The Creative Toolkit: 6 Techniques to Spark Original Ideas | Esteban Gast | Skillshare

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The Creative Toolkit: 6 Techniques to Spark Original Ideas

teacher avatar Esteban Gast, Writer, Host, and Speaker

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Defining Creativity


    • 4.

      Lateral Thinking


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Lotus Blossom


    • 7.

      Reframing, Bad Questions, and Constraints


    • 8.

      Space, Time, and Habits


    • 9.

      Key Takeaways


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About This Class

If you want to come up with more original ideas, explore your creative process, and learn how to use tangible tools to expand your creative potential, this class is for you! 

In this class, teacher, author, and comedian Esteban Gast breaks down the science of creativity and shares how the right systems and processes can create better ideas. 

Esteban gets it, he’s sat at his desk and waited for good ideas to come to him. He’s been jealous of other people’s ideas wondering why the muse didn’t visit him. So, in this course, there is no muse musings. It’s focused on building a toolkit of creativity that you can use regardless of your creative medium whether it be visual art, writing, music, entrepreneurship and beyond.

The creative toolkit that you’ll learn includes following techniques:

  • Juxtaposition
  • Problem Tree
  • Lotus Blossom
  • Reframing
  • Bad Questions
  • Constraints

There’s no equipment necessary and no software required. Many of the tools are visual, so some drawing and journaling skills would be great but Esteban can only do stick figures, so you’re probably good. 

Everything starts with an idea - this class will help you develop habits and processes to come up with unique ideas time and time again!

Meet Your Teacher

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Esteban Gast

Writer, Host, and Speaker

Top Teacher

Esteban Gast is an entertainer, educator, and entrepreneur.

