Sizzling Ideas: Finding Your Creative Outlets

Photo credit: lorraine santana

My best friends are those that facilitate (and tolerate) my constant brainstorming. After one such session of exchanging ideas in rapid-fire succession, my friend and business partner sent me a document entitled “Suzette’s Sizzling Ideas” so that we could continue the discussion in digital format. That shared document always helped me visualize our creative thinking as a sizzling skillet of smokin’ hot fajitas – grilled up to perfection. You can see it too, right?

It’s probably natural that we refer to our creative processes as “sizzling,” “hot” and “smoking,” just as we think of that “a-ha moment” when a flash of genius emerges and the light bulb goes on in our minds. And that ability to serve up some creative thinking is in demand more than ever. A recent interview with the CEO of a global law firm noted that creativity is the most important characteristic he looks for when hiring people. He also says that creativity is what distinguishes leaders from managers. And where did he learn this? From his mom, of course: “She taught me early on the difference between management and leadership, which is about creating the circumstances for creativity. The people who become leaders are not just creative themselves, but they create circumstances for others to be creative.”

Thinkers of all kinds have been obsessed with creativity. Scientists have highlighted the parts of the brain that are active and engaged when creative thoughts are produced. Others have promoted methods for tapping your creative self, which include engaging in physical activity. Personally, I find I cannot always predict when creative thoughts will emerge, so I am sure to keep various forms of recording my thoughts at easy disposal at all times – and I generally have multiple running lists of ideas on paper, in my phone, and on my computer. However, I also turn to electronic sources of inspiration from time to time. Whether it’s music (John Mayer often seems to be my creative muse), websites or TED talks, I am in constant search of creative inspiration. That way my sizzling skillet of ideas never fully stops simmering!

To discover some sizzling ideas of your own, check out these creative resources.

  1. Life Development – a website to help creative thinkers develop businesses.

  2. 99u – for all things creative.

  3. Why Not? – a website for exchanging ideas and solving problems large and small.

  4. Creative Boom – for daily creative inspiration on the web.

  5. Emergent by Design – a hub of creative and inspirational videos, websites and commentary.

  6. TED Talks on the Creative Spark.

  7. TED Talks on Where Ideas Come From.

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