Make sure people know that it’s all right to ask why.
  12. MAKE SPACE FOR DOWN TIME.  The greatest leaps of creativity tend to happen when you relax…  in the bath, during sleep, gazing at the sky. Sometimes you have to just chill and let the grey matter get to work. Wander, rest, unwind, nap, sleep, relax, meditate. Because mental breaks replenish the brain, increase productivity, refresh attention and encourage creativity.
    According to meditation app developers, Headspace, ‘In a 2012 study at Leiden University, Netherlands, scientists reported that “open monitoring” meditation (non-reactive observation of your thoughts over time) promoted “divergent thinking”, a type of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated.’
  13. EMBRACE CONSTRAINTS. Contrary to popular belief, when we work with restrictions rather than trying to work around them, we can produce defined ideas and innovative work. Knowing how to work within constraints gives you something to wrap your mind around and can help achieve focus and progress.
  14. REDESIGN YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT. Consider different colours, sights, pictures, objects and tools. Creating your own bespoke learning space blocks out distractions and helps to focus the mind. A work environment that’s conducive to creativitycan be the perfect breeding ground for new ideas.
  15. RECORD EVERYTHING. Have a system for writing down, collecting and accessing new ideas. When you have an idea, even the initial germ of one, record it in a central place, accessible by all. Encourage others to take and shape parts and put them together in different ways. According to Steven Johnson “The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.”

We can all have great ideas

Creative ideas aren’t reserved for the special ones or ‘naturally creative minds’; they can come to anyone. It’s all about mindset and an ability to think in new ways. Developing new habits and encouraging different practices can help enormously.

Of course, there will be dry spells when flow is interrupted. That’s perfectly naturally. The key is to stick with it and push through, remembering, maintaining and encouraging all those great new habits.

*Ken Robinson | Author, speaker and international advisor on education

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Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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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
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