Now and again I get asked to work my magic. And I can’t lie, it’s not my favourite phrase.
I guess to most people it might seem like creative ideas just drop in. Like perfectly-formed golden nuggets of genius. But as many of you’ll know, this illusive moment is usually a far cry from the everyday creative wrestle.
You see, from a very young age, we’re taught to think in patterns. To create pre-determined paths that make us more efficient as humans. Do you get in the car, end up at your destination and wonder how you got there? Last time I checked, the ability to apparate Harry Potter-style hadn’t yet become mainstream. But your brain knows the pattern, so it takes care of it, leaving you to think about… the fact it’s only 552 hours to the next bank holiday or which non-descript toddler dish you can possibly concoct from a red onion and pasta to ensure at least one mouthful ends up in child vs food play pit on the floor. As a mum, journey’s to work are my essential brain download – tell me I’m not alone!
To create something really novel, we have to break a pattern. If I say to you ostrich, you probably don’t say virtual reality, mobile phone or flying (yet!). But someone did – and it’s the uniqueness of this juxtaposition that makes the recent Samsung advert so compelling. Not to mention the beautiful production, emotive storyline and classic backing track.
So next time you’re struggling to come up with a way to engage, plan or promote, why not start somewhere different: reverse the challenge. So, ask how do you make sure people NEVER visit your website, for example, and then reverse the answers to see where you end up. Try a random word generator and see if it gives you a different perspective. Take yourself outside and walk ‘til you want to shout whoopee.
It might feel unnatural. Your head might not like it. But I promise that’s where the magic begins (turns out it’s not Disneyland, Peppa Pig World or, for the big kids, Alton Towers, after all).
Teach your brain a new trick or two, and you might find yourself more creative than you feel.