How can I improve my creativity in order to succeed for a career in Advertising?

Answer by Say Keng Lee:

I like to share my personal perspectives on the question.
After having spent more than a quarter of a century exploring creativity, I have in fact come to accept the notion that creativity is an innate skill.
That's to say, we are all born with it.
Just look back when we were kids.
To me, creativity has a lot to do with "seeing, but thinking differently".
Let me share this personal experiment of mine for more than two decades with adult professionals and school kids.
Using a chisel tip black marker, I often drew a dot on the white board or flip chart, and asked them what did they see.
Adults generally came up with one or two ideas, like a full stop, or a black dot, and then they ceased.
Interestingly, most kids saw differently, with seemingly pretty weird ideas:
beetle in sleep mode; cockroach's shit; black hole; cannon ball; UFO; bullet coming your way; ozone; aching tooth, mummy's nipple; Phua Chu Kang (Singapore's favourite TV comedian)'s mole, etc.
Why?
My answer: Adults didn't want to look stupid and/or feared ridicule from peers.
Actually, at a deeper level, it's the fact that we adults had invariably picked up a lot of mental blocks, cognitive biases and perceptual blind-spots, while growing up.
The founder of VISA Dee Hock is right to say:
"The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out."
Here's history:
Thousands of people had definitely seen the apple falling from the tree, but it was Sir Isaac Newton who saw it too, but had thought about it, differently of course.
The world thus acquired a slew of his famed gravitational laws.
The two young maverick Steves had a chance visit to the PARC Lab during the 70's. They both saw something on display that intrigued them. They left immediately to create a dent in the universe:
Apple Computer.
Likewise, Ray Kroc didn't create McDonald's. He was only a soda mixer salesman based in Chicago.
The original MacDonald brothers had already been running their own burger outlet and ice cream parlour in San Bernardino in CA, USA.
While visiting the outlet one day, accompanying a larger order of mixers, Ray Kroc saw something which fascinated him.
After much haggling with the MacDonalds, he bought over the outlet, and the rest was history.
Renaissance maestro Leonardo da Vinci made this exhortation more than five hundred years ago:
"… Develop your senses; especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
So, in a nut shell, to enhance our creativity, we just need to sharpen our perceptual sensitivity and sensory acumen.
Nevertheless, here are a few good tips:
– be acutely observant of your environment, by using all your senses;
– be curious and inquisitive;
– be open-minded to new and even radical possibilities;
– suspend judgement;
– make unlikely connections;
– ask questions, all kinds, especially open-ended ones, like "what if?", "why not?", "So what?", "What now?", etc.
– think like a child, but don't be childish, so to develop the beginner's mindset;
– learn to see things backwards, inside out, and upside down; inside the box as well as outside the box, plus no box at all;
– learn to see from atop; see ahead; see beyond; see behind; see sideways; see beneath; see behind; see from within; and see through, so as to develop multidirectional and multidevelopment viewpoints;
– hitchhike; copycat; piggyback; leapfrog on other peoples' ideas, as "Ideas Build on Ideas";
– you can make use of the simple but proven SCAMPER technique [it dates back to the 1950's], to expand your idea generation:
The name SCAMPER is actually an acronym for seven techniques:
– (S) substitute,
– (C) combine,
– (A) adapt,
– (M) modify,
– (P) put to another use,
– (E) eliminate and
– (R) reverse;
– likewise, you may want to explore the more elaborate but proven CPSI methodology of the US-based Creative Education Foundation, to expand your idea generation:
The CPS methodology involves a total of six stages:
i) Mess-finding (Objective Finding);
ii) Fact-finding;
iii) Problem-Finding;
iv) Idea-finding;
v) Solution finding (Idea evaluation);
vi) Acceptance-finding (Idea implementation);
I append herewith a few weblinks for you to explore their numerous variations:
– for the more adventurous, you can also take a look at the Synectics group brainstorming process, which also dates back to the 1950's:

How can I improve my creativity in order to succeed for a career in Advertising?

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