How You Can Boost Your Creativity
Would you like to be more creative? Do you think that increased creativity is something that would improve your life?
Before you answer yes or no to that question, take some time to explore what the word “creativity” means to you.
If you think that creativity is something that you only need if you’re an artist, while you happen to be a middle-manager in a corporation, you may decide that increased creativity is not really important to you. But creativity is actually something far broader than artistic expression, and it’s required in many areas of life.
Your idea of a creative person might be someone who lives in a loft, painting gigantic canvases all day long. Or perhaps a writer at her computer, working on a long novel. Or a musician, actor, or singer performing on stage to an audience. All these people are expressing themselves artistically, and they can all rightly be said to be creative people.
But what about an entrepreneur who has an idea for a new product, who forms a new company to produce and distribute it, eventually employing hundreds of people? Doesn’t this also require creativity?
What about a research scientist toiling in a lab, developing new compounds in an effort to cure disease? Isn’t this creative? What about a single mother who manages to come up with healthy delicious meals on a tiny budget? Isn’t that creativity?
To one person, creativity can mean gluing seashells to a picture frame. To another, creativity might mean solving a grand unified theory in physics. And to another person, being creative might mean coming up with an ingenious new way to speed up a factory assembly line.
When we define creativity only in terms of artistic expression, we miss a lot of other potential applications for creative thinking and problem solving.
An artist painting a picture, or a writer working on a novel, both have something in common with the researcher in the lab, and the entrepreneur, and the person gluing seashells to picture frames.
They are all working on problems and devising solutions that didn’t exist before. These people are using their minds to imagine fresh ways of doing something, putting together existing forms and ideas in new ways.
They may be creating a new idea, a new look, a new product, or new technique. Sometimes the ability to be more creative can lead to personal fame and fortune; sometimes it just provides a deep sense of personal satisfaction.
Can we improve our ability to be creative? Yes, in fact, learning to be more creative can be quite enjoyable and easy to do. Most of us were very creative as children, before we learned the official rules about how things are supposed to be.
We can resurrect our ability to be more creative by exploring some of the many techniques that have been developed to improve creative and artistic ability, as well as to improve creative problem solving.
Some of the techniques that are used to improve creativity include brainstorming, mind-mapping, various forms of hypnosis and meditation, and guided imagery.
The techniques that have been developed to try enhance creativity all have one thing in common. They are all trying to bypass the inner “judge” or “critic” we have in our minds.
Most of us have an inner voice that is running a constant commentary on everything we think and do. We might barely notice this inner voice much of the time, yet it has a great impact on what we can accomplish in our life.
In many of us this inner voice is usually very negative. No matter what we want think about, or want to do, this inner voice is running like a tape in the background of our minds, criticizing our ideas, our performance, and our ability to be successful.
When we come up with a new idea, our inner voice may be saying, “This idea is stupid.” Or it might tell us, “I should never be mediocre or average, I must be brilliant and perfect all the time. All my ideas should be totally brilliant and innovative. If my ideas aren’t perfect right from the start, I am a failure and it’s better not to even try”.
Our negative inner critic does not always appear as a voice. Sometimes we see visual images of ourselves failing. Or we may have physical sensations of fear and embarrassment that stop us from pursuing new ideas or new actions.
Your inner critic isn’t being evil when it criticizes you, or when it tells you your ideas are not very good. Your critic is actually trying to protect you from being ashamed or embarrassed by the potentially negative comments and reactions of other people to your ideas.
Our inner critic is trying to make us perfect and safe, but it can have an unforeseen damaging effect.
If our inner judgmental dialogue is mostly negative, our creative abilities will suffer.
Instead of helping us to come up with better ideas, this endless barrage of negative inner commentary will hurt our ability to come up with new ideas.
You can’t be creative, and be critical at the same time. These two processes require different ways of thinking. The critical, judgmental, analytical function of the brain is not the part that knows how to generate creative ideas.
Even the types of brainwaves that you generate when you are being rational and analytical are quite different than the brainwaves that go with maximum creativity.
When it’s time for you to be creative, you have to send your “inner critic” out for a walk.
Think Orange! Creativity and the Sacral Chakra
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just flick a switch and turn on your creativity? Sadly, at times, tapping into your creativity can feel like trying to squeeze water from a stone. The good news is, there are ways of encouraging creativity and one of these ways is through balancing your sacral chakra.
