Have you ever had a creative block that was difficult to overcome? Ever find that your normal go-tos for stimulating inspiration just weren’t doing the trick? This article is the first in a series we’ll be continually unveiling that explores different approaches that can help spark that “Eureka!” moment that you’ve been searching for.
Making Sparks Fly
Recently, I came across a great video on the subject of “Where Good Ideas Come From,” by Steven Johnson. He explores a brilliant concept that promotes creativity and innovation: that evolving ideas often require collaboration with other evolving ideas in order to fully develop.
Creative block is a problem that many of us face when we have this fuzzy, almost-formulated concept that we’re trying to bring clarity and conception to. We can, however, overcome a creative block by exposing our almost-formulated concepts to others who can then collaborate and pitch in with their own almost-formulated concepts. What happens at this point is that one idea provides a missing perspective or connection to another idea, thus sparking an “Aha!” moment which then leads to a real breakthrough.
Now, this phenomenon is rather ordinary and common in any creative environment. At its most rudimentary level, sparking inspiration through collaboration is what you attempt to do when you browse through an “inspiration collective” website. In this case, you have a loose idea of a concept in your head; combing through inspiration collections allows you to collaborate with others’ ideas. Inevitably, this continued exercise of collaboration leads to you finding an idea that connects the final missing piece of your concept thus bringing clarity to what is now your fully matured idea.
Two To Tango
The beauty of connective collaboration is that it’s easy and accessible to anyone. You simply need to make a connection with someone else who might also be harboring their own “almost-there” idea.
Unfortunately, when working in our crafts we often isolate ourselves, hoping that focused individual thinking and perseverance will lead us to the elusive finish line. Instead, what frequently happens is that we experience burnout; we settle for “almost-there;” we put the project off for another time and hope that the Eureka moment will eventually come to us.
But why not be proactive about it? Why not try to find a catalyst for that Eureka phenomenon?
Bringing Your Ideas to Fruition
Sometimes, in order to bring your incubating ideas to full fruition, you need to explore their synergy with the other peoples’ ideas. In other cases, once you think your ideas have reached maturation, these ideas are driven even further forward through the inspiration of others. In either situation, you connect with other people to explore new perspectives, ideas, and approaches.
You’re not trying to connect with someone so that they can give you the final ingredient; instead, you’re trying to trigger a new perspective for your own idea to flourish from.
Whether you reach out and connect with a member of your professional community or a close friend, you will open doors that can potentially help your ideas grow. With the web and social networking being so integrated into our lives, we are living in the best period of time to take advantage of connective collaboration. So the next time you try creating that “Eureka!” moment, try connective collaboration as a catalyst to advance your ideas.
Ways to Collaborate
Here are a few suggestions for making connective collaboration happen:
- Talk to your fellow coworkers and bounce ideas off of them. Don’t expect to get the answers from them; instead get inspired from their input and then innovate your own ideas
- Visit communities that foster open discussion and promote personal growth. (i.e., Behance, Quora, Forrst, DesignersCouch)
- If you’re a freelancer or work alone, consider bringing fresh eyes into your project to get a different perspective. Go to design events, co-work in a creative space, chat up friends in the industry
- If you don’t want to reach out, try finding others who have. This is a sort of secondary level of connective collaboration but it could very well bridge that answer that you’re seeking so long as you empathize or relate in any way