We always say that GirlCrew Pro is for anyone who is looking to advance their career or take the next step. Whether you’re eyeing up a promotion, or want to start your own business it’s a place for women to come together to talk, share and get inspired. But it’s so much more than this.
Recently we hit GirlCrew Pro 9 – and what a journey it has been. Some things stay the same, an incredible panel, a fantastic audience, a space filled with women sharing information, making business connections and building networks. Others always change. Each event follows the same basic format, but each leaves a different imprint on you. At GirlCrew Pro 1, which feels like a lifetime ago now, we saw a spark of magic. The honesty coming from the panel, the feeling of support in the room was unrivalled by others events I’ve attended. And number 9 was no different. But this time what jumped out was creativity.
The main lesson we learned is that everyone is creative – yes, even you. But creativity is like a muscle. You have train it, exercise it. And it will grow. Without creativity there is no innovation. You don’t have to be a CEO of a tech giant to be thinking about this concept. How you approach and solve problems is core to everyone’s life. Maybe you’re working on a brief or proposal at work. Perhaps you’re managing clients, or campaigns. Or you’re dealing with customer queries. These might not seem linked, but all require problem solving which, you guessed it, requires creativity. Or what if you’re envisioning your life, setting our dreams and goals. This type of thinking is also creative. To paraphrase Roisin Lyons, Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at DCU, creativity is more than music and art at school, we need to move beyond this thinking. It’s time for all of us to develop this skillset – but how?
Five Exercises To Unlock Your Creativity
Similar to a brainstorm, but slightly different mind maps are all about thinking divergently. Jot down the core problem in the middle of a page. Then using a series of boxes and arrows simply map out how you’ll tackle it. Include any challenges that must be overcome. Resources you might need – time, money, other people, physical/digital items. Once you’re map is complete – look for patterns and the most logical solutions. It’s a great way to have a brain dump, and find the gems of great ideas. Going back over your own thought process helps the creativity process.
2) Finish the Image
Introduced by Ellis Paul in the sixties, the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is one of the simplest. Have a friend draw a very basic image on page. This could be a line ending in a squiggle, or V, or anything but it has to be basic and abstract. Take ten mins to finish the picture from their initial start. This can also be done in a group with everyone describing their pictures at the end.
3) Create Connections
This is best done in a group, but is a great way to get you thinking. Bring together a selection of random objects, or write them down in a list. Then go through the objects and try to find connections between two objects selected at random. This could have you trying to find connections between a plug and an elephant, or a stuffed toy and a shoe but the idea is to think outside the box to link the items.
4) Build It
Sometimes getting down and dirty is what you need. Ask yourself, when was the last time you cracked out the scissors and glue to build something. Gather materials from around the house, or head out to buy some and challenge yourself to build something you actually need. Perhaps it’s something small like a desk organiser, or maybe it’s adding decoration to your furniture getting tactile with materials is a great way to channel your creativity.
5) Sleep On It
Potentially one of the easiest, and maybe also the best as it involves sleep, but jot down a problem you’re trying to solve before bed in a notebook. Leave said notebook by your bed over night and let your subconscious try to tackle it. In the morning, open the notebook and write down any solutions that come to mind. It might sound bizarre but while we sleep our brain is processing a lot of information and piecing it all together, the perfect time for ideas to spark without self-doubt creeping in.
Want to check out some more? These Ted talks on creativity will help get you inspired. And if you’ve a favourite tip or trick let us know in the comments. It’s time to shake off what we learned in school and unleash our imaginations.