Chakra is the Sanskrit word for moving wheel; the chakras are vortexes of energy present in the ethereal body and in corresponding locations of the physical body. There are seven major chakras and they function as pathways for energy to be taken in.
The sacral chakra, sometimes called the spleen or navel chakra, is located in the lower abdomen, approximately two inches below the navel. It governs sexuality, self-worth and creativity and is also associated with desire, pleasure, emotional balance and the abundance that you allow into your life for the fulfillment of your desires.
If this chakra is functioning well, you will experience enriched creativity, enhanced emotional gratification and courage, sexual vitality and positive self-esteem. If this chakra is blocked, however, both sexual and creative frustration occurs. You may have difficulties tapping into your creativity. Or you may have brilliantly creative ideas, but problems with manifesting your projects. A blockage can also manifest physically with lower back pain, sciatica, problems of the reproductive system, lowered libido and urinary problems.
Luckily, there are many tools to help balance the chakras. I’ve listed some of the correspondences for the sacral chakra together with guidelines on how to use these tools to balance this chakra and hence enhance your creativity.
Surround yourself with orange. Wear it, eat it (preferably in the form of food) or paint your studio or workspace with it. If you meditate, visualize orange around the area of this chakra.
MUSIC: sensual flowing music with passionate rhythms (think Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”)
Dance, using your hips. Gyrate, baby, gyrate!
GEMSTONES: any orange stone – carnelian, orange jasper, fire opal, moonstone
You can wear these stones as jewelry or carry them in your pocket or purse.
ESSENTIAL OILS: sandalwood, jasmine, ylang ylang, clary sage, bergamot, orange blossom
Burn oils in an oil burner. Combine 10 drops or use singly in a bath. (This is particularly effective as water is the element governed by the sacral chakra.). Put some drops on a handkerchief and sniff it when you need inspiration. Make yourself a massage oil by adding a few drops of essential oil to almond oil.
Now you know what to do to get your creative juices flowing; go take a bath whilst eating a mango, come out and drape yourself in orange clothes and jewels and start swaying those hips to a cool groove.
Then, go create!
Can Creativity Be Taught?
Many people think that creativity is a trait that is only reserved for people who are born with the talent. That it is a child’s natural talent, a gift if you would call it and like beauty, it is not possible to nurture and develop it. That it can’t be taught by any means. Well, I do not think so.
I believe creativity is a skill that can be taught and developed to anyone especially children. The main reason why I think children are more suited to creativity training is because children are not exposed to the world around us as much as we adults do. They may not have comprehend every faucet of life as we adults know. They do not have the subconscious mindset that we adults do.
Take for example, you have an idea that you think is brilliant yet your subconscious mind is also telling you that if you told others about your idea, you will be laughed at and ridiculed. As a result over time, your creativity may have suffered or suppressed.
For children, their subconscious mind has not been fully developed yet. They still do not have the ability to tell whether something they have in their mind will be laughed at by others.
For us adults, we have a certain structure in life, we are expected to behave and think in a certain way or we will become society’s outcast. Being fearful of being outcast whether be by your friends, family, colleagues or associates forces us and our minds to conform to a certain way of life. It can be a determent to your creativity. Over mind, this certain way of life becomes engrained into us and our subconscious mindset.
With that said , that does not mean adults can’t develop their creativity. Just that it may take a longer time and the results may not be apparent.
Here are some simple steps you can take to develop your creativity skills.
1) You have to make the mental change that you are creative. You need to remove the mental block first. The easiest way to do that is to start a project, maybe on your hobby. Say for example, you are into cooking. Think of a new dish and give it a unique name. Don’t use any references from your cooking books.
2) Broaden your horizons by reading magazines, reading news, travelling etc. Basically let your imagination run wild.
3) Carry a notepad or any recording device such as a mp3 recorder. Then record any ideas that struck you. You find that ideas may come to you in the most unlikely places and moments. So it helps if you have some way of recording it.
How to Tap into Your Creative Powers with the Magic Tool – Mind Mapping
Creativity is no more just a buzzword. It is just what makes the world go. Think of all the creativity that gave rise to inventions. From using a blade, to landing on the moon have all been made possible because of the wonderful ability – creativity. It is looking at a concept/idea/perception in an entirely new dimension.
