Ideas – part two

Yesterday I talked about the importance of thinking through an idea properly and of not shirking your responsibilities to come up with ideas. Now I’ll take a look at how to come up with ideas and some easy tips to stimulate (I almost wrote simulate there…) creativity.

When I was an undergrad it was pretty easy to come up with an idea, do some research and write it up. There was a lot more time to think about and discuss pertinent issues when the most pressing demand on your time was whether you could con the cute blonde Canadian co-ed, who was certainly out of your league, into going out with you.

Now however, as an entry or mid-level PR, there are a few more important things on your mind. The typical PR is dragged in three different directions – by the media, clients and internal politics. There are media relations to get done, news releases to be sent for approval and reports to be written. Most PRs barely have time for a healthy lunch, let alone to subscribe to this blog or come up with great ideas.

One important thing to remember is that ideas come whenever they like. It’s next to impossible to force them out so when they do strike, make sure you have an idea pad to write them down. Then get back to what you were doing – let the idea percolate a bit and then build it out. However, if you must try to force them, here are some good tips.

  • Get a drink. Not an alcoholic one, just walk to the kitchen or nearest shop to get a Pepsi (an FH client) or a glass of water. Just doing something different will get you thinking
  • Get a tennis ball. Any sort of repetitive motion takes the left side of your brain off what you’re doing and stimulates the right, and more creative, side*. Throwing a tennis ball against your office wall may annoy the neighbours, but it’ll put a big smile on your boss’ face
  • Use your imagination. I just got out of an elevator with a dog that was fascinated with the mirrors on the walls. If you’re looking at something with a fresh perspective, with new eyes, you’ll be fascinated, and fascinating, as well
  • Get a book, get any sort of reading source. Seeing how others approach problems unrelated to yours will give you new ways to solve whatever’s facing you
  • Get out. There’s a whole chapter in The Big Moo on this but they key is to put yourself in an environment where there are new things to experience. Your mind will open and great ideas will pour in
  • Get a second opinion. The cliché is that two heads are better than one. A short conversation with a colleague, or your boss, will get the mutual brains flowing and allow you to flesh out ideas quicker and easier than toiling along by yourself. Plus you get a chance to impress the boss – always good come review time
  • Get some running shoes. If time allows, a quick three mile run (shouldn’t take more than 30 mins) should clear your mind enough to make space the great ideas that’re waiting to come out. I’m sure Leo (a must read blog for me) can back me up on this one

*Even though I made this up, it makes sense…

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