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Strategy, Creativity

Making Ideas Sparkle

POSTED ON: 07/05/16 Creativity Thought Starters

I spent the Fourth of July upstate in a verdant pasture, terrifying farm animals with a dazzling and deafening display of pyrotechnic wizardry. The big velvet sky was ablaze with shards of color, and thunderous booms and crashes echoed off the nearby hills. We lit up the night in a brilliant, crowd-fueled celebration of our independence and idiocy.

Of course, by “we,” I mean “them.” “Them” being my braver and/or drunker friends who had been allowed to play with explosives in their youths (because they had parents who didn’t care about them), and were therefore not afraid of blowing their fingers off in a tragic bottle rocket mishap.

I remained a safe distance away from the detonation site. Partly because I’m not stupid. But mostly because as a child, I was taught that fireworks will kill you. So on this night, I let my experienced-but-unloved buddies risk their digits with their cherry bombs and M90s (M80s? Whatever.)

I was happy with my sparkler.

I’m sure you’ve seen that kid on Independence Days past, hanging back from the crowd, an anemic spray of sputtering sparkle illuminating his ghostly pale face. That was me! Then and now.

I’m man enough to admit that I really enjoy a good sparkler. All the Grucci elements are there: drama, light, unpredictability, licks of fire. Plus, a sparkler won’t leave me thumb-less. I will even go so far as to say I adore sparklers.

Hi, my name is Bradley, and I sparkle (spar·kle ˈspärk(ə)l/ v. what one who is holding a sparkler is doing).

I love sparklers so much that I am going to enjoy their spectacular yet safe wonderfulness not just on the Fourth of July weekend, but every single weekend of the year.

Are you with me?

No?

Fine. Then will you at least show solidarity by embracing the metaphor of sparkle as a bright idea, and taking a look at this list of 52 creativity prompts?

  1. Challenge a norm
  2. Be a “yes” man
  3. See things as a child
  4. Write with your left hand
  5. Find fault with everything
  6. Steal an idea
  7. Brainstorm standing up
  8. Keep a swipe file
  9. Be bold and brave
  10. Go to a gallery
  11. Be the first
  12. Make mash-ups
  13. Escape context
  14. Talk to a stranger
  15. Introduce a puppet sidekick
  16. Make it a joke
  17. Bust out the crayons
  18. Carry a notebook
  19. Link two diametrically opposed things
  20. Impersonate Einstein
  21. Impersonate Seth Rogan
  22. Impersonate Elmo
  23. Impersonate your mom
  24. Try automatic writing
  25. Doodle
  26. Reinterpret a classic
  27. Listen to a TED Talk
  28. Build something with LEGOS
  29. Hang with a kid
  30. Set a timer
  31. Use analogy
  32. Make up words
  33. Set a quota
  34. Go for a walk
  35. Take an alternate route to work
  36. Breathe
  37. Change physical perspectives
  38. Listen to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”
  39. Exaggerate wildly
  40. Ask 25 questions
  41. Destroy something
  42. Don’t ask “Why?”
  43. Uncover the emotional insight
  44. Take a shower
  45. Make a story
  46. Be a vandal
  47. Go commando
  48. Admit that “creative block” isn’t a thing
  49. Learn to juggle
  50. Dig deep
  51. Set some weird rules
  52. Slap somebody
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