While some people may insist that it’s all about genetics, many sources would argue that creativity isn’t inherent but can, in fact, be cultivated over time. So if creativity is a learned ability, what does it take to unearth that power? Having reviewed numerous theories as part of our own pursuits of creative excellence, the following 5 tips have proven very effective.
1. Have an open mind. Explore every avenue and quiet the voice in your head that instinctively says ‘No’ to an idea.
2. Develop a routine. Discipline is key, especially when a deadline is looming. You must make time to be creative and to hone your craft.
3. Collaborate. Brainstorm with others, ask questions, and take criticisms as a creative challenge, not a personal attack. Ideas can come from anyone, at any time, and refining your ideas will only make you better at creative thinking in the future.
4. Study others. Look to others who inspire you and analyze their work. Find out what they do well and how you can apply that to your own practice.
5. Set the stage. Atmosphere plays a big part in your ability to get into “the zone,” so make sure your workspace is conducive to creative thinking.
When it comes to inspiration, the HAWK creative team is always on the lookout for new ways to get the creative juices flowing. Here are just some of the ways they set the wheels of imagination in motion:
Chris Choiniere, Senior Art Director
"The raw material of creativity is observation. I start by paying very close attention to what’s going on around me in my life and culture. Being aware of what’s current, what’s interesting and what’s great out there provides a knowledge base for my creative work. For me, inspiration can come from anywhere. Anything can serve as a trigger: A comment in a brainstorming session, a song, a cool ad, a walk in the woods, strumming a guitar.
I think creativity happens best when you stay out of its way and let it happen. It’s very easy to stifle it by pushing too hard. I think that if you try to remain open-minded, flexible and spontaneous, you can be inspired by anything and everything."
Gil Jackson, Art Director
"As much as I can, I pay attention to the details around me as I go about my day for ideas and inspiration – whether it’s architecture, entertainment, magazines, surfing the internet or laying in bed falling asleep – it’s a random process and not one that I really have an itinerary for. Another source of inspiration for me, is my team at work. Talking, brainstorming or just laughing and coming up with crazy, unrealistic situations helps me with the creative process and brings ideas to the surface."
Med Badr Chemmaoui, Graphic Designer
"Swimming and being at the beach has always been a source of creativity for me. Traveling and exploring different places and seeing how another peoples live is another. Reading is also a really great creativity bumper for me, imagining the entire scenes and atmospheres is definitely stimulating."
Liz Fillmore, Creative Writer
"I feel like anything can act as a trigger for inspiration if you’re receptive to it. I read Dr. Seuss a lot and I think that has allowed me to keep doors open in terms of possibilities when it comes to ideas and where they come from. Whenever I’m stuck, Seuss helps to get the thoughts flowing again. ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King inspired me to start my writing career and I’m constantly turning to it for pointers. I also browse Pinterest obsessively when I’m at a idea roadblock. There’s something about the random mishmash of images and words (whether related or not) that creates a collage of creative cues for me."
Chris Farella, Associate Creative Director
"I find creative inspiration through the team I work with and the world around me. People, situations, pop culture, sub culture. I try to pay attention to what goes on in the background, and listen to the live soundtrack associated with different situations… then I draw on what I've learned/discovered when I need it."
François Giroux, Creative Director
"There is no ONE way for me. There are solitary moments that allow me to dive deep into an idea – any period of time where I can shut the world around me and get lost in the creative process in search of an insight. It can be a bike ride on the marsh, a long drive, a walk on the beach, anything. But there are also moments of exchange where as a group we get to challenge each other or more importantly, build on each other’s thoughts.
I think the important thing is not to stop once you get an idea but to push yourself to do better. The best ideas are always the ones that give you a little chill; the ones when you’re not quite certain if you’re brilliant or totally stupid."