Many people and philosophers questioned whether the concept of creativity is innate or learned, our article here is not argumentative, it will start by stating facts and research leading you towards solutions on how to boost your creativity.
‘Outside the box’ concept explanation
In her book ‘Harness Your Creativity’, Nadia Tabbara explains the origin of ‘outside the box’ concept:
J.P. Guilford, an American psychologist who studied human intelligence, invented an experiment to test creative thinking. He created nine dots shaped as a box.
You can use up to four straight lines to connect all the dots and you cannot pick your pen up from the paper! Now, give it a try before heading to the solution below.
So, most people will try to solve it by drawing all the lines inside of the box, but to solve the problem, you have to bring the lines outside of the box. Here are the only two solutions:
Hence we have been applying this ‘outside the box’ metaphor everywhere in our life, in marketing, management, business planning … And this expression means to explore ideas in a different/unusual way of thinking that are not limited by rules and controlled by tradition.
Just because you didn't solve it right, doesn’t mean you are less creative. In fact, many people didn't (and I am one of them by the way)!
Years later, the research teams made of Clarke Burnham with Kenneth Davis, and Joseph alba with Robert Weisberg conducted an experiment that proved that this concept negated the process of problem-solving and idea building.
Robert Weisberg concluded that proper training, such as simpler puzzles that gradually get harder, was the only thing that resulted in CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!
Therefore, creativity is not a magical power or divinely ordained entity. Creativity is problem solving with relevance. It is not directly attached to artistry as well. It is the problem that outlines creativity not the art itself.
Improve your creativity
In this section, I will propose hands on exercises you can start practicing right away.
Ready for the real work?
Step 1: Start by this simple exercise: grab your pen and your notebook or any paper you can get a hold of. Put a 2-minute timer and don’t think of anything, just whatever words come to mind. You can write words not full sentences. Let your pen flow. Practice this once or twice a day for 3 to 5 days and move to step 2. You’ll notice at the end that you want to write more and to talk about a specific subject.
Step 2: This time start putting sentences together. Put a 3-minute timer and pick a subject from the following list to write about:
a) Your favorite thing to do, why, how and when?
b) Describe your room, how you can make it better, and why do you like/not like it?
c) You may talk about your day, what can you do to make it better? Did you face any challenges?
Let your pen flow, if you’re being stuck just go back to step 1 .
And this is how you build step by step your ability to write everyday emails, come up with new blogs, create more content …
2- Puzzles, Sudoku, Tetris … and the list goes on! Pick something you like from the mentioned games and start with simple levels and gradually start solving harder levels. Remember the key here is to build your creative problem solving.
3- Take screenshots of your favorite visuals/interiors/mood boards while scrolling on Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Let’s not lie here, I know you spent a lot of time on social media platforms; it’s okay let’s make the best out of it! This is a great way to be inspired and explore new visuals. Go back to your screenshots from time to time and spend at least 10 seconds on each Image!
4- Go Out!
Go for a walk in nature or go for a short hike. Take 5 minute breaks while walking to enjoy the beautiful sceneries. You’ll notice how nature create hidden shapes for you to explore.
Go to museums (especially modern and contemporary ones) and art galleries. You don’t have to be an art freak or very knowledgeable about history and ancient ruins. Just go, sit and watch. There is a reason why we have benches at art galleries. When you immerse yourself in experiences and installations, you’ll end up thinking about random stuff and having a conversation with yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of your brain, it is just picking up a creative mess and storing it for later on! Everything can be used for problem solving!
After all, creativity can be learned. It is a muscle that needs exercises and repetitive training. You, yes you reading this, you are a creative human being. Keep on practicing and growing your creative abilities, we always need new solutions to problems we’re facing!