Free creativity tools

Here are some simple free creativity tools to help you with your next creativity session. Two creativity tools to get prepared (essential, see our strategy training) and 5 tools to help you generate ideas. There are also lots of other free creativity tools in our blog with instructions how to use them include a user empathy map.

Free creativity tool – number 1 –  Be prepared!

One of the first steps in problem solving is getting prepared and understanding as much as you can about the problem. As Abraham Lincoln said:

“If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend the first four sharpening the saw.”

Before you think about shouting “brainstorm room 1 in five minutes” you need to be clear what it is you’re trying to do. Ask yourself:

  • What assumptions am I making? Ask everyone in the room what assumptions they are making.
  • Do I have the right information? Enough? Too much? What’s important?
  • What is ‘signal’ and what is ‘noise’?
  • Can you identify one central question? If it was life or death what do you need to do?
  • Try summarising with a Twitter brief – articulate your problem in 140 characters.
  • If you had to summarise your problem in one sentence what is it?
  • Explain it to your nan. Can you simplify it?

Free creativity tool – number 2 – Kipling questions

I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew). Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who.” Rudyard Kipling

Use the so-called Kipling questions (after his poem) to help analyse the situation:

  • What is the problem?
  • Why is it a problem?
  • When is it a problem?
  • How is it a problem?
  • Where is it a problem?
  • Who is it a problem for?

This should give you a really clear problem statement from which to start your creative process. Can you see the problem from a different perspective?

Free creativity tool – number 3 – I Need An Idea Now! Creatives wanted dead or alive!

Many creativity tools and techniques involve substitutions. Take on a different role & get a WHOLE new perspective. Ask yourself: What would Obama, Kermit, Justin Bieber, Mother Theresa or Lady GaGa do? Make them your Creative Director for the day. For an alternative perspective think about what would:

  • A scientist do?
  • A bratty 6 year old child do? A risk-taking entrepreneur do?
  • A politician do?
  • An explorer do?
  • A judge?
  • A private eye?

There’s a great article in Fast Company on the role of a Creative Director here. 

Free creativity tool – number 4 – Random stimuli. Use this technique when you need to inject a bit of energy and fun into a session

“Creativity is just connecting things.” Steve Jobs

Use a variety of random stimuli to access a different part of the brain and create or explore random connections to arrive at fresh thinking. Have a variety of items. Either let people take an item randomly or have a selection of items for people to make their own connections. How is this item like our problem? What thoughts, feelings or ideas does this item give you? Explore issues metaphorically to enable people to gain insight into the attributes of a particular issue.

Free tool and template – visual stimuli – an adaptation of random stimuli

Use visuals and your unconscious mind to generate novel ideas. Download the free template here. Using Visual Stimulus For Creative Ideas

Free creativity tool – number 5 – Take a Creative Safari – a way to incorporate the random into everyday ideas. Walking has been proven to improve creativity.

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Contact Lucy if you’re interested in joining our clients including Sky Media, Pret a Manger and O2 who’ve all taken our creativity courses.

Check out our blog for some of our other favourite free creativity tools including, and the trendwatching canvas.

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