Laura Veith

Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer

Using Play to Kindle Your Creativity - Guest Blog Post

Have you ever found that your best ideas come when you're doing something really mundane,
like taking a shower, driving, or just going for a walk? That's because you're giving your brain
space to process whatever it is you're thinking about. As along as you actively think about the
situation you are not giving your best ideas room to emerge. It may seem like a paradox, but
sometimes the best way to find a solution is to step away from the problem. Are you wondering
what you can do to speed up that process and become more creative and better at idea
generating and creative problem solving? As a creative and designer it is my job to constantly
come up with ideas, here are some things that work for me:

First things first: Step away from the computer! The computer is a great tool, but if all you have
is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Get up, move around, go for a walk, if you're daring: dance. It helps to loosen your body and
free your thoughts. Some people think better when they're moving. I know it helps me.
Perhaps you're one of them and you didn't even know it.

Take notes and explore ideas using pen and paper. As I just mentioned, the computer is
too limiting. With a pen you can switch between writing and drawing in an instance.
You can sketch out ideas and write in the margins. You are more flexible and can follow
your thoughts more naturally than when relying on a keyboard.

Let yourself get distracted (for a certain amount of time) and embrace it when a group
conversation starts to get off topic a bit. Some of my best ideas have come from that, whether I
was working on my own or as part of a group. The key as with so many things is balance, and to
bring the conversation or the thoughts back to the issue at hand, and draw parallels between
what just happened and why you are actually meeting. That distraction and off-topic talk gives
you lots of material to draw ideas from.

Get your hands dirty. Literally, in some cases. You'd be surprised how much fun you'll have
modeling your ideas with play dough, clay or other 3D materials and actually engaging with
your problem hands-on. You'll gain a completely different feel and perspective for it, and will
actually be able to look at the situation from different points of view. Metaphors are helpful
for this type of activity. You may want to keep a notepad nearby for those strikes of genius and
ideas that will hit you when you least expect it.


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