He is Colombian, was raised in Puerto Rico and Illinois and currently lives in LA. He taught creativity and design thinking at the college level and co-authored a book on creativity while living in Central Illinois. Afterward, he worked as president of a sustainability-focused Institute in Panama. He was founding COO of Scriptd, a script database and story platform that elevates underrepresented creators. Most recently, he was the star of the TV show Jungletown, airing on VICELAND. He's been profiled in WBEZ talking about using his liberal arts degree to teach engineers how to be creative. He was co-writer of a feature film executive produced by Emmy nominated Kari Skolgand and 13 Reasons Why writer Nic Scheff that you ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: You're probably thinking, will this class be useful? Yes. Why are you asking? Of course. You're probably thinking, is he going to do the piano thing a lot? The answer is no, probably not, probably. Honestly, it'll be pretty focused on the content. Hey my name is Esteban. I'm an educator and an entertainer. I think about creativity a lot. I've been lucky enough to be a writer on some feature films, a producer on some online projects about flipping the scripts and big topics, and I'm co author of this book on creativity. It's called Building Your Creativity Tools for Having Ideas and Bringing Them to Be. I wrote this book while I was teaching at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the College of Engineering. I was teaching creativity there to engineering students, and I'm so excited to now be talking about creativity with you. We're going to dive into this skill of coming up with more creative ideas. That's what this class is about. This class is looking at the science of creativity, and giving you tangible tools and processes so you can come up with more creative ideas. Every business idea, every creative act, every conversation, everything begins with an idea. If you have a grasp and an understanding of how creative ideas are born and made, I think life gets a whole lot more interesting. Excuse me Esteban, what if I'm not a creative? Wow, what a great question from a student, a genuine student. If there's one thing that you take away from this class, I hope it's that creativity skill of having ideas and bringing them to be, is a skill that you can get better at. How awesome is that? What an incredible gift to know that we can get better at creativity? Thanks for that question, student and cool hat. At the end of the day, having ideas is the foundation of everything. Everything starts with an idea. Is it too dramatic? Be honest. 2. Class Project: [MUSIC] I want to share a little bit with you about the class project. Throughout the class, what's going to happen is I'm going to share a tool or framework and you're going to practice it and upload it. This will happen for individual classes. This is super important. One so you can practice it, if creativity's the skill, the way we get better at it is by practicing it and two, seeing how other people think, how other people set up their ideas and use the same tools and maybe modify it for themselves is really huge. Creativity works best when it is shared, when we are combining and improving ideas and honestly when we are stealing like artists, but the big objective for this class is for you to build meaningful habits in creative ideation. This means that our class project is going to be a creative toolkit filled with tools that you can look back on so later, when you're brainstorming or ideating or just need a little jolt of creative inspiration, you can look at that toolkit. It is this one pager worksheet that looks exactly like this. At the end of the course, you will fill out this worksheet and you will upload it, and what this does is it helps you synthesize all the learning in this course in a one pager. What it also does is it empowers you to think about what we've learned in terms of the neuroscience of creativity and how you can build your own tools. This is a course on creativity. It's going to be a lot of, "Hey, here's how we think about creativity." It's going to be some of how does this work best for you? Creativity is so independent that I can't just say this is the best thing for everyone. For the class project, you're going to fill out the creative toolkit, the one pager or worksheet, and you are going to answer the question, what is the most creative insight or breakthrough that you've had in this class? I'm so excited for you to start on the class, build these tools, build the class toolkit, and think about these questions. Let's just get to it. Let's get to the class. We'll see you next video. 3. Defining Creativity: You did it. You're on the next step. Here we go. Let's dive into what it means, and how we can have more creative ideas. That's the goal in this lesson. What we're going to do is we're going to talk about a working definition of creativity. We're going to talk about brainstorming best practice but before we can get to the tools or the techniques, what we got to do is understand where these tools and techniques are born from. Understand the science behind the tools and techniques. This video, this lesson, and the next lesson, we are going to dive into that. They're going to be short, they're going to be fun, they're going to be good, I didn't have three. The reason we're starting with this is because every process, system, and everything else starts from here. If you understand the foundational base of where creative ideas come from then you can come up with your own tools. I'm going to teach you the way that I think about tools. I'm going to teach you some of my favorite tools. We're going to get to all of this but what is amazing is I'm not just going be like, "Hey, here's the thing, just do it and don't understand how it works," I'm going to be like, "Here's the thing. What's your thing look like?" Here's the definition of creativity we're going to work within this class, just in this class, you can still believe your own thing about creativity. In this class, we're going to define creativity as the skill of having ideas, and bringing them to be. I was at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and we were teaching creativity to engineering students. I guess people liked it. They wanted a book so we wrote this book with some of the instructors. It's actually called Building Your Creativity Tools for having ideas, and bringing them to be. This course is going to really focus on that first part. How do we have ideas? If having ideas is a skill, how can we get better at the skill of having ideas? For this class, the paradigm shift, the mental model that we need to operate from is that having ideas is a skill. It is a skill like piano or soccer or math. It is a skill that we can get better at. No matter where you are, you can get better at these things. Even if you feel like you don't have a natural aptitude for creativity, the science is in that creativity can be enhanced. Sometimes this is one of the things that we buy into, we go, "I'm not creative my sister is" or whatever are things that you say. The truth is that everyone is creative, and we can all become more creative. What is creativity? What is more creative? The way I think about this is two types of creativity: there's little c creativity, creativity, and then big C creativity, creativity. Here's the difference, little c creativity is something that is new to you, and big C creativity is something that is new to the world. When we're talking about being more creative, when we're talking about more creative ideas, what we are talking about is can we come up with an idea that hasn't been thought of before? We're looking for unique ideas. We're looking for unusual ideas. We're looking for ideas that no one else has thought of. When we