Science is great. We have discovered many unusual and extraordinary things about the world we live in. Playing about with science experiments is a good way to spark your creative thinking. As you discover unusual behavior you learn to exercise your curiosity. You also have the opportunity to experiment and play and see what you can discover. Best of all, it is fun.
This week we're racking our brain.
Brain teasers and puzzles are awesome for creativity. What could the answer be? It could be anywhere. Where are the clues? They are right in front of you but hiding. They really explore the true essence of creative thinking. So we've gathered five general brain teasers to give your mind a mental workout.
This week we're defining ourselves.
Look at the highly creative people you know. Every one of them, I'm willing to bet, has something eccentric about them. It could be something they do, something they wear, something they say etc. Highly creative people tend to see the world differently from most of us, they also are not afraid to hide that fact.
This week we're changing the rules.
We have a tendency to put faith in what others tell us. For the most part this is a good strategy. It allows us to focus our attention on the areas that matter most to us. This can become dangerous when it becomes too much of a habit however. As creative people we need to remember to question things often and also that we can easily change a lot of things we take for granted.
This week we're putting our construction hats on.
This weeks challenge is often done as a team building exercise. We're adapting it slightly to turn it into a creativity building exercise. While doing this weeks exercise, remember that the aim is to experiment and explore. There will probably be a lot of trial and error and some research. You can also add to the fun by making it a competition between your friends.
This week we're becoming ambidextrous.
Ambidexterity is the ability to use both your arms and both your legs to equal ability. It is a skill that approximately one percent of the population posesses. It is however, also a skill that you can learn with practice. Besides being very useful it is also believed that it has positive effects on the mind. By learning such complex new skills you are developing new connections in your brain all over the place. It is thought that developing this skill will improve your intelligence and creative thinking.
This week we're going to ask why?
We take a lot of things for granted. If you want to be more creative you need to develop your curiosity. This weeks challenge is designed to do just that. You will gain a better understanding of how and why things are and this will allow you to direct your creative ability in the most prosperous direction.
This week we're changing our working habits.
The way we work can have a profound affect on how we work, on us and on the output we produce. How much time do you spend actually working? How long does it take you to get in the zone? Do you organise your work patterns to suit desired qualities? Be they quantity, quality, creativity/ innovation, timeliness etc.
Our mind has two hemispheres. A right side that tends to be artistic and a left side that tends to be analytical. To be truly creative we not only need to use both sides of our minds but get them to mingle. We need to find exercises that will strengthen the whole use of our mind and techniques that will enhance our attempts to use our whole mind.
Paul Erdos was a Hungarian mathematician that was considered to be one of the best mathematicians of our time. Erdos published more papers than any other mathematician in history. He had some very interesting characteristics. For instance he cared little for material possessions and most of his belongings would fit in a single suitcase. He also spent most of his life travelling around, visiting mathematicians to work on papers, only to move on a few days later to work with another mathematician. He also had a remarkable view of the world.
This week we're observing what others do.
Do you get caught up in your own work and interests? It's easy to do but it also can lead to us getting narrow minded. Sometimes we need to take a break and force ourselves to go wandering. Treat this as time to go exploring, to de stress and to open yourself up to possibilities.
This week you're going to create and refine a story.
Our minds like stories. They are an effective and engaging way to get a message across. You can also be creative on many levels within a story and all you need are ideas. The only required resources are time and a means to record your story. You can be creative with respect to the actual storyline, twists in the plot, the language and words you use, how you physically present the story and much more.
This week we're creating inspiring colors.
A color scheme can convey a lot of information. It can set the mood, it can make a layout easy to read, it can bring a picture to life, it can inspire. Color schemes are something with which we can be very creative but which few people put much thought into. A lot of people believe that picking a color scheme is something of an art form. Actually there are various rules and frameworks you can follow and this week you can find out how easy it can actually be.
The aim of this weeks challenge is to break free.
Rules are mostly put in place for very good reasons. Often they are in place to prevent us doing harm to ourselves or others. Other times they are put in place to keep things running smoothly. Unfortunately they often have the side effect of putting us on auto-pilot and this can be dangerous. Sometimes the rules lead to us doing things that are not in the interest of the outcomes the rules intend us to attain.
This week we're learning a language.
A surefire way to boost your creativity is to acquire new knowledge and skills. The better we can do this the more resources we have at our disposal. You can learn a lot about how you learn, and develop strategies for doing it better by undertaking this weeks challenge.
Sometimes it can help to really understand and appreciate a topic, problem or activity if you try and think of metaphors. Once you have a metaphor you can often discover new insights that stem from it. It can also help you to find the underlying principle, which can be powerful in many ways, in particular streamlining and simplifying.
A great source of inspiration is other people. Unfortunately is is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our way of doing things is the best, that our ideas are superior (See last weeks challenge for more on this). It is also easy to get in the routine of doing things the way they've always been done.
This week we're going to break this habit and learn to learn from others.
Our minds are mind bogglingly powerful devices. We can perform complex tasks with ease. Yet despite all this power we still trip on some very basic tricks. Cognitive biases are errors in judgment that we can fall into given certain situations. Some of them are trivial yet others can have a profound impact on our lives. They also can have a large influence on our ability to think creatively.
This week you're going to try using the Six Thinking Hats method for some focused thinking.
You may have used this method before for discussions but have you tried it by yourself over a full week? If you have not heard of or used the Six Thinking Hats method before you may want to check out the links at the bottom to find out more.
Here is the proposed schedule but feel free to modify it as you see fit. Aim to spend about half an hour each day thinking about this and make sure you record your thoughts as you go.