Get unstuck: 5 barrier-busting methods that spark breakthrough ideas

As a full-service creative agency, it’s our job to come up with creative solutions for a myriad of problems. Sometimes the answer crops up immediately. Other times, it takes time, focus, and concentrated effort. And then there are the times where no matter how you look at it, the answer just doesn’t seem to arrive. We’re sure you’ve experienced it, that feeling of frustration when you can’t seem to land on the right solution.

Luckily, as creative specialists we are also experts at seeing things in entirely new ways. And that means we have a number of methods that we use time and time again to get the ideas flowing. So the next time your feeling stuck in your idea generation or decision-making — whether it’s figuring what product to promote in the Spring, choosing which candidate to hire, or even how to allocate your budget – try one of these quick and easy fixes. You’ll have the answer to your problem faster than you can say Eureka!

Think Opposites

One of our most favorites methods (because it’s so fun!) is to think, ‘what would be the absolute worst thing we can do in this situation’? Formulating the very worst solution not only kickstarts the mind into creative problem-solving mode, it also enables you take the tackle the issue in a very pragmatic way. If you have the worst solve for the problem, then just do the complete opposite – and that way you’ll have the best. See, simple!

Change Up Your Environment

Your environment can have a big impact on how you approach a problem, so sometimes just changing your surrounds can be the very thing you need. And this doesn’t have to be an epic undertaking. Going for a quick walk, sitting in a different room, or even heading to local coffee shop are all great ways to spark viable ways of attacking the problem.

Do Something New

It’s easy to get stuck in the same old routines. So try disrupting your habitual thinking by doing something you’ve never done before. Again, this doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. In fact, the more mundane it is the better, because it’s often the mundane things done drastically differently that ignite a bigger spark of inspiration. Try writing your to-do list in purple pen. Or sit under your desk for three minutes and survey the room from that angle. Or google how to say a random phrase in a language you’ve never spoken, then repeat it out loud until you’ve perfected it. Just as long as it’s something completely new to you.

Talk It Out

Talking to a range of people about your problem helps in two ways. First, it allows you to break free from your own restrictive thinking by gaining an alternative perspective. Secondly, it enables you to distill the dilemma into it’s most basic form, which often makes the answer that much more obvious. We can’t tell you the amount of times one of our team members has been in the middle of explaining their conundrum when the appropriate solution has suddenly struck.

We suggest talking to a few different people, both those familiar with the problem and those who know nothing about it. Even better, find a five year old you can talk to and get their input! It may sound crazy but stripping away the intricacies so a five year old can understand often gives your mind the clarity it needs to identify the right fix.

Forget It

When all else fails, the best thing you can do is stop thinking about it entirely. Give your mind a break and do something completely unrelated. Catch up on some reading or move onto the next item on your priority list. Give yourself a day or two to come back to it if you can.

Letting your mind wander like this often causes those ‘Eureka’ moments to happen later on. You know the ones, when you’re sitting in traffic or taking a shower and the solution suddenly flashes into your consciousness. Even if inspiration doesn’t strike so momentously, giving yourself a break ensures you can come back with renewed vigor to figure it all out.

Ben Prager

Ben Prager

Prior to forming Prager Creative, Ben worked with design studios, branding firms and advertising agencies to push great strategy and design for all his projects. His experience with all aspects ... Web: Details

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