talk about having more creative ideas, here's the goal. The goal is, can you come up with something for yourself? As a business, as a project, as a parent, as a friend, can you come up with something that hasn't been thought of before? So little c creativity is can you come up with something that is new to you. "Oh my goodness, this is new to me." Maybe you've done this. You get really excited. You're like, "This is a great idea." You go on Google, and you go, "Oh shucks, that's been done." That's okay. It's still an incredible creative act. You had an idea, a creative, unusual, an idea that most people don't have. Little c creativity, new to you; big C creativity is something new to the world. "Oh my goodness," you Google, and you go, "No one has done this? No one has done this? This is big." In this class, we are going to drive towards big C creativity. Can you come up with ideas new to the world? But we're going to celebrate little c creativity. Can you come up with ideas that are new to you? I haven't used the word brainstorming because I feel like brainstorming is really loaded. If I said, "Hey, here's our class on brainstorming." You'd be like, "Get out of here." Maybe, I don't know, I would. But brainstorming is great for a lot of reasons, and essentially when we talk about creative ideation, we are talking a little bit about brainstorming, aren't we? We have to. These practices are going to help guide everything else in this class. The four practices. The best practices for brainstorming are number 1, defer judgment. Some of these tools and techniques takes a while to get there. In the science of creativity, time is something that actually helps you come up with more creative ideas. That means that we need to sift through ideas that maybe aren't that good before we get to those capital C creativity ones. When we are journaling or when we are doing some of our frameworks or when we are doing some of our ideation, one of the most important things we need to remember is to defer judgment. If you're like this idea is bad, I don't know if I'm good at this. Relax, take a breath. That's why we're here. Almost all of my first ideas are horrible ideas, and the way that you get through that is to defer judgment. That's number 1 brainstorming best practice, and this course best practice. The number 2 best practice that we need to think about in this course consistently is quantity over quality. There is so much interesting research on this. One of my favorite studies done on creativity is they asked people to come up with 100 uses for a paperclip. The first five, the first 10, all of them nearly had the exact same thing. If we're asking a ton of people uses for a paperclip, the first few ideas you're just like, "Holding paper?" You start thinking everything that you've ever done with a paperclip. When you get to later and later ideas, where you're going is to different parts of your brain that you don't normally access. In doing that, what you do is you find an unusual idea. The further down the list, idea 20 to idea 30, idea 30 was more creative. Less people had that. Idea 40, less people had that. Idea 50, less people had. Isn't that incredible? They literally found a direct correlation between quantity of idea and creative idea. What happens is there was a lot of times we don't allow ourselves to go 100 ideas but the principle is what matters, quantity over quality. In this course, we're going to defer judgment, and we're going to have a lot of ideas. Number 3 is welcome unusual ideas. Intentionally, what we are going to do in this course is intentionally go to really weird places. For example, if I go, "Hey, let's design a car." I'm going to say, "Design a car with the principles of water." I just made this up, I don't know. It will be like, "That is a boat, and this feels weird," and that's exactly what I should do. We know we're getting a more creative ideas when our brain goes, "That's weird." When our brains hurts in that way if like, "I don't normally think about this and this." The third principle is welcome unusual ideas, and the fourth principle that to constantly be thinking about how we can combine ideas. When we come up with idea, your list for brainstorming or your lists for idea shouldn't be like, "What if this, and we could do this, and we could do this, and we could do this." People who come up with the most creative ideas go, "What about this and this? What if this and this combine? and then this new idea goes here. So we're going to constantly combining ideas. Again, to review the four principles of brainstorming that will be used in this class is to defer judgment, quantity over quality, to welcome unusual ideas, and to constantly be combining and iterating ideas. Often, how we think of ideas is we sit there, and we're nervous to have an idea in public or something like that. We think of our best idea. I'm at that meeting, I'm only going to share my best idea. Here's the paradigm shift, you're in skill share baby, you're here to learn. Here's what's going to have a ton of ideas. Throw out unusual ideas. There's no best idea. Throw out an idea, and then combine it with another idea. Now, you've got this overview of the working definition of creativity. The way that we define creativity in this course, and best practices so how we can think about creativity, and come up with incredible ideas. Hey, we'll see you in the next video when we talk about the literal neuroscience of creativity. Then after that, we're going to get to those tools, techniques, systems, and processes so you and I can have better, more creative ideas. It's big C creativity we're after, but little c creativity, hey, that's still a win. Thanks for hanging out. Thanks for being here. Click that next. Just click that next. Just go directly. Just go directly there. Uncle Mao, follow momentum. Let's do it. Thanks. 4. Lateral Thinking: In this lesson, we're going to talk about the science of neural creativity. We're going to talk about how to think laterally. When we think about how our brain comes up with ideas, what we usually do is we have this stockpile of knowledge about a certain thing. Our brain is lazy, no offense brain, but our brain is lazy. What it wants to do is when we want to come up with an idea, it just goes down this familiar neural pathway. There's been these interesting studies that have been done, where they tell people, they challenge people to design a new car. What they find is their brain travels down neural pathway because almost everyone comes up with very similar ideas. The fact is because we've seen so many cars we have, there's car commercials, we know what cars are innovative. We just arrive at similar ideas because our brains all take a similar path. We all have very similar stockpile of knowledge when it comes to cars. There in this study, they even found that when designing a new car or pitching this new car concept, most people came up with the color red for their car, which is so interesting. Because probably what happens is that the majority of the cars we see in media are red and then intrinsically just think cars, and our brain is like, well, I know how to connect this knowledge cars are red. Even if we're thinking of a new one, our brain goes down the stockpile of knowledge and it goes down this one path. That's usually how we come up with ideas. If you'd tell me, for example, I thought about," I'm doing a class in Skillshare," I go, "What are other Skillshare classes?" I just go down this one path. Most people's brains, if we're talking about what we're doing, most brains, what they do, is they go down this familiar neural pathway. I know a lot about this thing. What we need to do is do something to force our brain to stop going down the familiar neural pathway. To stop going down the stockpile of knowledge that we know to stop being lazy and