masma77193, Man who closes his eyes

3 smart tricks to think creatively
Sometimes when choosing images for a text, it's impossible to be inventive and think outside the box. It becomes completely blank and all the ideas you come up with feel so predictable and boring. 

What can I do to be more creative and inventive? Liza Rudolfsson shares smart techniques to help us create new ideas.
Porträtt Liza Rudolsson, foto: Caroline Olby
About Liza Rudolfsson
Liza Rudolfsson is the co-founder of Make Progress and has 30 years of experience in helping businesses to develop. She also runs digital development training courses and knows a lot about using creativity as a tool.

Liza, why is it so hard to think new?
The boring answer is that it's biological. The brain is built to reuse old ideas to save time and energy. When you try to come up with ideas and it goes blank - that's the brain trying to get you to ignore options. The more knowledgeable you are in a field, the harder it is to think in new ways because you will have a lot of experience, i.e. you already know "how it is".

What you need to do then is trick your brain. And that's exactly what creative techniques are all about!
What's the biggest mistake we make?
It's evaluating the ideas as you come up with them. Instead of having opinions about them right away, you need to collect really many ideas first. Don't think about whether it's a good idea or not, but try to put up with being a bit bad and unsmart for a while and pour on the ideas. Then you can break the usual train of thought and come up with something new.

Set a target for how many ideas you need to come up with before you can evaluate them. For example, it could be a minimum of 10 or a minimum of 30 ideas. That way you'll keep working instead of getting stuck on the first one you came up with. Because the first idea is rarely the best one. It is certainly more conventional than the tenth idea. If you aim to come up with 30 different ideas, your tolerance for bad ideas will increase - and if you can be a bit bad, it will also be easier to trick your brain into thinking in new ways.

Three clever ways to think differently
scandinav_9rlk, Northern Lights

1. Think the other way round!
Imagine you're about to post a news item on your website about holidays. You need a picture. The first thing you think of when illustrating holidays is a hammock or maybe feet on a beach.

Now your challenge is to think the other way around instead. What could it be? Maybe the line at airport security? Or something else entirely? Gather lots of ideas that are the opposite of your first thought. The benefit of this is that you'll end up somewhere completely different from the first thing you thought of.
2. Split the challenge
Think about whether there are any details of the holiday theme that you can focus on. What might they be? For example, the camera, the passport, the suitcase, planning for a trip... Collect many details about the holiday and then dwell on one detail at a time. From the detail of the camera, you might think of someone going through the photos from their holiday and so on...

As usual, collect many ideas first and then evaluate. Can you take the ideas further? Maybe you can combine them?
3. What would he or she have done?
Think of a person you don't like. What are this person's opinions? What advice would that person give you based on their opinions and characteristics?

For example, say you are not fond of Donald Trump... What does he like? He seems to like things that are wavy and gold. He also likes to be seen and to show off.

Try taking his advice seriously and going against your own beliefs. Can you find any benefits to Trump's advice? What would be the benefit of a really wacky image? Think about it and you'll trick your brain into thinking differently. Maybe it's possible to twist Trump's advice with a twist? You'll probably end up a bit away from the advice you were first given, but still far from the idea of a plain picture of a hammock that your brain first came up with.

sca22663, Sunrise over lake
Maskot Bildbyrå (masma77193), Caroline Olby, Jörgen Wiklund (scandinav_9rlk) and Gert Olsson (sca22663)