So you need to write a workshop, come up with a company party theme or get over writer's block on your new play. I am going to share with you my personal creativity cocktail that works for me every time. If I asked you quickly to name a flower and a color, most of you would say "rose" and "red". Believe me, I have proven this in over 20 creativity workshops throughout my training career. Why do we immediately go to those answers? They are short and sweet and they solve the presented problem quickly. But, do they solve the problem in the most creative way? What if I were to give you a sheet of paper and ask you to name 10 flowers and colors? 20? 50? 100? Now you would have to be creative - dig into your memory and subconscious to "come up with every flower and color you have ever known", as one workshop participant recently complained to me. You may even push the creativity envelope and start making up names for flowers and colors. But among your colors and flowers would be a color or flower that no one else had come up with - and that is what we are looking for in creativity.
When presented with a problem or challenge, sit down with a sheet of paper and make yourself come up with 20 solutions. 50? You may very well come back and select the first choice, but you will choose it from among many, instead of just leaping at the first choice to be done with it. Use pictures out of the newspaper of magazines to suggest ideas. Find a person in the source material and ask yourself, "If I were that person, how would I solve this problem?". So the first two ingredients for the creativity cocktail are a requirement to have some sort of visual stimulation and a requirement to come up with multiple ideas. You decide how many, but I usually go with 22, since my source material is usually the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck.
Now let's add the final ingredient to the mix - fatigue. Brainstorm on your project late into the night. As you get more tired, your inner critic and editor are less likely to say, "That is a stupid idea". Your brain is more likely to make unfamiliar connections as it gets more fatigued. Definitely write everything down during one of these late night sessions, since memory is hindered by the fatigued state, as well.
So get that sheet of paper, grab some magazines, brew that pot of coffee and create something unique and wonderful.