be like, "I know how to think through this." What we need to do is shock the brain. The word that I use is provocation. To provoke someone usually means something negative. They don't provoke me, but what we're talking about in this class, in this instance is something that provokes our brain to think differently, a provocation. At one point , we need something so our brain goes, "What about over here?" This right here is the tools and techniques and everything that we're going to talk about. But we need to understand that every tool, every technique is aimed at doing that. Every tool and every technique is aimed at stopping, from stopping the brain from going into familiar path and going somewhere else. Let me give you an example. I want to talk about pie people and no, they aren't delicious half pie, half-human people. I'm talking about the fact that a lot of times, people with great ideas, know a lot about one thing. But one of the things that makes them so good at coming up with ideas is the fact that they also know about something else. It's why Steve Jobs famously went to that calligraphy class and learned about all these other things. It's why incredible innovations often come from stealing ideas from elsewhere and applying them to your industry, or your life, or your project. There's a great book steal like an artist and the creativity backs that up. That pie people, pie like the number like 3.14. People who have the ability to go deep on one thing but then can connect it to something else. Do you see this pie? Look at this pie, people who have this are more likely to come up with creative ideas. People who have more than just deep knowledge in one thing, or people who can connect their deep knowledge in one thing, to something else. This right here, I call this scaffolding, because they've done well, it looks like on the side of a building, when they're scaffolding, when it's under construction. If done well, the way that scaffolding can allow one construction worker to go from one place to another easily. If we can create in our brain the ability to scaffold, to connect two seemingly unrelated ideas, we will have more creative ideas. C and c we will have, ideas that other people hadn't thought of before. This is the science of creativity. We've got a provocation, something that stops our brain from going down it's familiar path. These moments where we provoke our brain to think differently, where we provoke our brain to go down a more creative, an usual, a path that we normally don't associate with these things, means more creative ideas. Then scaffolding, taking our deep knowledge in one item and swinging over to another part of our brain and connecting it to something else. What if this connected to this and this and this. Remember we said about practices of brainstorming, was combining ideas. This is that. This is the science behind that. If we push our brain outside of its usual lazy patterns, we come up with more creative ideas. Every tool in the next few lessons is a provocation. It is based around this idea what are the ways to force our brain to think differently. This is the mental framework that we're operating from. This is a very high level, very big overview of the science of creativity. So far in this class, I've mentioned two studies: one was asking people to come up with a 100 uses for a paperclip and what they found is quantity equals quality. More ideas meant more creative ideas. Here is one of the things, a small thing that changed everything when they were saying come up with ideas for a paperclip. We're on this path, come up with ideas for a paper clip. Then they said, "Wait a minute, what if that paperclip is a 100 feet tall, what if the paper clip is made of wood or stone or water, what if the paperclip is tiny? All of a sudden it goes to 100 feet tall. What if paperclip then could bend out and it could be like a shelter for someone. A paperclip could be a really cool, like surfboard. It could gather trash or it can sift through, it could be a hair brush." All of a sudden we're thinking in these different aspects. We're challenging our brain. Who just wants to go like paperclip? I get it. We're saying, "No, this paperclip is a 100 feet tall and it's wood,' then you're like, "Well that's different. That's the provocation in my brain." I just can't think, "I know office supplies," it now needs to think about something else, or maybe we go, paperclip, but it's inspired by nature and you're like, a paperclip for nature, what if it allows dogs play fetch with it, or you comb things, or what if paperclip is something that keeps rabbits out of your garden, or whatever. These are just literal things I'm coming up with that aren't very good, but there are start. Quantity leads to quality. All of a sudden we're thinking about things differently. This is the example of how this is used. One small thing, one small provocation of what if the paperclip is changed, can completely change the nature of our brainstorm, can lead to different and better ideas because we're not just going down that familiar pathway. Next lesson we're digging in. 5. Juxtaposition : Welcome to this lesson where we are talking juxtaposition and problem trees. Two of the first tools and techniques that we're going to dig into. So far, here's what we learned, right? We've learned that creativity, in this class, the way that we're going to think about it is the skill of having ideas and bringing them to be. This class is about having ideas. Our goal is to come up with more creative ideas. Then we talked about the definition of creativity, brainstorming the best practices. The last video was a pretty good one, right? Top 10 so far in this class. Because there's been, you get it. So in the last video, we looked at the neuroscience of creativity. We looked at how provocations are needed so we can use scaffolding thinking to connect different ideas. It's a tool called juxtaposition, it's the first tool in our toolkit for having ideas. Juxtaposition is taking a seemingly random word and connecting that. All it does is this provocation. So our brain goes, "Well, that's usually not associated with that." So I've been watching this basketball documentary. Let's think about basketball stuff. So if I'm someone, I'm the owner of a basketball team. By the way, all owners of basketball teams watching this Skillshare class. Thanks for watching, owners of basketball teams. If I'm the owner of a basketball team, I want to think about how to give fans a really good experience. Then let's pick a totally random word. Here is a book that I'm going to do this live. Here's a book by Adam Grant called Originals. Here is a word. The word is Western. Okay. If I'm a basketball owner, Western is like cowboys. So a Western movie. What if there's a shootout instead of a shootout for basketball hoops, basketball shootout, there's a goofy shootout or where people go back to back and they walk and then they have to turn and shoot in a basketball hoop. Like a duel, but basketball style or what if Western is dress up nights. So you go as a cowboy, or what if basketball is on horse? You know how you're playing basketball, like the way that you're playing polo? That fancy game. You're on a horse and you're shooting hoops, basketball, like medieval times basketball or playing basketball there, or Western. What else is western? So here's the premise, those ideas aren't the greatest ideas, but I want to be true and genuine and brainstorm along with you. I'm here with you, brainstorming and figuring this out. The goal of juxtaposition is to challenge our brains to go down a pathway they otherwise wouldn't have. Here's the thing about juxtaposition that if you are a basketball owner and you're genuinely thinking about these things, you need something to get you out of the usual brain patterns that you go down. The