How to free your creativity to generate ideas

Warning: using your creativity is risky. © C Bradshaw 2011

Need to produce ideas to start a new venture, come up with a product or service or promote your new business? Do you want to release your latent potential? Is there a low-cost way to quicly learn how to produce ideas almost instantly?

A simple but effective technique for producing ideas has been around for some time and it is finding new applications in business whether you run a kitchen table outfit, small business, consulting practice, work for a corporate or in manufacturing.

Before you stop reading because you erroneously believe you are not creative or that this technique is for creative people like artists and writers, consider its new applications for business. Let me explain.

Silence your internal critic

The technique is freewriting and involves writing quickly without stopping for a set time (ten minutes or longer once you’ve got used to it) without regard to spelling, punctuation or grammar. Even writing gibberish or babble is OK. In fact, you don’t need to write complete sentences — just keep your pen or keyboard moving as fast as you can but without rushing. The process of freewriting helps you to prevent your internal critic getting in your way while you are creating and generating new ideas. Your internal critic can be useful afterwards when you need to evaluate, assess and judge.

Freewriting is private but it’s up to you to share what you’ve written. Private writing frees you up to write anything you want without constraining or censoring yourself for an audience even if it is only one person.

Standout practitioners

Some standout practitioners include Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) and Peter Elbow (Writing with Power). These breakthrough books lead the field. The Artist’s Way has broad application — it can trigger ideas for creative works but its freewriting and other tools can help to shape, refocus and transform your life. Bruce Ballenger and Barry Lane (Discovering the Writer Within) promote freewriting to release creativity and spark fresh ideas.

Freewriting can be useful for any person, artist, writer, advertising specialist, scientist, business person, manufacturer or consultant.

Creativity can’t be commoditized

A recent addition to the freewriting field is Accidental Genius by Mark Levy, founder of the marketing strategy firm Levy Innovation. Levy covers using freewriting to explore ideas and concepts for writing projects (blog posts, articles and books) but also for a wide range of applications in business.

Freewriting can be used to generate ideas for marketing, promotion and sales to name just a few. What I found helpful were some of his applications like researching new products, investigating business opportunities and exploring your best ideas.

His suggestions for freewriting are helpful to generate new products and services, develop business plans, devise business models and ignite marketing programmes. Levy also shows how you can use freewriting to keep your focus on what you want to make of your life.

All this guidance aside, the real test of your freewriting progress is to come up with your own ways to use freewriting to create ideas and to solve problems or explore solutions. Your first freewriting forays may not generate breakthrough ideas but repeated attempts (at least three times a week) should yield pleasant and profitable surprises.

Open up your thinking

Levy’s methods are also useful for consultants and trainers who wish to help clients unlock their creativity and help them to solve problems or come up with new ideas. He advises to teach freewriting to a client, a colleague, a team, an audience. “Don’t, however, just teach it as an intriguing skill,” he says. “Teach it to them as a means to open up thinking about a specific problem.”

Freewriting is a valuable technique for coaxing those ephemeral thoughts and insights, teasing the unconscious to delight with epiphanies. It is one of hundreds of many creative techniques that can help you to draw valuable insights and ideas from your effervescent unconscious mind.

Knowing which technique to use in a given circumstance or to meet the particular needs and interests of an individual or team takes experience and understanding. Freewriting whether performed on your own or under the guidance of a creativity consultant or ideation expert enables both entrepreneurs and corporate employees to sharpen their ideas for starting new ventures, revitalizing their business and winning new customers.

 

Copyright 2011 Bell & Cray Business Research™. This material used with special permission from Bell & Cray Business Consulting™. Bell & Cray Business Consulting™ is a division of Bell & Cray™. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be duplicated or re-disseminated without permission.

Copyright 2011 Bell & Cray Business Research™. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be duplicated or re-disseminated without permission.

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