Top Tips for Being Creative
January 18, 2018
We use a creative design process at Little Man Project to explore different solutions for the treatment, presentation and delivery of the learning resources. This is based on our experience working internally and externally with a wide range of clients.
In practice this is as many whiteboards as we can fit into the space, frantic drawing, pens, post-its, our favourite food, coffee, laughing and playing (who said Lego is just for kids!).
It’s the most fun part of our work…when it’s going well and the hardest when our creative juices have been squeezed to their limit.
This process is something everyone could benefit from using so we thought it might be useful to share with you our top tips for making sure this type of session works and how to encourage creativity.
This is the time to push ideas to the extreme, aim high and you can go down but start low with your ideas and that’s all you will get. Avoid worrying about what you can and can’t do in your development tool of choice (obviously Articulate!?). Come up with the best approach and work out how you are going to make it work after (which is also great fun!). You can’t design inspiring and exciting elearning if you are worrying about what is technically possible or what has worked before/not worked before.
If ideas start to dry up or you can’t find a solution, don’t worry just come back to it, phone a friend, google the topic, visit Pinterest. If that doesn’t solve it then just walk away and leave it a day. You may find the answer comes to you in the shower (true story) or on the bus home. Our brain will keep working on the problem even when we are not.
Show don’t tell and focus on your idea not your drawing skills
We have a rule that if someone starts to describe an idea, they are handed a pen. Nothing is ever wrong, sometimes the ideas just aren’t right for this topic/client/context/design. By drawing the idea, the team can start to understand what is being suggested and potentially build on it (see next tip)
Build on the ideas of others
You don’t need to be a great artist to contribute. In fact, we have found a surprising benefit of ‘poor’ drawers. This is because, if a drawing is unclear, other people may see ideas that weren’t there and come with an even better idea. So embrace this and use words to describe what you are drawing…you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Encourage everyone to contribute and listen to their ideas
To get the best from any collaborative process its important that you remain open to ideas. The way to kill creativity is to constantly be saying ‘that won’t work’, ‘I don’t like that’ or the worse ever ‘we tried that, and it didn’t work’. Listen to what everyone has to say and if you really don’t like something stay open minded and listen to the feedback of the rest of the group.
Embrace the chaos, have fun and enjoy it
This process, as chaotic as it can be, results in a beautifully ordered and detailed descriptions of the content and designs for every screen. However, some people may find it difficult to keep up as the ideas flow and change. Don’t panic if you get lost (see tip 2) just try and stay with it. It should become clear as things start to stabilise, and a flow is developed.
Tim Reid, comedy writer (Car Share) puts it brilliantly here:
‘I’ve seen time and time again that laughter is very often the key to unlocking a team’s creativity and getting the ideas flowing. That’s because we laugh at the truth and we laugh at surprise – the two big ingredients of great ideas.’.
So not only does laughter make the whole thing more enjoyable it also means we get better ideas. This rule also allows you to embrace (or find) your inner child, a time in our lives when being creative was activity encouraged and never dismissed. You can even hide behind humour to present an idea that you are worried people might dismiss.
We hope you have found that useful. If you would like us to facilitate a design session for you and your team, or would just like to understand more about the process please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the online contact form.