usual path that you go down. Juxtaposition to me is a great first exercise because it most directly correlates to the neuroscience behind creativity. Once you learn the neuroscience of creativity, you're like, "Oh, all I need are for ways for me to think about things a little bit differently, even if it is just randomly grabbing a word." It's one of my favorite exercises. There's more systems and tools and thought out things that we're going to get into. This next tool that we're going to get into in this video is going to be one of those. But I just love juxtaposition as the first thing would be like, "Hey, now that you know the science of creativity, boom. Here's how you can make that happen." The second tool I want to talk about today is also a really good first tool to grasp. It'll make everything else better, and it is problem tree. The way that we think about problem trees is if it's you and I's goal to go down different neural pathways, right? If it's you and I's goal to shake the brain up and go down different paths. One of the best ways to do that is to start thinking of problems differently than you normally think about them. Let me give you an example. We're going to make this little tree. It's a problem tree. So in the middle, we're going to write the problem. Let's say we're at these urban designers, traffic is the problem that we want to face. First, we're going to think of as many causes as we can. Now remember, it's quantity over quality and we're deferring judgment. So I'm literally going to do this like right now. Some of them are probably, maybe not going to be great ideas or anything, but we're just going to go through them. We're going to defer judgment so you can't judge me. Okay? All right. Cause, traffic is too many cars on the road and roads are small, and public transportation, it's not that good. So we've got these causes. Ideally, we'd come up with a few more because, I don't know if you've heard me say this, but quantity leads to quality, right? So ideally to come up with, what we're going to do this. Now what we're going to do is hopefully by here, we're listing as many causes as we can, big and small. Then we're going to think of effects of these causes, things that we don't normally think about. All right, so too many cars, and these can be positive, negative, or neutral effects. Too many cars means more money for households. Households are spending more money, or they spend more money. Too many cars means more emissions. Too many cars maybe means more jobs. People are selling cars. What would be another effect of too many cars? Too many cars on the road mean it's dangerous for bikers and pedestrians. So the thought here is that visually what you're doing is you're breaking out of the normal pattern you may go down. So if you are a urban designer actually, right? It's like, how do we think through traffic? Maybe you're just thinking, "Yeah, we need wider roads." You think about it through that way and that's it, right? I live in Los Angeles. This is something that they have thought of, and it hasn't helped traffic too much. So instead of just going, starting on this familiar pathway before we even start brainstorming solutions or ideas. We're saying, "Okay, if this is what we normally go down, right? If we normally go traffic, oh, well, we just need wider roads." What happens if we pause? What happens if we pause and we force ourselves to think of all the other options. So then we're going down and we go, "Okay, traffic means too many cars and these are some of the effects." Wider roads, roads are small. These are the effects. Again, this is just an example, but what it does, the goal of juxtaposition and these. These are two of the first techniques that we're going to talk about, because juxtaposition is the first technique that most directly relates to the neuroscience or creativity. This technique, what it does, before you even get started, you know, and you can start going down a pathway that you normally don't. The question that we need to get obsessed with if we want to have more creative ideas, is how do I go down a pathway in my brain that I normally don't? Two ways to do it is to just take a random word and brainstorm around that, and the other is to, before you even start the journey, try to come up with different pathways. I want you to practice juxtaposition and I want you to practice it the way that we did it, which is you're going to brainstorm around something you care about, you're going to take one word you care about. Let's say you're a photographer, you're going to think about photography or something like that, and then I want you to go to a book and pick a random word. This word is 400 hundred, hundred. What does that mean? How come we combined hundred and photography? Here is what I am challenging you to do, whatever the first word is, if it's photography and hundred. If you're like, "There is no way that any of this is related." Try to sit with it and come up with a few ideas. Second thing that we're going to do is we're going practice problem tree. So a problem that you are facing, a problem can be anything like what is the next greatest project? To what do we do here, to, you know what? You can even take a problem that you're not actively working on just to practice going through these motions. You put the problem in the middle of the tree. You put the causes as the roots, come up with as many as you can, and then you'll start thinking of effects. Then from here, you will see if the problem tree allowed you to start going down a different pathway that leads to more creative ideas than normal. I'm so excited to see the juxtapositions and the problem trees that you come up with. The next lesson, we're diving into an awesome strategy and tool called lotus blossom. I think you're going to love it. Will see you there. 6. Lotus Blossom : We're going to keep moving and grooving. In this lesson, we're talking about one thing and one thing only, and that is the Lotus Blossom. The lotus blossom is another ideation technique. All these tools and techniques are just to help you think differently, what works for you and how can you come up with more creative ideas? How can you help your brain go to places that it normally doesn't? This is the lotus blossom. Let's walk through what it is. Are you ready? What the lotus blossom does, is it helps us intentionally think about all the aspects of a certain idea or problem or opportunity. Let's do a few blocks away from this beautiful space. Good work house in Venice, California, there is a playground, so let's do playgrounds. I like this one because there's different aspects to it. In lotus blossom, you're going to play something right in the middle. This is the thing we're brainstorming around. This is a type of mind-mapping, if you've ever mind-mapped before. What we're going do is we're going to start with four aspects of playground. The first thing I like to do, especially for something that it's human, that humans are involved in, is think about four different humans users. This human-centered approach. Playground, kids use playgrounds, parents use playgrounds. Let's say teachers, a lot of playground time. What about like, public officials, let's say the government. Kids use playground, parents use playground, teachers, and government. What we're going do from here is we're going to create another little blossum, so we're going over here. Let's take parents. Let's put parents in here. You're going to come up with four things that parents would like around playgrounds. We're actually coming up with ideas now. They want to interact with other parents, and I bet parents would love like free Wi-Fi, do some work, co-work while your kids are playing, parents would love to connect with other parents. Let's do that. Connect with parents. They want safety. I think that's the