Creativity isn’t easy.

The kind of creative thinking that drives truly innovative ideas requires time and space. We recommend that once a day you stop looking at your computer screen and spend at least 5 minutes letting the ideas flow. To help you do this here’s some ideas to be more creative:

Varn sweets

You should get the blood circulating. Whilst a bit of peace and quiet is always good for focus, it is not always the best for energy levels and stoking the sparks in your brain for creative ideas. Just get up and walk about, get a coffee – break up the silence, disrupt the dull. At Varn we have a pool table for those 15 minutes of breaking the day up and productivity rises after a game. We took it to extremes in the summer and had Nerf battle breaks! It works – loosens everyone up, gets the blood circulating and the energy rises – fun is well, more fun! It gives you freedom to be more creative. Google create a playground for grown-ups with volleyball courts and free beer and they seem to be doing alright.

Doodling lets your brain freefall through your pen. We are computer keyboard slaves today and letting your hand glide and draw without purpose stimulates your artistic side. Did you know you can also work out how someone is feeling from doodles? For instance - drawing pointy arrows or triangles indicates ambition or wanting to get something done. A sketchbook or doodle-pad just for random thoughts and scribbles is a great way to leak creativity onto a page. At Varn we realised long ago that many clients miss opportunities for press coverage because their stories get lost in the daily work. So we sent them doodle pads to jot down ideas for stories they come across in their company and ‘voila’ – we created press stories that would otherwise have

Offices can be notoriously negative environments – it just takes a few grumbles and groans and the whole team can be affected and drawn to the dark side! Be the one who breaks the mould, gets the positives going, tries to be better and do better. When you see people like this they are inspiring, you want to be around them and they lead. So go on – it’s too easy to see the negatives – follow mum’s advice – be positive and see how it draws people in! Don’t get frustrated with those who are angry and bad-mouthing as it will feed the ‘grumpy monster’ in them, listen to them but try to lead by example and get them out of their rut.

Yes – change can be frightening but disruption can be good! We get set in comfortable ways, methods and set patterns like robots in a factory and there is no room for inspiration. Try a different way of doing something – a meeting in the café rather than the boardroom, Skype rather than phone calls, try different desk formations – have a mufti day if suits are the norm. Also – try a different route to work or go somewhere you don’t normally go for lunch. Just go for a walk when you are bored! You need to stimulate your senses if you want your brain to reward you with ideas.

The most creative community of people on this planet are kids – hands down! They play to fuel their creativity – with toys and friends. Take their lead. Have some toys on your desk. Lego, executive desk toys like mini pool or a good old fashioned Rubix cube. Get your hands busy, kick-start your mind. Maybe get a video game console for a break-out room!This has been facilitated by many companies for their employees – it is not a rare or outlandish phenomenon. The other part of play – role playing, which many cringe at, can actually be a powerful tool for creativity. Remember when you were little and played imaginary games to understand what it was like? Games like making pretend food for pretend restaurants, fighting as part of an army with twigs for guns. Maybe this could be applied in creative situations? For instance – for understanding your client or customers. It might be a laugh too! Life is a game.

Creativity can often be fuelled by sharing and bouncing ideas around with other creative people. Either find a group of people – whether friends, a forum or staff in your office and get together periodically to vocalise your creative ideas to test them out – build them up and fully form them. Creative minds collaborating together can be an incredible force for good when it comes to company direction. Whilst anyone can have a great idea, a team will often improve on the concept and in doing so generate multiple alternatives.

Creativity can often be fuelled by sharing and bouncing ideas around with other creative people. Either find a group of people – whether friends, a forum or staff in your office and get together periodically to vocalise your creative ideas to test them out – build them up and fully form them. Creative minds collaborating together can be an incredible force for good when it comes to company direction. Whilst anyone can have a great idea, a team will often improve on the concept and in doing so generate multiple alternatives.

Sometimes your brain needs to see and feel what good creativity is. Read some good quality creative copy to get your head in the zone. A good book, a cracking story, the cauldron of pros that create levels of imagination, scintillating subplots and characters can absorb into your brain and become a template for creative processes to find their footing.

