Posts Tagged ‘Storytellers’

3 Tools to boost your creativity

In our last blog we discussed the need for creative thinking as a pathway to innovation. In this post we look at some of the tools and techniques can we can apply to develop connections and new ways of thinking. But first we must recognise that the ability to think creatively may vary from person to person and to become proficient training is a must. And so before we look at the tools I will run through several ‘warm up’ and ‘stretching’ exercises to help develop our creative minds just like we do our body.

We need to practise and practise every day, we need to create connections and look at the world in a different way – we need to look at and question the things around us, not in a literal way but ask yourself ‘what if that was used for…’. To do this I have outlined three exercises that you can do to practise and develop your ability to think creatively. The exercises below are just three of many so I encourage you to go out and find some more. The exercises are broken down into three categories, verbal, visual and conceptual.

1. Alternate uses (Conceptual)

In this exercise we look for alternate ways to use everyday objects, for example what else could a bicycle tyre be used for? (tie something together, flexible hoola hoop, a diving target in a swimming pool). The aim of this exercise is to limber up your thinking by asking you to think beyond the intended and obvious use of an item and develop new use contexts. It trains your mind to make new connections between objects and systems.

Firstly go out a make a list of five everyday objects. They could be things you have at work or home, at the park or the shops, really anything but make sure they are single discrete objects like a stapler, pen, rubbish bin, saucepan, park bench. The other thing, when you choose your objects, make sure that you select dissimilar objects, don’t pick say a saucepan and a frying pan, they are too similar in function and won’t challenge you.

Next take your list and start at the first item and think about what else this could be used for, e.g. a saucepan could be used for a flower pot, fish tank, storage container, a space helmet for a child’s game and so on. Write or sketch (or both) your response next to the original item. Continue to do this for each item on your list. You should allocate a time of say one minute per listed item. Be creative and silly as much as you want as you move through the list. As you get better you will find that you will begin to create new ideas and products from your response and that the time you require to conceptualise new uses will reduce. When this happens challenge yourself with more obscure objects.

2. Visual connections (Visual)

Firstly create a grid of 3 squares wide by 4 squares tall. In the first square place a question mark – you won’t use this square. In the second and third square along the top sketch or place any random image of something, say a car and a plate. In the second, third and fourth squares of the first column also place images of distinct objects, say a plane, cloud and a piece of cheese.

You should now have 6 blank squares. So for the first blank square look at the car and the plane and create a sketch that connects the two images. You might draw a flying car or a plane that becomes a car or a road that can become an airport or landing strip. Don’t worry about the quality of your sketches – just get your ideas down on paper. Repeat this exercise for each blank square. If you have more than one idea for each picture combination then sketch your additional ideas on a separate piece of paper so you don’t lose your ideas. Take about five minutes to complete this exercise.

 

3. Making headlines (Verbal)

This exercise is based on storytelling. This is something that we all do as part of our daily life, whether it’s with our friends or trying to communicate and sell an idea at work or to a client. We tell stories not to embellish the idea but to provide context to create a better connection and bond between the message we want to convey and the person we want to share it with.

Randomly select four to five images of different things, it could be a person, an object or a landscape scene. Place them in front of you and take a few moments to study them and understand the content. Try to imagine a news story that encapsulates the content of the images – something that connects each of the images. Think of a headline. Now write down that headline and a story that connects each of the images. Take about ten to fifteen minutes to complete this exercise.

Remember these exercises are just warmup exercises designed to get your mind used to thinking more creatively. Take the time each day to practice these exercises. The aim of the exercises is not to create the best and most original ideas but instead to train your mind to see and make more connections as this is the key to becoming more creative.

Start a creative thinking workbook, record your work in the book and make sure you date your work. As you progress through the different exercises, over time you will see an improvement in the way that you think and the depth and complexity of the exercise you undertake. You should see that you are becoming more creative in the way that you think and the way that you apply this to your everyday life.

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8 reasons to use a qualified designer

2_8-reasons“Design thinking” has become the latest management hype and many organisations are busy jumping on the band wagon, believing they can do it all themselves. But design thinking is not a just part of a management “toolkit” that can be rolled out across organisations to a common recipe. Design thinking is grounded in the profession of design. It is a mindset, a people-centric, empathetic approach to problem framing and solution generation supported by an array of specialist tools and techniques.

Qualified designers complete a minimum of 4 years of training that teaches them core design thinking skills, research and design methodologies and tools and how to apply them to address complex challenges while always keeping the needs of the user at the heart of any design. When you partner with a professional designer, your organisation gains the benefit of their training, knowledge and skills to assist you in getting the greatest value out of design for your business. Just as you wouldn’t use a lawyer to complete your company tax return, or an engineer to develop your marketing strategy, you shouldn’t rely on non-design qualified practitioners to implement design strategically within your organisation.

Here are 8 reasons why you should partner with a qualified design professional to help implement and embed design thinking within your business:

  1. Opportunities not problems – Designers are naturally curious, explorative and driven to solve problems. In fact, the more hairy and complex the problem the better! Designer’s view problems as opportunities and our training has honed our skills in understanding, breaking down and re-framing problems to reveal insights and opportunities for solutions. Where many people see barriers, we see possibilities, where many throw up their hands in defeat, we rub our hands with glee!
  2. Unconstrained Vision – Designers have vision and imagine the future with a sense of optimism. We can imagine possibilities that do not yet exist without being hampered by the constraints of what is possible in the here and now. We can envision new experiences, new contexts and new markets that provide opportunities for growth. We can help develop company visions that inspire leadership, unite people and drive real organisational change.
  3. People driven – Designers are empathetic and have been trained to put people at the centre of all that we do. We are trained to change our perspectives, to conduct ethnographic research in order to develop a deeper understanding of our user, and to iteratively test and validate our assumptions with our user. We are the voice of the customer and advocate on their behalf throughout the process to ensure the final solution delights and connects.
  4. Embrace the unknown – Designers are comfortable working with ambiguity. Ultimately we trust that we have the skills, knowledge and tools to develop the best solution. This means that we do not feel compelled to grab hold of the first solution, but will keep exploring and developing, testing and evaluating until we find the best solution. We strive to push the boundaries of what is possible.
  5. Information integrators & insights extractors – Designers are integrators, capable of working with information from many different sources across multiple disciplines in order to extract meaningful insights and make connections others may not see. We have the ability to recognise patterns and emerging trends and draw parallels between seemingly disparate sectors to recognise opportunities and help drive innovation.
  6. Innovative solutions – Designers develop creative solutions to real problems by applying tools, techniques and methodologies to understand and define requirements, explore solutions widely and deeply, evaluate options, test potential solutions, reiterate designs and communicate possibilities.
  7. Collaborative co-creators – Designers are collaborative and thrive in team environments. We strive to bring all stakeholders along on the design journey to develop a common understanding, co-create visions for the future and build ownership of design outcomes.
  8. Visual storytellers – Designers are visual storytellers, communicating their ideas and solutions through visual mediums that resonate and connect with people. Be it a storyboard, process visualisation graphic, digital interface or physical model, the message is communicated in way that inspires and engages the audience leaving them asking for more.

So, if you’re struggling to gain traction for design thinking within your organisation, reach out to a professional designer.  At Scintilla Design we can help you envision your future, design a roadmap to help get you there and embed design thinking principles within your organisation for a more resilient future.

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