number one thing. I put Wi-Fi before safety. This is how you know I'm doing this along with you. It's like, ''What do parents want on playground?'' Wi-Fi. ''Oh, I guess also safety.'' Parents want their kids to have a good time, so it's like kids make friends, kids, self-esteem. What we're going to do is we can take this again and use one of them. Let's say, parent's goal for playground is to connect with other parents. What we're going to do is come up with four again. Remember I was saying quantity leads to quality? This is an example of that. Let's say we're actually someone who designs playgrounds, we go, ''Oh, playground, let's make it fun and good.'' What we're doing now is forcing ourselves intentionally going down different paths than maybe our natural inclination is. Creativity happens when we think in broad and sit there and connect seemingly unrelated things or go deep and then connect them to somewhere else and approach them differently. What I've done here is I've kept filling out the lotus blossom, thinking about all these different things. In the interest of time, I've just kept thinking about the lotus blossom and walk you through it. The fact is the lotus blossom is a great tool in terms of intentionally and thoughtfully having this system that allows us to go down different pathways. That has this system that stops us from just moving forward with like, ''I know what this is,'' like invites us to think smaller, and different. In that specificity, in those different paths that we can take come more creative ideas, ideas that we don't come up with before. What we've done here is playground and we have these users, parents and then parents think about the fact, what would a playground for parents look like?We like this thought of parents. Parents are looking for connections with other parents at playgrounds. It's not just for kids. Parents also want meet other parents and then going great if we design a playground around the fact that parents want conduction with other parents, we could do at place where they co-work and they can get work done, they can do a place where there is maybe a happy hour and there's food and drink somewhere and their kids are playing and they're safe and having fun, or maybe it can be like a playground in an office, instead of just going somewhere and co-working, it's like built-in and the office is super kid proof. Like if I'm going to a playground, I'd like to connect with other parents. I could wear a name tag or something like that. Lotus blossom can continue and continue getting clearer and clearer and going down these really fun paths. For example, if we want to do this, and then we go great, what does a playground where we have parents co-working together? It's pretty good Wi-Fi, there's like standing desks for them and maybe there is a phone area where they can be alerted, a kid can reach him, but they can be on a phone call and it's quiet or whatever that looks like. We're deferring judgment. I'm not saying these are good ideas, but what I am saying is that we wouldn't have gotten to these ideas unless we had a system like this. You know, I'd mentioned, I talked creativity to engineering students and engineering students really liked this exercise. The reason that they did it is because they could do it in Excel. I'm serious. I walk through this with them when I was teaching just like I did with you, then someone raise their hand and they're like, ''Oh, can I do this in an Excel sheet? If I put playground in the middle, can I put the four around it and then go from there and build 4 and make this whole lotus blossom fours?'' And I was like, ''Yeah, of course.'' These are tools that I use and are hopefully useful to you, but you can change them to what makes sense for you. Here is the challenge and the project for this time; you're going to create a lotus blossom around an issue here and it can be personal or professional, it can be something fun or goofy, or you could even take playgrounds. What you're going to do is visually, you're going to make these lotus blossoms. You can do it like me. I'm not, a good illustrator and clearly not that good of a speller or writer in terms of penmanship. But you can do it visually like this. All what you can do is literally in an Excel sheet. I can't wait for you to come up with your lotus blossom. So your project is for you to create a lotus blossom and the challenge is, can you do more than eight lotus blossoms? I'm so excited to see what you come up with. The next lesson, we're diving back into three tools and techniques, re-framing bad questions and constraints. All of these built around the science of creativity, all of these built around giving you a system, a process, or a tangible tool to come up with more creative ideas. Let's keep going. You've made it this far. Let's just keep doing it. So excited you're here, so excited to see what you come up with in the project section. Will see you in the next video. 7. Reframing, Bad Questions, and Constraints: [MUSIC] Hey. Today, we're talking about three more techniques. We are talking about Reframing, Bad Questions, and Constraints. Here's the way that I think about reframing. I think about it in terms of users, situation, goals. The way that I think about reframing is switching out some of the users, situation, goals, or anything else that's relevant to the thing that you are coming up with ideas for. Let's think about this. Let's say, we're coming up with this together, this is a pen. Let's say, I am thinking of new pens. The goal is to come up with ideas for pens. The way that I would reframe is spend time thinking about different users. How does a five-year old use a pen, and how does a 80-year old use a pen? To think about that, and I would brainstorm around that. To come up with ideas, a five-year old for a pen needs something pretty easy to write. Would probably want color, would probably want all of these different things. An 80-year old, actually, there are some similar. Both of them would like a pen that is really easy to hold, easy to write with. Probably, nothing technical or too artsy, anything like that. That is users. Reframing of the situation would be, how do we use pens in terms of school, art, work, and so on? For goals, we could do the same thing. How do we reframe certain goals? That task that we have is to come up with a new idea for a pen, a creative use for a pen. What we can do that help us ideate is, switch out different goals for the pen. What would it look like to have a pen that is super, smear proof? What would it look like to have a pen that is super permanent? What would it look like to have a pen that is perfect for the most technical artists and writers ever? What would it look like to have a pen for someone who is just learning to write? All of those help us think through different ideas. Here's the thing about reframing, that even if the situation, the user or the goal you're reframing and trying to think through, isn't someone that is relevant to you. What it does is, it allows you to tap in to another perspective for that goal. "Hi. It's me. Just a normal student, can you explain what this actually looks like?" Let me show you how to use reframing in my life. For me, I'm a writer, and I was lucky enough to work on this feature film. This feature film, super awesome. I got to write on it. The script was Gritty High School family drama. This was the original script, High Gritty High School family drama. They told me this and that is why we want you to do this. We write for it, we want you to focus on this. Here's the process that I thought through this script using reframing, and I literally did this. I gave them a version of the script that was a high-school appropriate Disney movie. I gave them a high school Judd Apatow movie. I gave them Super Gritty just focused on family drama. I thought