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The most important part of being creative is not judging your solutions to problems. Put everything on the table, do not hold back your ideas. Think of anyway you can get inside the problem, do drawings, describe the problem, use descriptive words, talk to people about it.

Do not make decisions during this time, it’s an information gathering or experimentation phase, where you are building up reference information. This is the time to think of the new layout for a garden, or website, and draw them, and think about as many different versions as you can.

Here are the 3 key steps to creativity.

 1. Think outside and around the problem

Think about ‘without any constraints at all, how would I like to do this?’ Don’t worry about reality here at all, don’t think about what might hold you back, just think about how great the solution should be. What’s the end game, can you use this current effort as a way to get to the end game? Here knowledge, skills and experience will play a strong part in the possibilities you can imagine, but can also be a bit of a trap to free thinking. Find a quiet place and dream!

2. Refine the ideas

Next you should work on refining your ideas, think about either discounting those really unrealistic ones or alternatively going for it, knowing the challenges you will face. Get feedback from anyone and everyone, if you have someone who is your biggest critic, ask them for feedback. Challenge yourself to rise to the occasion to defend your plan or think about what they said and really analyse if it is true in any way. Feedback is so useful because if one person will actually say it to you, others will think it, so it’s important to reflect on what feedback has been given to you.

3. Have courage to keep going

This is the most important one, as when you put your creative idea out there you are asking to be heard. If someone disagrees with your plan, don’t feel discouraged or hurt, they may simply not be your audience. There are many times I have suggested things to several groups of people and had really differing responses. This is really normal. Some people may not understand your ideas at all, but keep going. You never know when the one you need to hear you is right there listening.

Most of the time amazing creative breakthroughs come out of hard work, collaboration and immersion in subjects. Always remember that failure is your friend – it enables you to look for other solutions.



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