We are categorized as ‘Right’ brained when we display a good range of creativity. The right brain qualities involve imagination, risk taking, creativity, artistic abilities, highly philosophical orientation, etc. Creative people display certain common traits. They display the profile of risk takers, rebellious, absent-minded, humorous, extremely focused, preoccupied, determined, and so on.
As different from artistic creativity, which is an inborn flair for imaginative self-expression, technical creativity addresses the issues confronting our daily lives. We could approach a problem or a situation in a totally different way to discover new solutions to tackling it.
Although creativity is an essential trait that every human being is endowed with, we scarcely exploit this innate ability in us. We can tap into our creative skills by using ‘programmed thinking’ methods such as Attribute Listing, Morphological Analysis and Reframing Matrix, to finding solutions. These methods involve unique mixing of properties, components and elements to ultimately explore the practical viability of such combinations.
The other well-known method is employing ‘lateral thinking’ methods as Brainstorming, Random Input and Provocation. It is consciously breaking free from the familiar thinking patterns to allow new ways of perceiving things. Random Input can serve as a starting point when you get stuck. It is using concrete nouns from unrelated fields for connecting one thinking pattern to another.
Provocation deliberately uses illogical, crazy and wild ideas for generating ideas. The basic aspect of lateral thinking is suspending judgment and criticism to give ideas and concepts a free rein. Employing all these different methods can greatly improve your creative skills.
A simple and an effective technique, which greatly facilitates the full use of all the creative method is Mind Map. Be it Attribute Listing or Morphological Analysis or Reframing Matrix, Mind Maps are an immensely useful tool for exploring these methods. Since Mind Mapping technique uses non-linear method, it serves as an elementary tool for creativity, turning the entire process into a simple and highly effective procedure.
As the essence of Mind Mapping is to allow a free and full flow of thoughts and associations, the method in itself stimulates creativity, by bringing all our sub conscious thoughts to the fore. It digs deep into our dormant thoughts and brings them to the surface through use of associations and related links. By including colors, pictures, dimensions, symbols, etc., it taps into the unconscious mind using the language of symbols, pictures, etc.
Mind Mapping indeed is the shortest route to enhancing your creative abilities. Using them constantly and applying them under a variety of situations will help in enhancing your creative thinking capabilities.
Ten Tips on Writing and Creativity
1. Don’t think. Creating a story or book has little to do with the intellect or language when we first begin. Our best ideas will emerge as a spark or image. Like dreams, they will make little sense. Followed, they will hold the key to the creative unconscious.
2. Creativity is cyclical. You cannot and will not be creative all the time. What is full must empty and what is empty will fill. Creativity has its own internal rhythms. Learn to listen to yours.
3. Nothing kills creativity faster than criticism. Don’t share your work-in-progress with people who are critical or those whose opinions leave you vulnerable, no matter how much you love them. Good critiquing should leave you inspired, not deflated.
4. Spend time listening to your inner critic. He or she is not comfortable with the risks demanded by a creative endeavor. By becoming aware of the foul jabber of your inner critic, you can see how your own mind puts up roadblocks to your creativity.
5. Being a creator is risky business. Don’t underestimate the tremendous emotional and psychic risks the journey demands. Learn to push ahead even when you are afraid. Learn to love the risk.
6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Every successful creator has failed hundreds of times. Failure is an integral part of creativity. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong or stupid. It only means you’ve uncovered a path or technique that does not work.
7. Don’t be afraid to write garbage. Every successful writer writes mounds of garbage. Give your work time to percolate. Play the What If game. For example, if you’re writing fiction and a characters is sweet and loving and you’re stuck, have the character mean and hateful. In the world of the imagination, anything can happen.
8. Nurture your creativity. It is as fragile as a budding flower. Open to the dance. Listen to music that makes you feel like flying. Go for a walk. Laugh with a friend, child or lover. Creativity is about feeling.
9. Be passionate. Creativity is passionate. Passion is always creative.
10. Learn your craft. And write, write, write! The more you write, the better you will get. Discipline yourself. Successful writers are disciplined writers.
© Emily Hanlon, 1996-2005. The Art of Fiction or How to Fall Down the Rabbit Hole Without Really Trying, Labyrinth Press.
Make Fear a Nine Day Wonder – Motivate Yourself with Fun!
