Whether it’s writer’s block, creative block, or just feeling exhausted and out of ideas to solve whatever problems you’re facing; we’ve all experienced the feeling of hitting a brick wall when it comes to new ideas. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to refresh your mind and find creative solutions to problems. Here is a list of helpful techniques to get out of that creative rut!

Storyboard

Thinking of a problem as a story that needs a satisfying resolution is a great way to approach creative thinking. Storyboarding takes storytelling a step further by providing a visual guide that gets creativity flowing. Storyboarding is traditionally used in the film industry to plan out the frames of a movie, but the concept is a great asset for any creative thinker. Imagine a hero figure on a journey and draw out the steps of this journey; whether it’s a user downloading an app or a shopper committing to a purchase. What steps will they take? What obstacles could they encounter? Don’t worry about how the drawings look, the point of storyboarding is to get messy and creative, not create a flawless masterpiece.

Explore Unrelated Ideas

Inspiration often comes from unexpected sources. Take some time to explore topics unrelated to the current problem; a solution used in one industry could be just as useful to a completely different field. Don’t be afraid to combine ideas from wildly different sources, or to seek creative sparks from random spaces.

Mind Map

Mind mapping is a free-association technique that helps open your mind to new angles, new ideas, and new solutions. To create a mind map, write down a word that encompasses all or part of the problem, then draw out branches from that word and write down any other word that pops into your head, no matter how strange, completely unrelated, or downright silly it may seem! Keep going with other words and then see how many new ideas can be drawn from combining the words and ideas your brain came up with. Even if a solution doesn’t present itself, mind mapping is still a great exercise for training your mind to think creatively.

Explain the problem to someone who is clueless

Is there someone on your team who hasn’t worked on this project at all? Do they have no idea what it’s about? This is the perfect opportunity to look at the problem through a fresh pair of eyes. Explaining the problem to someone with little to no knowledge of the subject forces you to create a simplified explanation that breaks down the problem to its core and helps clear away any unnecessary mental clutter. Additionally, a completely fresh perspective is often a great way to discover new insights and inspiration that could have been overlooked. 

Take a Walk

Sometimes the best way to generate ideas is to take a step back. Allowing your brain to rest and forget about the problem might seem counterintuitive, but going back to work after a break can make a huge difference. Returning to the problem with a refreshed mind is often all it takes to find fresh ideas. Some good ways to take a break are taking a walk, grabbing a coffee or just going for a drive.

Creative problem solving is a vital skill for anyone looking to generate fresh ideas and continually change things for the better. Sometimes a problem seems insurmountable, but a little creative strategizing can help make that big, bad problem seem pretty small and simple. 

There are plenty of other ways to help generate ideas. Don’t be afraid to explore new techniques or invent your own strategies, there are always new ideas out there just waiting to be discovered!

Happy problem solving,

Rachel