about the audience being a young, cool person. I thought about the audience being an older, critic of movies. I thought about the audience being artists. I actually did this. Reframing for me wasn't just this thought experiment. I actually went through the script and said, "Okay. How do we bump up some of the really fun high-school tropes and some of the Disney movie?" It's not their intention, but this just helps me think through what this would feel like. You know what I learned? There were some stuff in it that was like Disney tropes, and we took that out. That wasn't this movie, but it helped me identify that. Then we went through and we said, "Okay. Let's bump up the humor, this Judd Apatow, a super bad style humor. We bumped that up, and it made this script better, but we decided it was almost too funny, so we turned it back down family drama. But then we thought through, how do we make sure that artists like this? How do we make sure that critics like this? How do we make sure that a young cool person likes this? We thought about all these things. That doesn't mean that I was like rewriting a ton of the scripts that just thought in terms of a scene. How do I take one scene and write it a few different ways? How do I take this one creative art, the script, and reframe it for different situations, for different feelings, for different vibes, for different users, for different audiences? That is the power of Reframing. The second thing we're going talk about today is bad questions. This is a really wonderful tool to help you break through maybe some of the obstacles in your path when you were thinking of an idea. For me, bad questions allows me to brainstorm bad ideas, and that is a huge gift. It is exactly what it sounds like. If you feel stuck, it is thinking of literally bad questions to do this. It's thinking of bad brainstorming. You know, because I've said it. Dare I say too many times, that quantity leads to quality. If I'm stuck on writing a script, and I don't know what the character does next. I go, "Okay. Well, what would it be bad character development? What would this character do poorly?" I don't know. If I'm thinking of teaching, I go. What would a bad teacher do? A bad teacher, they talk down or are they wouldn't do activities with mere, or they'd be like, "Look at this, look at my ideas. " I'm going to come up with ideas alongside the people watching so they know that the goal of this class isn't to showcase new brilliant ideas, but rather to work through these systems and processes and build these habits that help us come up with more creative ideas. For me, bad questions, it's a wonderful way to break through creative blocks and get to better and more creative ideas. The last thing we're going to talk about is constraints. I've mentioned this a few times, but one of my favorite tests of creativity. Something that measures your creativity is the multiple uses test. This is the example where they gave you a paperclip and they say, "Can you come up with a 100 users for this?" I love this. I love giving myself this challenge, this constraints of coming up with 50 ideas no matter what, even if they're bad. Earlier in the class, I talked about designing a car. It's like, how would you design a car? How do you think about that differently? This is something that I ask a lot of people, and we've done a lot of creative work around. Because it just is something that makes sense. All of us have been in cars, and understand cars and all that. A colleague of mine was leading this creativity workshop and people were feeling a little bit stuck. They said, "This car can't have circular tires, this insane constraints." What's a car can have circular tires? But what it did is, it forced everyone to think differently. They created brilliant cars, they created brilliant roads, they created this brilliant, brilliant ideas, around the thought of cars that can't have round tires. Now, that is an extreme constraint [LAUGHTER]. I don't think we're going to be seeing squared tired cars anytime soon. But what that did is, it was a huge, huge provocation. It was a [LAUGHTER] huge opportunity to challenge the students to do something different than they were already doing, the way that I think about these three tools. For me, the mental models. I can think differently, but the ideas that I'm wanting to produce. These are three tools that I use all the time. For your project, what you're going to do is, you're going to take this prompt, design a new car. What are you going to do? Is, you're going to practice reframing, which means changing the user of the car, the situation of the car, or the goals of the car. Then come up with 10 new ideas for designing a new car, or you can ask bad questions. You can ask a bad questions that help you come up with 10 ideas for designing a new car. Or you can add constraints to it. You can add a constraint to it that is crazy and wild, or you can add a smaller constraint. For example, no steering wheel, or for example, it can't run on gasoline, or, for example, anyone can drive it, including a baby or you're going give yourself a constraint. In that, you're going come up with 10 new ideas for new cars. That means in the project section. We've got all sorts of people, either reframing, asking bad questions, or giving themselves constraints and coming up with 10 ideas for a new car. Here's what's going to be super interesting. I encourage you to look around and see what tools someone used and how they're different ideas for a new car change. I think it'll be so interesting to connect to the questions that we ask ourselves to the ideas that we ultimately have. [MUSIC] In the next lesson, we'll be talking about space time and habits. Then we're doing a quick overview of bringing ideas to be. Then we're wrapping it up. We are all graduating, going out into the world and coming up with brilliant, brilliant ideas. I can't wait to see what you come up with. We will see you next lesson. Good bye. See you next. Just click, just keep going. Skip. It's three videos. You're so close. Two videos and an optional video. 8. Space, Time, and Habits : In this lesson, we're talking about space, time and habits. Three of the last tools that we talked through every individual who wants to enhance their creativity and their ability to come up with more creative ideas: space, time, and habits. Let's start with space. There's a ton of research out there that shows how space impacts our ability to think creatively. They've done these studies where ambient noise and coffee shops help. They've done these studies that show that sometimes being alone is in a creative pause. In the car when you're driving, in your mind can wander, in the shower that that is a space where creative ideas pop up. Here is what I know that for you to spend time thinking about a space where you feel more creative is incredibly valuable. Creative space is when where creativity is really accessible. If you look at a filmmaker or someone who uses an artist who uses a lot of suppliers, they're usually really meticulous the way that they assemble their space. Even if they're wild and crazy they want some like; if I want to be creative, I got a pen right here. The way that I would think about this is, how do you lower the barrier to entry for creativity. Even if you don't have an office. I don't have a home office. Even if you don't have all these different things, how can you just set yourself up to be creative whenever creativity strikes. For example, I carry a journal with me everywhere I go. You have seen firsthand that I'm not the best journaler and could use some help and illustration in penmanship, but still I carry a journal to capture my thoughts. I don't want to have an idea or start thinking about idea or connect to ideas that weren't related and find out how they're actually