"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." Carl Sagan

by Wolf and Whistle

Creativity is the mother of all inventions, from small day to day problems that suddenly someone thinks how to solve, to life changing innovations, to storytelling narratives and painting.

People often think people are born creative or not. To some extent some people may be more pre-disposed to some types of thinking but creative thinking is also a skill. This means it is something that can be learnt and needs to be practised to be maintained like any other skill.

Children have so much imagination that we often loose as adults. Really creative people never lose touch with their imagination.

Here are two of our favourite techniques if you want to embrace more creative thinking patterns :

‘What if’

The idea here is you find imaginative and creative answers by asking fantasy questions. Initially this seems absurd. The questions are quite absurd but the aim is to make you think about different things. By the element of fantasy you stray from the pragmatic and obvious. This can help your thinking take flight become more free and imaginative like a little pink hummingbird.

You never know where it might lead you and what you might invent by playing these games and at the very least you’ll be amused.

Here are some questions to get you going from the book ‘Tinker Toys’ by Michael Michalko:

1) What if every 5 years everyone experienced a natural sex change, so that you lived in cycles of 5 years male and 5 years female?’

2) What if trees suddenly started to produce petroleum in great quantities?’

3) What if you could eat clouds for breakfast?

Free-Association Technique

The first thing here is not to think about the end point. This is the type of creative thinking that is invaluable in fields such as design but can also be used to great effect for creative writing and storytelling amongst other things.

With this you pick a starting point, say ‘tiles’ and you’re going to design a print and a dress.  It only works if you don’t already know what you want your dress to look like. It will be far more creative and unusual if you don’t know this and let your mind flow through many ideas.

You might start off looking at tiles from Morocco; this could lead you onto the patterns on fabrics in the Ottoman Empire and the rise and fall of civilisations. From here your thoughts might journey into ideas of extinction or protectionism. Make notes, draw and doodle as you make this journey. You’ll find images will form and shapes and patterns and new ideas and more questions. After all this research you’ll find new ideas on which to craft your designs far from the original tile that you started the journey with.