An African Bushman, unaware of white culture, discovers an empty Coca Cola bottle in the Kalahari Desert. The bushman closely examines this mystical object (casually dropped by a passing pilot), wondering what it is good for. He then tries blowing into it, and is very pleased to learn that it makes a noise. In this creativity exercise you encourage your students to become Bushmen. I mean it. You need to collect 5 to 10 props. You display a prop to your students and ask them to find a new use for it. This exercise encourages creativity since it forces the thinking process to erase or ignore what is known and come up with fresh ways of looking at something familiar.
Use these exercises from creativity guru Robin Landa for a variety of projects—logos, book jackets, posters, brochures. Let them inspire you to try other things.
This exercise can be practiced in a group or individually. Routine thinking is good for every day tasks, since you perform the task without employing your mind and wasting energy on the thinking process. For example, if you take the same route to work every day, you soon drive on auto-pilot. If, however, you have a task that requires you take a different route, then you have to concentrate and be aware of the left and right turns you make. If your thoughts drift, you will find yourself going unintentionally in the regular route. If you wish to exercise creativity in solving problems, you have to stay clear of routine thinking. This can be achieved by forcing the mind to find new routes. Instructions: make a list of words and write each word on a card. For each word instruct the students to come up with 2 related words and write these down on separate cards as well. You now have groups of three words each. And now for the creative part: randomly pick two unassociated words and instruct your students to come up with an association between the two seemingly unrelated words. This will force their thinking process to form an unfamiliar route, a connection between two dots that were unconnected until now. Forcing our mind to find new trails that connect A and B is exactly what enhances creativity. Along the same lines, you can try these variation: make a basic outline map of the United States without state names. Instead of state names, write down names of world countries. For example, instead of Texas write Canada, instead of California write France. And so on. Now ask your students to find associations between the state and the country. Remember that we are not after any correct answer. We are exercising this in order to create new roads. So don’t test your students’ knowledge. Encourage them to come up with any association they can think of. It can relate to culture, economy, language, but it can also relate to the spelling of the names or to their pronunciation. Be open.
First and foremost: you have to practice what you preach, you have to walk the talk, or in other words, if you want to encourage someone’s creativity, be creative! Show them. Don’t tell them. Be a role model for exercising creativity and they will follow.