Introducing randomness is a way to get out of a creative rut and expand into new and novel ideas. It’s human nature to lock onto patterns & routine, but adding random plot twists or unexpected inspiration to your workflow breaks those cycles. Here are a few ways to get started.
There’s no need to overcomplicate something that’s supposed to be engaging and fun. When it comes to quick decisions like where to eat lunch, or what iteration of your new design component to take to the next step, leave the decision up to chance. Whether that means using a traditional coin flip, a pair of dice or a random number generator from Siri or Alexa, this small dose of randomness will help you decide. If the sheer thought of getting it wrong creates a sense of panic, give yourself permission to disagree. If the random generator chooses something you’re not sold on, you’ll instinctively feel what your gut is telling you to do and can pivot in a better direction with new-found certainty. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want is just as helpful as affirmation.
A perfect time to introduce randomness is during a brainstorming session. Particularly if you’re thinking about how to define a brand. Try opening a dictionary (yes, an actual book!) and browse for words that spark interest and ideas. This random exploration will allow you to get the feel for the right letter, sound, or type of word through trial and error that an online dictionary doesn’t as readily provide.
One of the hardest things about building a brand is finally settling on the perfect name. Get the juices flowing by using a name generator. I love band name generators like this one as a starting point. If nothing else, it will make you laugh.
But, what if you’re looking for something a little more complex than a two-word name for a new product? Embracing the organic nature of storytelling might be a way to go. Try out some of these card decks to push you into a creative thinking brainspace and find new concepts, narrative plot twists or voice inspirations.
Oblique Strategies, originally created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975, is a way to work yourself out of writer's block. The prompts include random suggestions like, “Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place,” and “Honour thy error as a hidden intention.” The suggestions offer strategic advice from an objective, non-judgemental place.
Conversation cards are also a great tool to inspire deeper connections among a team, or as a less traditional icebreaker for a creative team. Try the set, We’re Not Really Strangers. The cards are sorted into three categories with varying degrees of vulnerability required to answer.
Oracles cards are a woo woo way to find inspiration with a bit of randomness thrown in. I love the Supra oracle deck inspired by Jungian psychology as a way to dig deep into my artistic intentions. But, if you want something on the lighter side, you can find oracle decks inspired by musicians, artists, plants, food and just about anything else to add a fun jumping-off point for team discussion or solo strategizing.
Allowing music to inspire creativity is something we often do to both set the mood and gain momentum. Why not create a playlist especially for this purpose and then shuffle it to see what comes up? Or ask your smart device to play music based on a theme? You might be surprised what you get!
We’re always trying to find new and exciting ways to inspire and spark creativity. And, if we aren’t - we wish we were. Randomness certainly isn’t a new idea, but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder that it’s easier to get outside your own head than you think it is. If you have an idea to add to our list, contact me! I want to hear it. email@example.com