Getting Creative: Capturing Creativity

In this series on creativity, we’re looking at the challenges faced in being more creative and some ways you can address those challenges successfully. Why focus on creativity? It’s one of the skills of the 21st century. With more forms of media accessible to more people than ever before, creativity is going to be one of the defining traits of your career and your business success.

Chihuly Glass Museum - Seattle

One of the most important aspects of creativity is understanding that because it relies on implicit knowledge and the connections in the brain at a subconscious level, that creativity is not always available when you need it on-demand, and it may appear at times which could potentially be inopportune.

Because of the nature of our minds, it is vitally important to maximize your creativity by having methods for capturing it that are readily available. If creativity is a core part of your job (and one could make the argument that it is a part of every job), then capturing creativity is worth several investments in some capturing tools.

First and foremost, understand what format of creativity your brain tends produce and capture it accordingly. For example, you may have highly visual creative insights. If so, having a drawing tool available such as a scratch pad or an app that is drawing-based is important.

If your creative insights are auditory, have a voice memo app or voice recording device available so that you can capture the sounds that appear in your mind, in your imagination.

If your creative insights are kinesthetic, have things around that allow you to make something, from simple modeling clay to mess-free children’s modeling clay (Crayola’s Model Magic is an excellent product) to even having three-dimensional interfaces for your devices.

Again, if creativity is a core part of your job, invest into tools that are immediately available when creativity strikes. Nothing kills creativity faster than waiting five minutes for a laptop to boot up. Look into devices like tablets, smart phones, and computers with flash storage hard drives, as well as immediately available analog solutions such notepads, Moleskines, and other tools.

Get in the habit of recording your creative ideas as often as possible. Even if an idea isn’t wonderful, write it down, record it. The more you train your brain to know that its insights will be captured, the more your subconscious will produce them. Conversely, if you condition your mind to ignore those creative impulses, then over time, fewer will be produced, and the effort it takes to produce them will increase.

By getting in the habit of capturing your creativity, you’ll also experience less stress. Ever wake up with a full brain? Ever try to go to sleep and toss & turn for an hour as your brain churns over the things rattling around in it? By perceiving and capturing this information, your brain and your subconscious will understand that you have taken care of business and will be able to rest better.

Start capturing your creativity more effectively!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Work at SHIFT

Posted on November 5, 2013 in Creative

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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