Us creative types, whether we’re in PR, marketing, advertising or social communications, are always on the hunt for insight and stimulation. I love nothing better than feeling that ‘eureka’ moment, when all the fuzz falls away from a client brief and clarity strikes me square in the face. The little buzz of excitement, the realisation that something good is brewing… the desperate need to get the idea down on paper or into Evernote before I forget it!
I wrote recently about how you can actually learn to tap into the right temporal lobe (your creative brain, where you experience insight) by changing what you’re doing and occupying your left, logical brain with simple tasks. But it occurred to me this week that another key to creative thinking is to try and unlearn what you know, to shed yourself of your preconceptions. I learned this from my 20 month old daughter. Take a look at the picture below – what would you call this item?
Chances are you’d call it a pet carrier or a cat basket or something similar. But my daughter Isobel calls it a ‘rabbit bucket’. (Actually, she calls it a ‘shabbits bucket’, as she can’t yet pronounce ‘rabbit’.) I know I’m biased, but I think this is sheer genius! From Izzy’s perspective, it’s something to do with our rabbits. And it’s something they go into, just like pebbles go into her play bucket. Would you ever have thought of a pet carrier as a rabbit bucket? Me neither, but that change of perspective is what we’re all searching for when we talk about lateral thinking. Imagine the creativity that could flow if you were able to harness the imagination of someone who has a limited vocabulary and experience of life on your team.
I’m of course not suggesting we all start employing two year old kids in our creative departments. But I AM suggesting that we try and learn from the way they think and let go of what we know in order to see things from a different viewpoint. And until I achieve that, Izzy’s coming to work with me; she’s got to start earning her keep sometime…
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