Unlocking your inner creative

by Bob Martin |

Are your communications stuck in a bit of rut? Do you see your competitors or companies in other industries being more creative and wonder how you can do more? Creative Services Director at spottydog, Bob Martin, shares his advice on how you might be subconsciously limiting yourself and how to unlock your inner creative.

The majority of creative projects start with essential but very uncreative limitations. The ones we all know and hate – budget, logistics, timescales or, all-too-often, internal politics. As a communicator, there’s not normally a lot you can do to affect change on those but it’s the next decisions that you make which can really limit creativity.

It’s easy to jump straight into specifics. For example, you decide you need an A5 landscape flyer printed on 350gsm paper to raise awareness for a new internal campaign or you decide you need to interview board members in a 10 minute talking head video to highlight your sales offering.

Don’t limit yourself before you start. Be inquisitive. Challenge your decisions and ask why you’ve selected that medium or technique. Everyone has preferences and solutions they default to because it’s what they know, or they saw it used somewhere else. One-size does not fit all.

The best thing you can possibly do is to harness the power of your inner creative voice. It’s best described as a mix between a five-year-old child and entrepreneurs like Richard Branson or Elon Musk.

The five-year-old always kicks things off. They first ask “Why…?” which can be easily answered without thinking. But the second “Why?” starts to make you falter for a meaningful answer. The third, fourth and fifth “Why?” will usually finish you off. Suddenly, you realise that you’re not entirely sure why you made that decision in the first place. The creative runway is now cleared and ready for take-off.

“So why…” the inner creative voice continues as you brace yourself for another repeat question, “…why don’t we build a spaceship for this project?”

Being a grown-up professional and, therefore, a logical person you immediately respond with:

“Don’t be ridiculous! The rocket fuel only would cost millions, let alone the health and safety required to facilitate a project of that magnitude!”

You feel relieved to have shot down such a stupid idea immediately.

But the creative inner voice just stays quiet and waits. In the gloom of that awkward silence, a creative light starts to glow in your brain.

A spaceship doesn’t have to fly into space. It can be made from tin foil and cardboard boxes. It can be made from Lego (other interlocking building kits are available). It doesn’t even have to be real. You can simulate it using Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality or Computer-generated imagery. Or it can just be metaphor.

You’ve done it! Your inner creative has opened the gates and you are now ready to start making decisions which will shape the creative parts of the project.

The creative routes are limitless. After all, the aim of the game is to get your message across to your audience and for them to react. Creativity is the key to unlocking the full potential of your messages.

It’s not a coincidence that two of the most famous, and richest, entrepreneurs don’t limit themselves to just one thing – they are, in fact, actually building spaceships. Anything is possible, you just need to imagine it.