Bring Back Your Creative Mojo

There’s a lot of valuable expertise within in-house agencies. And while expertise is generally a good thing, there can be a downside. Expertise can lead to routine, routine to sameness. And sameness is the enemy of creativity. So, if the ideas you’re coming up with are beginning to feel familiar and flat, it’s time to reignite the creative spark.

Here are 10 tips to bring back your creative mojo.

1.) Generate lots and lots of ideas. Don’t judge. See how many ideas you can come up with in two minutes. Great ideas, good ideas, bad ideas, it doesn’t matter. The exercise is to generate and to do it quickly. You’ll be amazed at the sheer quantity of ideas you come up with, especially if you don’t judge them. Or your partner’s.

2.) Feed your creative soul. This isn’t about work. This is about you. You need to nourish yourself creatively. Make friends with creative people. Read interesting books. Go to movies, and not just the blockbusters. Walk in the woods. Take in an art exhibit. Order something adventurous off the menu.

3.) Change your environment. You can go all Feng Shui, or just change up your space a bit. Sit on a Swiss ball. Bring in a funky lamp. Clear off your desktop. Play a little music. Do whatever it takes to put yourself in a creative frame of mind. Even if that means leaving your desk to work at a coffee shop.

4.) Inspire one another. At Garmin, we have monthly department meetings where we share our best work. Even if you’ve hit a few dull notes lately, chances are someone else in your in-house agency is having some creative success. Lift each other up.

5.) Competition brings out your inner Van Gogh. At Garmin, the best idea wins. So, we often have two teams compete against each other on the same assignment. The results are always impressive. Teams will push out of their comfort zone to come up with the winning idea.

6.) What’s the worst idea you can think of? Try hard to come up with it. No, seriously. When you allow yourself to come up with a terrible idea, it’s tremendously freeing. You’re more likely to come up with a home run idea if you swing for the fences. So, start out with something terrible. It only improves from there.

7.) Keep the bar high. I have every Communication Arts annual since 1977. I refer to them all the time. Look at the best of the best. CA, One Show, Cannes, AICP, IHAF—whatever work you admire, take time to soak it in. I believe you need to learn from the books, then put them away. And come up with something entirely your own.

8.) Tap into hidden talents. At Garmin, there are so many employees with talents they don’t bring to the office. Artist. Model builder. Banjo player. Illustrator. Animator. If you have another creative talent, bring it to work. Recently one of our art directors used his watercolor artistry to create a feature-benefit video that was truly breakthrough.

9.) Ask “what if…” It’s one of the simplest things you can do. And it works. Because “what if…” immediately takes you to a different realm. “What if” isn’t bound by rules or regulations or politics. “What if…” starts with your imagination. It’s the purest bridge from the unknown to the remarkable.

10.) Be childlike. We were all creative when we were kids. But as we got older, we became self-conscious. How do we remedy that? Return to your inner child. Look at everything from a fresh perspective. Don’t worry so much about what everybody else is thinking. Make some noise. Wear mismatched socks. Play make believe.

Sage advice. Thank you, Brian Brooker! Want another reason to try Brian’s tips? The call for entries for the 2018 IHAF Awards is upon us. Enter your best work and be recognized among the best. For entry details and deadlines, click here.

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