related and then not do anything with it. Thinking about a space for yourself is really important. What I would tell you is that research shows that collisions per capita helps lead to more creative thoughts. Let me explain. Collisions per capita is walking past someone and interacting with someone that you normally wouldn't interact with. You share an idea, you listened to something that you normally don't listen to. It's the same thing. If our challenging creative ideation is going down a different pathway, having our brain explore our different parts of our brain, that's more likely to happen if we hang out with someone who doesn't entirely aligned with our worldview, who doesn't agree with everything we agree with. That's why cities are such places for creativity, because you go and you chat with different people. I'm actually filming this in a place called Good Work House in Venice Beach, California. Good Work House is really focused on this thought, that if you bring people together, one of the best things that can happen is that they share ideas and their ideas combine and get better and better. That creativity doesn't happen in silos, creativity happens in community. You're learning about something totally unrelated to your project or idea, that's space. The next thing is time. John Cleese from Monty Python gives this incredible speech. He talks about the keys to creativity or time, time and time. He tells the story that, when they were coming up with ideas there was a writer that was more talented, but he would just settle on that first punchline. John Cleese said he would sit there longer than anyone else thinking of ideas, and then something would hit. He'd said he just go through punchlines and punchlines and punchlines till he got the right one. Ain't that amazing? That time is the reason why Monty Python is so funny. They just spent more time on things. Now, for you, I don't know what it looks like for me. I'm busy and sometimes I just can't think about things that long. But what I do is I'll set a stopwatch. I'll set a timer for myself to think about something for like 20 minutes. I'll go, "This whole bunch done." But let me think about this thing for 20 minutes and I'll consistently give myself time, because you know what happens? Is that sometimes I think I've been thinking about something for a while, but I haven't. I've just been on Instagram or scrolling through stuff or just like my mind will wander and I'm like, "Well, I've thought about that." I'll set these constraints, these barriers and say, "Okay, 20 minutes thinking about this thing and then I can think about anything else." I think about how I can hold myself accountable, to spending time coming up with more creative ideas. Time seems to be one of the ingredients that all brilliant humans have said. The last is habits. We've gone through a bunch of tools and here's what I would say, just like space. The question in this course, hopefully you've thought about some stuff and learned some stuff and it's been fun and it's been great. Is like, what tools would you use consistently? What tools feels easiest for you to just go straight into? What are the habits that you could realistically form in this? Here's my hope for this class. It is not that you just take it and you go, "That was fun, that guy was sort of weird, but fun and I guess I learned a little bit." But it's that you actually walk away with habits. Creativity is not just a one time thing. Creativity is a lifestyle. The systems and processes that we've talked about, the systems and processes that I hope you create from an understanding of the neuroscience of creativity, aren't just one time things. Hopefully they're things that you can do over and over. When we think about tools, let's think about space, time and habits. That is it. We have seven tools. In the next video, we're going to talk about creativity as a lifestyle, we're going to talk about ideation and we're going to wrap it all up. We will see you at the next video. 9. Key Takeaways: This is the final video of the course, and what a journey it's been. It's been you. It's been a journey. It's been a thing. Are we okay? Are you okay? Am I okay? I'm so excited, and happy that you went through it. Hopefully this provided some meaning to you, and helped you look at creative thinking, and coming up with ideas a little bit differently. Here are some of the things that we went through. We started looking at the working definition of creativity. Creativity is the skill of having ideas, and bringing them to be.The key word there is skill, as in creativity can be enhanced. Then we looked at the science of creativity. Creativity happens when we force our brain to think about things a little bit differently. I like the word provocation. It's something that forces our brain to go down a different pathway than it normally would. Then we talked about tools, techniques, and systems. All born out of this concept of provocation. How can we encourage and build in systems to think about things differently? We talked about juxtaposition and problem tree too of the first activities that really help us grasp what this means. Then we talked about Lotus Blossom. Literally the system that helps us dive into different aspects so we can come up with better ideas. Then we talked about re-framing, bad questions, and constraints. Three, just questions, tools, and techniques that we can consistently asked ourselves to make sure that the ideas we come up with are creative, interesting, unusual, and hopefully big C creativity, their ideas that are new to the world. Then we finished, and we talked about space, time, and habits. We look at how having a space can help build creativity. How time is an essential part of creativity, and how the habits that we form can help us think more creatively. Creativity requires a lot of brain power. Congratulations, and seriously, hats off to you because you did the projects, and you did the techniques, and you did the tools. You're probably like, "Oh my goodness, my brain hurts" but that's good. That means that our brain is forming new pathways. That means that our brain is rewiring itself to be more creative, and it ain't pretty cool? That's pretty cool. Be sure to upload all the projects into the Project and Resources tabs. These are things that you, use these tools to actually come up with ideas that's incredible, and something beautiful happens when we see how other people use these tools and techniques. Something beautiful happens when we see other ideas. Remember to check out the worksheet in the class Resources tab. It can be really helpful to reflect on these activities, and how they impacted your creative process. Sharing that reflection can spark some interesting discussions around our different approaches to coming up with ideas. Here's my tip: share your reflections, comment on other peoples, and start a really awesome open discussion about our creative breakthroughs so that we can inspire each other in unexpected ways. I'd love to see how you're using some of the activities in your everyday life, or even better, how you're modifying some of the activities. Remember, creativity is bashed when shared. Creativity works when we build and work off other people's ideas. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Thanks again for giving your time, attention, and brainpower to this class. Sincerely hope that you had a good time, and it was useful. I'll be here working at my sheet of paper. It just says, "Keep going." I'll be here looking at this sheet of paper, it just says, "You're worth it." Thanks so much for tuning in, and we'll see you next time. Maybe there'll be another class. I don't know. Okay, cool. That's it. Hey, thank you. Both cameras, saying goodbye to both cam. Goodbye. Goodbye, and also goodbye. But lastly, goodbye. Will see you next time.