Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps and winner of the 2015 TED Prize, recently announced the release of an app that enables people anywhere, anytime to record conversations as a way to share and archive conversations globally.
And that really got me thinking.
What a creative idea it is to have an app that orally records and shares stories as a way to unite people. How difficult it is to come up with a truly creative idea. And wow, it's even more difficult to come up with an idea that's impactful.
In PR, you always need ideas. You always need really creative ideas.
Creative thinking doesn't come easy for most -- even for the most creative minds. In the PR profession, when working with clients, creativity is one of the main reasons they've hired a firm.
And yet, we're working in a pressure cooker to bring ideas and flavor to each client on a regular basis -- and that alone will stop the flow of ideas dead. We're working in an office with little to no privacy, sometimes even side-by-side with co-workers. The closeness and chatter can interrupt quiet thoughts that could lead to the next big idea.
It's difficult trying to think outside the box!
We have to get creative to get creative. In order to do this routinely, here are three tips for sparking creativity.
1. Research and read
As an avid consumer of all types of media, I flag successful content ideas and trends that are being covered by the media.
After that, I research the company or trend further, to see if I can find an idea or approach that would fit my clients. If I stumble on a great idea, I share it with others in the office and see if that will spark additional ideas about how to create our own idea.
Imitation is the best form of flattery, and it works with ideas too. Don’t be afraid to look and admire what others are doing. Use it to spark your own initiative and ideas.
Related: 12 Ways to Find Inspiration
2. Get out of the office, and schedule thinking time
Many people say they come up with their best ideas when they're outside the office -- while driving, in the shower or in bed.
There's little to no interruption during these times, and the brain can relax and be creative. Consider scheduling creative time. Go for a walk or schedule thinking time outside of the office. It's important to give yourself time to be creative and let the mind wander.
If you're coming up with ideas and bringing them to the team or to the client, your supervisor shouldn’t care about where or when the idea came to life.
3. Sketch it out, and write it down
When an idea hits, pencil it out and let your idea come to life on paper. This can often spark different ideas and approaches or easily show that an idea doesn’t have what it takes or needs to be more impactful.
By taking the time to write or work on an idea, you're starting the process of creating -- which will grow and expand as you work through your thoughts. Show these written ideas to other teammates without the benefit of a conversation. This way, they can add to it and give what you hope are impactful additions or questions to consider and help grow the idea into something you'd be proud to share with a client or supervisor.
Creative ideating is a skill all agencies and clients crave. And just like Isay’s new StoryCorps app, creative ideas can blossom into potentially larger ideas that can effect people’s lives or, at the very least, keep your work interesting and inspired.