How To Free Your Creative Thinking

Creativity is essential in public relations. It is the core driver of unique, smart campaigns that resonate with your audience. It is the maker of magic. It is also the key to effective problem-solving, something that is integral in our industry.

When creativity is at its best, it is free flowing and effortless. Ideas pop like hot corn and you feel energized and alive. But every writer, designer, thinker, scientist or innovator in the world will agree: there are times when the ideas just won’t come.  Call it writer’s block, a creative deficit, or a plain nightmare: no matter how hard you try, the idea bank is empty.

To help you tackle moments when you are feeling unimaginative, we’ve put together a short list of proven tactics we use to get our creative juices flowing.

  • Sleep: According to a Harvard Business Review creativity is greatly impacted by our emotional state, since the process of inspiration uses both our neocortex and limbic systems – both the thinking and feeling side of our brain. When you don’t sleep well it can feel like you are surrounded by a thick fog with small things seeming more challenging. Ideal sleep for adults is 7-9 hours, and getting this important rest is incredibly helpful to provide the right emotional state for creative thinking. Consider sleep the foundation of your toolkit to get more creative. 
  • Brainstorm: We are deep believers in the power of collaborative brainstorms. At FAULHABER, we always start new projects or client pitches with a group brainstorm, as we find shared thinking is the most effective means of coming up with smart and creative campaigns. If you are struggling with creativity, finding someone to bounce ideas off is incredibly useful. You can build upon each other’s thinking and the interaction itself can be creatively stimulating. There is a reason the adage ‘two heads are better than one’ exists.
  • Take a break: When you are feeling tapped out of ideas, one of the best tactics is to completely switch gears. Head outside for a walk and get inspired by nature. Tackle a different task, preferably one that isn’t focused on brainpower. My personal favourite break is to exercise. Shutting off your brain and walking away from any frustration involved with not having the right idea, is a great way to create the space needed to try again with a fresh mindset.
  • Create a creative space: At FAULHABER we have an innovation lab, a room designed to help us get imaginative. It features an accent wall made using Anewall’s indigo ink drop wallpaper (studies show that blue is great for promoting creativity). We added a few of our favourite fashion, design and art coffee books for inspiration as well as a bunch of colourful sharpies and a sticky-pad wall to use in brainstorms.  But a creative space doesn’t have to take the form of physical room. You can make a journal or scrapbook and capture images, ideas or words that inspire you. When you need to get creative refer to your journal and see if it sparks any ideas. Sometimes just entering the physical space you have created or making a ritual when you want to get creative, can help get your brain firing. 
  • Get Curious: One of my favourite methods to spark creativity is to get curious. Instead of getting caught up in the process or the tactics, focus on digging deeply into the problem you are trying to solve. Instead of the how, explore the why. Then ask why again 5 more times.  The further you investigate the actual problem you are trying to solve, the more likely you will be to come up with the most creative answer. 

Remember that creativity can’t be forced, but it can be fostered. For more ideas on how to inspire creativity, check out the infographic shared below.