Have you heard something referred to as a "nine day wonder"? The phrase refers to something that causes a sensation for a brief period of time and then fades into obscurity. The origin of this phrase is usually tied to the nine-day reign of Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) as Queen of England. This reluctant queen met an untimely fate. More on that later…
I added a new Fun Commandment recently to address a very pesky and persistent nine day wonder we all face – fear as a motivator. Fear is a great motivator…for a brief period. Then it does worse than fade into obscurity; fear adds to our load of stress and pressure. So I’m calling for an end to this nine day wonder’s reign with my Fun Commandment, Motivate Yourself with Fun Rather than Fear.
Motivating yourself with fun rather than fear pays big dividends in myriad ways. Making this choice accelerates your ability to communicate, rests your brain, lowers your stress, increases your tolerance for pain, among other things. In this article, however, I am focusing on one incredibly important and impactful side effect of this Commandment – using fun to motivate yourself increases your creativity.
Creativity is an ability highly sought by businesses and employees alike. Creativity is trumpeted in every mission statement and praised by every CEO for good reason – we know that creativity brings breakthroughs! Since the ability to create breakthroughs is both a highly sought after and also a highly marketable skill, creativity gets a lot of deserved attention.
Yet there are still many myths to dispel about creativity. One of the biggest myths is that creativity is fueled by time pressure. Time pressure is an example of fear-based motivation because it involves trying to escape a negative consequence rather than moving toward a positive outcome. Deadlines are a reality, but using fear to fuel our creative juices has the opposite effect.
The alternative is to use fun as our motivator. Theresa Amabile, head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, has been studying creativity for 30 years. For the past 8 years she has collected nearly 12,000 daily journal entries from 238 people working on creative projects in seven large corporations. She and her team scoured journals for moments when people struggled with a problem or came up with a new idea. The following rules for using fun to motivate creativity are inspired directly from Amabile’s research.
Deadlines are fear-based; if you want to be creative you must give yourself an "incubation period." Deadlines create distractions that rob your attention, the research indicates. Even with a deadline looming, to get creative you should focus on your work in an environment protected from distractions.
Competition is fear-based; collaboration is fun-based. If you want to amplify your creativity, the research tells you to foster the confidence to share your ideas with others. Be open to debate with collaborators and create a noncompetitive environment. You’ll hit new heights of creativity!
Catching people doing things right, rather than punishing them for doing things wrong, is fun-based. Public celebrations, according to the research, of accomplishments are a boon for creativity. If you want to spark creativity, publicly recognize someone’s work or contributions!
Sparking intrinsic motivation is what fun accomplishes when you use it as a motivator. Intrinsic motivation, the research proves, is critical to creativity. Anyone, it turns out, can be highly creative – when they become intrinsically motivated! Motivating yourself with fun clears away barriers and allows your experience, knowledge, and skills to foster new, creative ways of thinking.
You are more likely to have a creative breakthrough if you were happy the day before. When you’re happy, which usually happens as a byproduct of fun-based motivation, the research clearly indicates a great chance of your happiness "incubating" overnight to show up as a creative idea the following day.
How about that? I couldn’t have asked for more compelling evidence that fun is a better personal and professional motivator than fear. Amabile’s 8-year study clearly shows that today’s happiness predicts tomorrow’s creativity! So start getting happy today by motivating yourself with fun and then re-create your world tomorrow!
By the way, Lady Jane Grey was reluctant to take the throne of England because she was only 15 years old and she held unpopular Protestant beliefs. Her reluctance was well-founded; the young Queen relinquished the crown after just 9 days, plead guilty to treason, and was eventually beheaded.
Let’s give fear, as our motivator, the same fate. Fear becomes a nine day wonder when we replace it with fun today!
Tap the Creative Inside You
Imagination is the source of creativity. It’s a place where unlimited possibilities reside. It’s where pure energy lives.
People are innately imaginative and creative. However, most people are simply not conscious of their imaginative and creative selves.
Creativity is the cognitive process of developing a novel idea or concept.
Teresa M. Amabile, a creativity expert, argues that creativity is not a quality of a person. Rather, it is a quality of ideas, behaviors or products.
According to her, creativity has 3 basic ingredients:
1. Domain-Relevant Skills – These are skills associated with expertise in a relevant field (e.g., artistic ability, technical ability, talent, etc.).
