Creative ways to be more creative.

Type “creativity” in a Google News search and immediately assume a self-defense posture. Why? Insights and advice on the topic will come out swinging like Chuck Norris vs. swarming bees.

Here’s a smattering of what’ll you’ll find:

Why all the hubbub about creativity? Simple. In today’s oversaturated, cutthroat market, creativity ensures your company stands out from the crowd – the key to differentiating it from the competition. Bottom line: There’s a direct correlation between creativity, market share, and – here comes the good stuff – profit.

And here’s some more good news: Opportunities for creative marketing are endless. Need an example? Check out Ikea’s recent stroke of creative genius. You’ll never look at blue bags the same.

Most businesses understand that creativity can help propel their business forward, but the next logical question is: How does a business or individual become more creative? You’d think there would be some, well, very creative ideas, right? Not really. It’s mostly the same old stuff we’ve always heard: brainstorm, make lists, fuse ideas, take a shower, go for a run… nothing earth shattering.

Sure, some of those ideas are good. But how about some RADICAL, slap-the-heck-out-of-the-CLICHE ideas on how to be more creative. Here’s a few we thought of:

Wide Awake Rooms – Every so often, news articles talk about how sleep-deprived we all are, mentioning how forward-thinking companies let employees take naps because it helps productivity and wellbeing. Some companies have even created “nap rooms.” While we can’t argue that more sleep is good, we would argue that in addition to nap rooms, how about Wide Awake Rooms? These rooms could be used not for dreaming, but for day-dreaming, meditation, pondering. If everybody in a company – from the marketing folks to admin and HR – took 20 minutes a day to think – really think! – what innovative, ground-breaking, patent-pending, game-changing ideas would we come up with? *Disclaimer: We are not encouraging you to lock your employees in a tiny room until they bring you an amazing idea.

Say what’s never been said – This one’s easy. We’ve been known to play it with our kids. Simply say something that’s almost-definitely never been said in the history of person-kind. We’ll go first: “Santa forgot about Christmas because he was too busy drinking beer with Rudolph down at the tavern.” Now that sentence is nonsensical (after all, everybody knows Santa drinks wine, right?) but totally original (I think). And once you realize you can be totally original at any given moment, that thought permeates into real business decisions. For example, what product or service can we offer that’s never been offered before? Perhaps wine bottles that look like Santa called “Naughty or Nice?” Just a thought.

Take Your Coworkers to Work Day – For an hour or two, pick up your company, shake it like a snow-globe, and put it back down. (This is a metaphor. Companies are heavy. Please don’t hurt your back.) Let the boss be the mail person, the marketing department be the HR department, the IT team be the sales team. Not only will this foster a lot of craziness, which is a key to creativity, it will blow up the mundane daily grind – you guessed it, another key to creativity. Now talk to everybody. What did they think about their pretend job? How would they make the jobs better? How would they solve various problems?  

There’s probably 3.75 million other creative ways to be more creative. Heck, we haven’t even talked about watching the Wizard of Oz while Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon plays. But that’s kind of a cliché, isn’t it? Hey, nobody is perfect.