Some people are explosively creative. They don’t need creativity exercises or structure to sustain their voluminous creative output.

Then there’s the rest of us.


If pure creativity eludes you, then having the right structures, exercises, and tools helps you get more from your natural creative thinking skills. For the rest of us trying to figure out how to be more creative, having a personal creative thinking skills formula can be an incredible help.

How to Be Creative through a Personal Creative Thinking Skills Formula

What might you include in your creative thinking skills formula? Consider these elements to boost your creativity:

1. Volume of Creative Output

Creativity CAN be viewed largely as a numbers game: create enough of whatever you create, and you can play the percentages. Some portion of your creative output will rise above the creative expectations in place. The rest of your creative output can be swept under the creative rug.

2. Creative Perspectives

Your perspective about a particular creative challenge or opportunity makes a dramatic impact on what you do with it. This idea is the basis of lateral thinking, in that a different perspective than you usually take helps you see and create new things. Sometimes a new perspective happens by accident or instinct. But far better to be armed with standard moves you can make to change perspective when you need it to trigger creativity.

3. Creative Combinations

Similar to structure, there are combinations and formulations of inputs to enhance creativity. Standard color combinations, musical scales, and geometric patterns work because they put together, constrain, and keep separate the right elements to strengthen creative output.

4. Creative Structures

Across creative disciplines, there are typically standard structures shaping creative output. Three-panel cartoons, 12-bar blues, sonnets, list-based blog posts, ‘high concept pitches” etc. are all examples. These all represent accepted creative structures. If you can fill in the blanks, you’re at least some (if not most of the way) toward creative output.

5. Tools

The tools you use for creativity do make a difference. When I got a great guitar, I was a better guitarist automatically, even though my skills hadn’t changed. Simply having a guitar that played well enhanced my very humble abilities. The plethora of apps and software available now for creativity are all examples. But whether online or offline, the right tools can make you (or make you appear) more creative.

That’s my creative thinking formula – what’s yours?

What are the parts and pieces of your creative thinking formula? I’d love to hear them, because I’m always looking for new ideas for how to be creative that I can borrow, as you’ll learn more about in tomorrow’s Brainzooming post.  - Mike Brown


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