2. Creativity-Relevant Skills – These skills include a cognitive style or method of thinking oriented towards exploring new directions, approaches that can be used to generate new ideas, and a work style conducive to developing creative ideas.
3. Task Motivation – Recent evidence suggests that a genuine interest in a task for its own sake, rather than for achieving external rewards such as money, enhances creativity.
So how can you develop your creativity? Here are 2 ways:
1. Provocative Operation, coined by Edward de Bono – This involves disrupting your thought patterns. It works with the premise that the more you are used to something, the less stimulating it is for your thinking.
Application: Insert "interruptions" into your day. This can be writing in a different room or area, reading magazines you wouldn’t normally read, tuning in to a different radio or television station, cooking and eating something different.
2. Forced Analogy – This method forces you to compare a concept, idea or problem with something else that it has little or nothing in common with. The results are new insights.
Application: Compare an emotion (e.g., elation, excitement, anxiety) with a tangible object (e.g., pen, chair, door). How is anxiety like a door?
When you need to tap the creative inside you, use these 2 techniques. Tap into your imagination and you enable yourself to create new things, come up with ideas you have never thought of before. Tap into your imagination and you awaken your creativity.
How To Increase Creativity
To increase creativity, you need to do two things. First, you need to encourage it. Second, you need to train your brain. Start on both of these right now, and you can experience greater creativity today.
<P>Encourage creativity and you’ll increase creativity. This is true of most things you want to see more of in your life. Encouragement can work wonders. How do you encourage creativity, though?
<P>First, by paying attention to it. Your subconscious mind tends to give you more of what you pay attention to. If you ignore the creative aspects of your life, you are telling your subconscious that they are unimportant. If you consciously note when you are creative, and you look for opportunities to be creative, your subconscious mind will start feeding you more creative ideas. Look for it and you’ll find more of it.
<P>Another way to encourage and increase creativity, is to write your ideas down. Keep an "idea journal." If you do this regularly, you’ll notice that you often start having more ideas the moment you start to write. A so-so idea may normally be forgotten, but by writing it down, you may remember it, your subconscious works on it, and it can transform into something very creative.
<P>You can also encourage greater creativity in yourself by putting creative ideas into practice. If you paint or write, for example, try anything new. Even just driving a different route to work to see if it is quicker can help. The point is to get you mind working outside of its regular patterns.
<P>Just changing your surroundings can encourage creativity. If you want more creativity in your love life, go hike up a mountain with your partner. If you write, try sitting on a roof to write. If you need new ideas for your business, take a notebook to the park and sit by the duck pond. A change of enviroment can get your brain out of it’s ruts.
<P>If you want to dramatically increase creativity, develop creative habits of mind. Watch a good comedian and you’ll see that she has trained her mind to look for the "different angle" on everyday things. You can train your mind to do the same.
<P>Challenge assumptions, for example, until it becomes habit. Looking for ways to get customers into your store? Stop and say, "Do I really need more customers?" The question suggests other creative solutions, like finding ways to make more money off existing customers, or ways to cut expenses. These may lead to more profitable ideas. Challenge assumptions to increase the creativity of your solutions.
<P>As you drive to work, randomly choose anything around you and ask how it may be connected to whatever problem you are working on. A helicopter overhead might make you think about a way to track where the car goes when you loan it to your kids. A palm tree may lead to a new design for patio umbrellas.
<P>The above techniques are called "Assumption Challenging" and "Random Presentation," and are two classic creative problem solving techniques. There are dozens more. Train your brain to habitually use these, and provide it with a little encouragement, and you really can increase your creativity.
Do you tell yourself that you are not a creative person because you can’t draw or play an instrument or write poetry? I often hear many of my clients bemoan, "I’m not creative!"
This isn’t true! We all have the ability to be creative – it is a God-given gift – but you might not be noticing or enjoying your particular form of creativity. It’s important that you become aware of which forms of creativity are fun and fulfilling for you, because expressing your creativity is a powerful way of feeling filled up and joyful within.
