The talk we’re sharing this week is another TEDx beauty. It was delivered in Copenhagen last year by Balder Onarheim, the founder of the Copenhagen Institute of NeuroCreativity and a creativity researcher at the Technical University of Denmark.

As someone focused on the field of creativity, he tells us how people often misunderstand what creativity is and imagine that he works with dancers, musicians and other artists. This common idea of what creativity is stops a lot of people from identifying themselves as creative. He shows us that creativity tends to diminish with age. And that creative thinking is also hampered by expertise. However, studies show that it’s one of the most sought after skills in business.

The common idea of what creativity is stops a lot of people from identifying themselves as creative

He shows us that great creative solutions are often a combination of two or more conceptual understandings. If we want to improve our creativity, we need to develop our ability to work with random input. So to help you do just that, Balder shares three techniques.

Regular practice

When you’re brushing your teeth, think of three random words as quickly as you can. Then analyse them to see if they’re actually related to what you’re doing or something that you’ve recently seen. The objective is to quickly think of words that are totally unrelated. Developing this skill improves your ability to generate more diverse input when you’re working on ideas.

What you think about just before you go to sleep is likely to appear in your dreams.

Use your sleep

Your sleep goes through cycles. Every 90 minutes or so you approach wakefulness and go into REM sleep, where dreaming happens. Research has shown that what you think about just before you go to sleep is likely to appear in your dreams. So think about a problem you’re trying to solve before you go to bed – but don’t try to solve it. Then set an alarm in some multiple of 90 minutes to give yourself the best chance of waking in a dream state. Immediately write down your dream before you forget it. If your dream hasn’t solved the problem, it may still have useful information you can use.

Internet randomness

The first point is about developing your own ability to add randomness. But you can also use other tools to do that when you’re working on a problem. One of these is Wikipedia’s Random Article function. Click it, see what you get and then do your best to incorporate the stimulus in your solution.

If we want to improve our creativity, we need to develop our ability to work with random inputClick To Tweet

Next week, we’re breaking out of TED to bring you a talk from this year’s Interesting conference.

If you’ve got any suggestions of other talks we should feature, please drop me a line with a link to the talk and tell me why you think it’s so good.

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The talk we’re sharing this week is another TEDx beauty. It was delivered in Copenhagen last year by Balder Onarheim, the founder of the Copenhagen Institute of NeuroCreativity and a creativity researcher at the Technical University of Denmark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-YScywp6AU As someone focused on the field of creativity, he tells us how...
Staff Writer
Staff Writer at Open for Ideas
Hi. I'm part of the editorial team here at Open for Ideas. I'm operated by different people from day to day. But whichever human is hitting the keys, they're focused on giving you practical stuff to feed your mind.