5 Creative Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Idea Generation

We've all been there: you're generating fresh ideas for a project due in a week (or less!) and you've hit a wall. What now? Try these creativity hacks to get the ideas flowing:

1. Go for a walk
Taking a break may feel like a waste of time, but according a recent study by The British Journal of Sports Medicine, walking through green spaces can help alleviate brain fatigue. Lots of time management systems also recommend timed working sessions, like the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer, work diligently, and then take a break to keep your creativity fresh.

2. Collaborate
If you've been working on your own up until you've hit a wall, it could breathe new life into your ideas to both a) communicate your objective to someone else and b) get their perspective on your problem. When possible, run your thoughts by someone who has a different skillset (a developer, designer or project manager for example). While their feedback may not entirely meet your project goals, it could spark the next idea that will.

3. Keep a "genius" file
Ever wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea and then promptly forget it? Or had dinner with a friend where you both discuss a great business concept but never actually take next steps? Log it in your genius file. You can keep it on your phone or written in a notebook, the key is to make sure you capture these ideas for future reference. Next time you're stuck, flip through your notes and see if any of your past "genius" can help your current project.

4. Reverse brainstorming
What is your project NOT? Do your best to list 25 things that will not solve your problem. It shouldn't be hard, especially if you've been given direction from a client or your boss. Once you have that list, it should be a great litmus test for your next great idea.

5. "Yes, and..."
Improv artists know this simple technique for on-the-spot story building and idea generation. Grab a friend or coworker and go back and forth discussing your project's objective until you have a breakthrough.