The theory of marginal gains is a methodology that made fame after an Olympic coach, namely David Brailsford, explained that’s how his cycling team won competitions. It is the theory that improving lots of small things by a small margin leads to big overall gains when combined. We at Varn try to apply this to everything and creativity is no exception. By improving every little thing, like the seat you sit in for comfort, the quality of the coffee, the time you work on a project – it will all lead to a better environment to be creative.

Make your office inspiring! Put up art, use innovative lighting, place beautiful plants and forge a studio feel that screams creativity. The more creative your surroundings, the more inspiring your décor, the more chance you’ll respond with creative thoughts.

Don’t stop thinking when you have a solution – look for a second, third and fourth right answer to the challenge. There may well be multiple solutions to choose from – the first idea is not necessarily the best one.

Hold team meetings in unfamiliar surroundings to prompt creative thoughts. For example, hold a meeting at a pavement café, by a canal or while walking around a museum. If the theme of the meeting can be linked to the place you are visiting – even better!

Use interesting food and drink to fuel your creative thinking. Unusual cheese, exotic fruits and occasionally – relax and share ideas over alcoholic drinks to unleash latent ideas.

Some really obscure creative ideas have come from long late night brainstorming sessions. Even what appear to be the best ideas need a reality check, it’s important to know when to stop generating ideas and when to make time for reflecting. Revisit concepts the next day with fresh, more objective eyes.

If the subject seems too dull and uninspiring to induce creativity, challenge a small group to come up with outlandish and unworkable ideas, the dafter the better. List these on a flip chart and after 10 minutes lay out the flip charts on the floor. Using Post It notes, ask participants to come up with realistic and workable ideas inspired by the outlandish ones and stick them over the top.

Ask ‘What if…?’ and ‘So what?’ More often.

Don’t copy competitors, try and imagine what a great organisation would do with your products or services. For example what if Apple made clothes, or Mercedes made ready meals?

1. Move it, move it!

You should get the blood circulating. Whilst a bit of peace and quiet is always good for focus, it is not always the best for energy levels and stoking the sparks in your brain for creative ideas. Just get up and walk about, get a coffee – break up the silence, disrupt the dull. At Varn we have a pool table for those 15 minutes of breaking the day up and productivity rises after a game. We took it to extremes in the summer and had Nerf battle breaks! It works – loosens everyone up, gets the blood circulating and the energy rises – fun is well, more fun! It gives you freedom to be more creative. Google create a playground for grown-ups with volleyball courts and free beer and they seem to be doing alright.

2. Doodle And Daydream

Doodling lets your brain freefall through your pen. We are computer keyboard slaves today and letting your hand glide and draw without purpose stimulates your artistic side. Did you know you can also work out how someone is feeling from doodles? For instance - drawing pointy arrows or triangles indicates ambition or wanting to get something done. A sketchbook or doodle-pad just for random thoughts and scribbles is a great way to leak creativity onto a page. At Varn we realised long ago that many clients miss opportunities for press coverage because their stories get lost in the daily work. So we sent them doodle pads to jot down ideas for stories they come across in their company and ‘voila’ – we created press stories that would otherwise have

3. Consciously Be Positive

Offices can be notoriously negative environments – it just takes a few grumbles and groans and the whole team can be affected and drawn to the dark side! Be the one who breaks the mould, gets the positives going, tries to be better and do better. When you see people like this they are inspiring, you want to be around them and they lead. So go on – it’s too easy to see the negatives – follow mum’s advice – be positive and see how it draws people in! Don’t get frustrated with those who are angry and bad-mouthing as it will feed the ‘grumpy monster’ in them, listen to them but try to lead by example and get them out of their rut.

4. Tear Up The Rule Book!

Yes – change can be frightening but disruption can be good! We get set in comfortable ways, methods and set patterns like robots in a factory and there is no room for inspiration. Try a different way of doing something – a meeting in the café rather than the boardroom, Skype rather than phone calls, try different desk formations – have a mufti day if suits are the norm. Also – try a different route to work or go somewhere you don’t normally go for lunch. Just go for a walk when you are bored! You need to stimulate your senses if you want your brain to reward you with ideas.

