By Vanessa Stevens
I always thought that creativity was something that could only be obtained genetically. You either have it, or you don’t but thank goodness I have been wrong about that. It has actually been a source of insecurity for me while in college, majoring in visual communications. When taking a wide variety of classes that challenge you to be artistic and creative, I would compare my work to others and believe that they were naturally more talented and creative then I was because their work stood out more than mine. Luckily as we have dived more into learning about creativity, I have gained my own confidence in my creative ability because I now see creativity as an intriguing challenge to develop ideas or solutions in new ways rather than just a straightforward talent with a tangible outcome. There is a process in being creative and it can become a time-consuming challenge to conquer, but it is completely worth it and in the big picture, saves time. The more time we put into tackling a challenge creatively, the more ideas that will come out and the more unique the outcomes.
This is obvious in our latest challenge “Chair Presentation” where we were tasked with making a chair of 80% of the same thing, without boxes or cushions. It was obvious who went ahead and dedicated time to brainstorming and creative problem solving because they were the ones who had chairs that no one else thought of. It is not that the ideas that overlapped with others were not creative, but that we were willing to settle early in the process to complete the assignment. With the uniquely developed chairs, there was a clear thought process and decision making that lead them to their chair of Tupperware and cardboard. The ones who did not stop and were willing to adjust their plans, their ideas stood out and everyone was surprised with them. When it comes to brainstorming there is no reason to settle for the first three ideas that make sense right away when you can dissect, an at first absurd idea, and make it realistic. The out of this world ideas can be the beginning of ingenious products.
The way I have approached projects or task at work may have not changed drastically since the beginning of this class, but the outcomes or results have changed. I now allow myself to begin projects by having my own brainstorming session with absolutely no boundaries and bang out a list of crazy ideas, some that I would never use but they became important steppingstones that led me to the path I would eventually take. Even while brainstorming by myself, these ideas stimulate future work, sometimes. unrelated to the original task at hand. For example, when our class broke out into breakout groups, we brainstormed ideas on how to advertise these awful restraints. The solutions we came up with to improve the place later helped me think of ways to spin bad situations with my residents as a resident mentor and helped us find the silver lining in this crazy era.
I used our same creative process while working at Kandiid this year. I get to make new graphics and logos for the app and the turnover rate needs o be quick. So, using what I have learned to increase creativity, I set a timer for 5 - 10 minutes and brainstorm sketches of a design. I keep the same principals of sticky note brainstorming and do not stop to edit in that timeframe. The sketches honestly look horrendous on paper but there is just enough there for me to hop on Adobe Illustrator to start making progress on a design that is actually usable. Without brainstorming I would spend 20minutes making and deleting shapes before I get something that is even mildly presentable. After that I go back in and brainstorm with other designers on how the first draft can be improved.
One thing that I think is critical in creative process, is the ability to be flexible and not be “married” to an idea too soon. Brainstorming is a great way to get things started and pick your big picture end goal, but how you get to that end point is not a straight shot, it is fluid and unpredictable. When you sit down to start putting your ideas into action, you should not get in your own way by hoping for a straight shot process. As you start actually putting plans into actions you realize small details of things that need to change to reach your goal or that certain portions of your plans need to be completely scratched and redeveloped. It is critical to understand that is part of the creative process, and you should go in expecting things to change to get you the best possible results. If I never did the second round of brainstorming on how to improve a design, nothing put out would look like the million-dollar product we want.