Creativity naturally pours out of my three-year old grandson, as it does out of all little children who are given the opportunity to express it. When I was spending time with him recently, he was playing with a children’s microscope that has little slides with various bugs and other little creatures that he can slide in. He slid in a little shrimp and then starting running around the room saying, "Grandma, the shrimp is in the heater! Get it out!" Once I coaxed out the little shrimp, it now magically appeared under the table, or in the lamp, or back in the heater! He delighted in running around pretending this little shrimp was everywhere and engaging me in his magical game, laughing as he thought up new place for the shrimp to hide! I could see the pure joy he experiences in expressing his creativity.
How can you express your creativity in everyday ways?
Perhaps you really love scrapbooking or making photo albums, creating ways of enjoying memories. Do you enjoy setting a beautiful table, or creating a lovely flower arrangement from flowers that you grow? Do you love creating a wonderful garden? How about creating a bulletin board in your home or office for others to enjoy? Perhaps you just enjoy putting on music and allowing your body to dance around the room. Do you love being in your workshop, making things out of wood for yourself and others? One man I know decided to express his creativity by carving a totem pole, even though it was something he had never done and had no idea how to do it!
Maybe picking out fabrics and making clothing or blankets is fun for you, or knitting or crocheting for yourself, family and friends. Do you have fun making cards with stamps? Maybe you enjoy making collages with pictures from magazines.
You might be a person who expresses your creativity through your kindness or through your humor. Perhaps volunteering is a form of creativity for you. Perhaps you have learned to express your creativity in saying something kind to each person with whom you are in contact throughout a day.
The point is, all of us have many ways in which we can express our creativity, and expressing it is vital to our wellbeing. It is a wonderful form of play. If you spend all of your time just getting things done and do not allow time for your everyday creativity, you will not feel alive and content within. The old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" applies to all of us. We feel dull inside when we don’t allow time for play, for creativity, for kindness to ourselves and others.
Creative expression will occur naturally when you open your heart to yourself and others, allowing the gift of creativity to flow through you from the spiritual source that is always available to you. New ideas are always waiting to be expressed through you – you just need to open to them and allow the time for them. When you do, you will feel the joy and fulfillment that comes from everyday creativity!
Creativity – How To Have More
To have more creativity, follow this two-step plan:
1. Encourage creativity.
2. Train your brain to be more creative.
Start on both of these right now, and you can experience greater creativity today.
Encourage your creativity and you’ll increase your creativity. Of course, this is true of most things you want to see more of in your life. Encouragement can work wonders, but how do you encourage creativity?
Start by paying attention to it. Our subconscious minds tends to give us more of what we pay attention to. Ignore the creative aspects of your life, and you are telling your subconscious that they are unimportant. Consciously note when you’re creative, and your subconscious mind will start feeding you more creative ideas. Just look for it and you’ll find more of it.
You can encourage creativity by writing your ideas down. Start keeping an "idea journal." Do this regularly, and you’ll notice that you often start having more ideas the moment you start to write. A so-so idea may normally be forgotten, but by writing it down, you may remember it. Then your subconscious can work on it, and may transform into something very creative.
For more creativity in your life, start putting creative ideas into practice. If you paint, paint something totally different from your usual subjects. If you sell houses, try a new approach. Even just driving a different route to work to see if it is quicker can encourage your creativity. Just get your mind working outside of its regular patterns.
Changing your surroundings can encourage creativity. For more creativity in your love life, go hike up a mountain with your partner. If you write, try sitting on a roof to write. For new ideas for your business, take a notebook to the park and sit by the duck pond. Any change of enviroment can get your brain out of it’s ruts.
To dramatically increase your creativity, develop creative habits of mind. If you watch a good comedian, you’ll see that she has trained her mind to look for the "different angle" on everyday things. Why not train your mind to do the same?
Start challenging assumptions, for example, until it becomes habit. If you’re looking for ways to get more customers, stop and say, "Do I really need more customers?" It’s a question that suggests other creative solutions, like finding ways to make more money off existing customers, or ways to cut expenses. It could lead to more profitable ideas. Challenge assumptions is a great way to have more creativity in your problem solving.
While driving to work, randomly choose anything you see and ask what it can teach you about whatever problem you are working on. A helicopter might make you think about a way to track where the car goes when you loan it to your kids. Palm trees may lead to a new design for patio umbrellas.
These two techniques are called "Assumption Challenging" and "Random Presentation," and are classic creative problem solving techniques. There are dozens more. If you train your brain to habitually use these or other techniques, and provide it with a little encouragement, you really can have more creativity.