It can be tempting to play it safe when trying to come up with new product ideas or features. After all, with real deadlines looming, you want to save time on something that will work out.
The problem is, playing it safe can often lead to unimaginative ideas. And while those may be fine in a pinch, they will not help you stand out from the competition in the long run.
Instead, you need to learn to embrace your inner weirdo.
What do we mean by that?
Simply put, being weird means thinking outside the box. It means looking at things from a different perspective and being willing to experiment with new ideas, even if they seem a little crazy at first.
Now, you should refrain from pitching your team wacky product names or trying to force them to use your new idea for the company Christmas party. But you can start thinking about ways to be more creative in your approach to work.
Think outside the box
Trying something new can help you see things differently and think outside the box. When you're stuck in a rut, it's easy to get tunnel vision and only see things one way. But by trying something new, you can open yourself up to new possibilities and ways of thinking. Sometimes, even little things can make all the difference.
Putting yourself out there and sharing your creativity and passions are important, but paying attention to the things that make you feel like your mind is open and your spirit is alive. Even if you only share a brief story about an experience or a comment on an article you read, those little things can help you step back and look at things from a new perspective.
Start by expressing your thoughts, interests, and values. Share ideas and experiences and discuss your frustrations and how you might improve something. Whatever you do, keep it positive and explain how your perspective can help make things better. Remember that you have another view, and perspective-seeing brings out the best in people.
Figure out your own "why." At the end of the day, it's crucial to know why you're doing something. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but it's even more critical to spend time reflecting and figuring out what you're striving for. Keep your goals and motivations in mind, consider why you want to do the things you do, and keep going.
Take a risks
Taking risks is an essential part of creativity—after all, how will you come up with something new if you're unwilling to take a few risks? Trying the weirdest thing first can help you learn to embrace risk-taking and see failure as an opportunity for growth instead of something to be avoided at all costs.
Design is another great area of innovation that can readily be embraced as risk-taking. You'll be better off if you're willing to throw your own risk in the mix. You can encourage your team to take a chance by writing about your idea for a paragraph or two in plain language. What's a bit of risk you can agree to abide by, such as writing a paragraph about a design without any details in advance or drawing in your ideas in a section before you've tried them out, or taking the risk of redesigning a company blog into an entirely different structure? The point is to take chances to better design. Designing isn't about wasting time trying to figure out how to design something perfect—it's about trying to improve it.
Success comes from a combination of taking risks and learning from failures. By trying the weirdest thing first, you can learn to take risks and see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Pushing boundaries is what allows us to grow as designers. When we're comfortable, it's easy to stay within our comfort zones and never really challenge ourselves. But by trying something new, we can learn to push our boundaries and expand our skill sets.
The way to do this is to experiment with design solutions and the scenarios we might run into. This gives us a chance to test new ideas that we might otherwise not be able to find time for or need more confidence to tackle.
Doing this often takes up more time than you'd like, and it might feel uncomfortable initially. Still, as you learn more about design and become more comfortable, you'll find that designing more complex scenarios opens up new opportunities for design techniques and skills.
We often find ourselves more creatively inspired when doing something different. When everything is familiar, it's easy for our brains to go through the motions without really engaging or sparking any creativity. But when we try something new, it jolts our brains into action and helps us see things in a new light.
So go for something different and find an experience that lights up your creativity. Find something that allows you to keep the flame burning and keep the designed burning. Keep the design alive.
Next time you feel stuck, be bold, think outside the box, and try something weird. It might be the best way to break out of your creative rut and develop something truly inventive. By stepping outside your comfort zone, you can open yourself up to new possibilities and ways of thinking to help spark creativity and bring fresh ideas to life. And even if it doesn't work out in the end, you'll still have learned something valuable from experience.
What matters most is that you keep trying new things and expanding your skill set. Be willing to take risks, and don't be afraid to fail. And most importantly, remember to have fun with it. The more fun you have, the more likely you will come up with something genuinely innovative.
A design narrative is a story you want your product or service to tell. It's the "why" behind your design.
Dreams are a big part of who we are. They inspire us to be better and to do more.