5. Play More

The most creative community of people on this planet are kids – hands down! They play to fuel their creativity – with toys and friends. Take their lead. Have some toys on your desk. Lego, executive desk toys like mini pool or a good old fashioned Rubix cube. Get your hands busy, kick-start your mind. Maybe get a video game console for a break-out room!This has been facilitated by many companies for their employees – it is not a rare or outlandish phenomenon. The other part of play – role playing, which many cringe at, can actually be a powerful tool for creativity. Remember when you were little and played imaginary games to understand what it was like? Games like making pretend food for pretend restaurants, fighting as part of an army with twigs for guns. Maybe this could be applied in creative situations? For instance – for understanding your client or customers. It might be a laugh too! Life is a game.

6. Be Part Of A Community

Creativity can often be fuelled by sharing and bouncing ideas around with other creative people. Either find a group of people – whether friends, a forum or staff in your office and get together periodically to vocalise your creative ideas to test them out – build them up and fully form them. Creative minds collaborating together can be an incredible force for good when it comes to company direction. Whilst anyone can have a great idea, a team will often improve on the concept and in doing so generate multiple alternatives.

7. Let Music
Guide You

Listen to inspirational music to get those creative juices bubbling. Studies have been made that show that listening to Mozart stimulates higher order cognitive functions. But it doesn’t have to be classical music to get you inspired. Music feeds us emotionally and emotions are where many of the best creative ideas flow

8. Read More

Sometimes your brain needs to see and feel what good creativity is. Read some good quality creative copy to get your head in the zone. A good book, a cracking story, the cauldron of pros that create levels of imagination, scintillating subplots and characters can absorb into your brain and become a template for creative processes to find their footing.

9. Marginal Gains

The theory of marginal gains is a methodology that made fame after an Olympic coach, namely David Brailsford, explained that’s how his cycling team won competitions. It is the theory that improving lots of small things by a small margin leads to big overall gains when combined. We at Varn try to apply this to everything and creativity is no exception. By improving every little thing, like the seat you sit in for comfort, the quality of the coffee, the time you work on a project – it will all lead to a better environment to be creative.

10. Live And Breathe Creativity

Make your office inspiring! Put up art, use innovative lighting, place beautiful plants and forge a studio feel that screams creativity. The more creative your surroundings, the more inspiring your décor, the more chance you’ll respond with creative thoughts.

11. Keep The Brain Ticking Over

Don’t stop thinking when you have a solution – look for a second, third and fourth right answer to the challenge. There may well be multiple solutions to choose from – the first idea is not necessarily the best one.

12. A Change
Of Scene

Hold team meetings in unfamiliar surroundings to prompt creative thoughts. For example, hold a meeting at a pavement café, by a canal or while walking around a museum. If the theme of the meeting can be linked to the place you are visiting – even better!

13. Food For Thought

Use interesting food and drink to fuel your creative thinking. Unusual cheese, exotic fruits and occasionally – relax and share ideas over alcoholic drinks to unleash latent ideas.

14. Sleep On It

Some really obscure creative ideas have come from long late night brainstorming sessions.  Even what appear to be the best ideas need a reality check, it’s important to know when to stop generating ideas and when to make time for reflecting. Revisit concepts the next day with fresh, more objective eyes.

15. Go Nuts!

If the subject seems too dull and uninspiring to induce creativity, challenge a small group to come up with outlandish and unworkable ideas, the dafter the better.  List these on a flip chart and after 10 minutes lay out the flip charts on the floor.  Using Post It notes, ask participants to come up with realistic and workable ideas inspired by the outlandish ones and stick them over the top.

16. Challenge Assumptions

Ask ‘What if…?’ and ‘So what?’ More often.

17. Imitate Others

Don’t copy competitors, try and imagine what a great organisation would do with your products or services.  For example what if Apple made clothes, or Mercedes made ready meals?