Johan Broddfelt
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How to be creative

Some days ago I got a question that for some reason brought back two of my old friends from my childhood. Clever and Crazy (Swedish: Kloker och Toker). The question was how you, in your aim to become an entrepreneur, find good ideas for new ventures. The reason why my old friends returned from 1988 was because they are part of the answer to that question.

Combine disciplines

The answer is that you are a creative being, you just need to select a problem you want to solve and let your creative mind do what it does best. At least that is how I do it, but more on that later. I remember that I answered something about combining different ideas from different fields and the more areas you are familiar with the more ideas you can combine into new solutions and eventually you will find the optimal one. It may take days weeks or years depending on the problem and how much time you spend on it. But eventually you will most likely find a solution.

The important thing to realize is that you should not try to find the best solution on the first attempt. Because then you will only be disappointed and eventually stop trying. The goal you should set instead is to create several solutions every day, even though you know that they will fail. Why? You might ask. Because every time you fail is an opportunity to learn something.

Clever and Crazy

The lesson from my friends: Clever always picks the most obvious answer, the boring solution that does not lead to any innovation. But he is useful because you quickly get a solution that sort of solves the problem. It is the shortcut. The "I'll google it" solution if I may. Crazy on the other hand does not even see the obvious solution right in front of him. So, he starts to ask the strangest questions. Some of them, completely unrelated to the problem and he always end up in strange places in weird situations. But after a while he starts to ask more and more relevant questions. But now with a large bag pack of explored options that has narrowed down the solution space to a few options that are completely unique. And that is how you end up with new innovative creative solutions. But even Crazy benefits from having Clever around along the trip, to help him to move along.


Now back to me. I do feel that these to guys live somewhere in my sub conscious. Because I always want to ask at least a few completely nonsense questions, just to feel that I have looked at the problem from at least a few different angles before I more on. And if the problem is complicated with many variables that interact, I almost always allow my mind to do the heavy lifting. The best way to solve complicated problems, in my experience is to attack the problem from three to five different angles, never less than three. Then I go to bed and sleep on it, if it is really complicated, I might need more than one night. But I focus my mind on other things for a while. Then the next time I return to the problem at hand I usually have figured out a solution that I can move forward with. In essence what I do is that I let my brain try a couple of ideas, good and bad and then eliminate the ideas that does not work and see what ideas I have left best fit the problem.

Clear your mind

Today there is another tip that I want to highlight if you want to be more creative. That is to let yourself be bored for a long period of time. Meditate, remove all distractions like phones and computers. Let your thoughts wonder and observe what you are thinking about. Sometimes it is a good idea to write down your thoughts on a piece of paper, so that your mind can let them go. Then you will get more brainpower to figure out new things. If you have not done this before the list can get quite long and you might have to sit down multiple times before you find your self with a quiet mind. But it is a really good feeling to clear your mind from time to time.

Have a nice a quiet day =)

- Creative, innovation

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