6 research based tips on how to increase creativity:

From Jeremy Dean’s great book How to Be Creative:

1. Knowledge: with expertise come the tools you need for creativity, but expertise can also get you stuck in a rut. Acknowledge this and find ways to break out of old routines.

2. Problem construction: decisions made early on can make or break a project. Don’t be too keen to rush in, whatever your instincts might tell you. More creative people tend to spend longer constructing the problem. Use constraints and counter-factual thinking to generate ideas.

3. Emotion: understand which emotions are useful for which aspects of creativity, then you can put them to work. Positive activating emotions are good for broad expansive thinking while negative activating emotions help with analysis and detail. Try to match your mood to the task and avoid low activation emotions.

4. Combining concepts: the raw materials of your great idea probably already exist, but can you find them? Ignoring the details and understanding the gist of the problem will help you make those vital connections.

5. Abstraction: abstract thinking boosts creativity, so create psychological distance between yourself and the problem. Experiment with imagining it far away in space or time or develop your own methods for getting into an abstract flow.

6. The wandering mind: creative people think flexibly. They can let their mind wander into novel concepts, but later when critical thinking and application is required, they find a way to buckle down.

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