So, you didn’t think you were creative?

As a leading product design agency, we work closely with clients to solve their problems. Our clients are often experts within their field but lack the ability to view existing challenges from an alternative perspective. This isn’t because they lack creativity, but simply because we all get stuck in a rut from time to time, with the repetitive nature of everyday work-life keeping a tight hold on us and our ideas.

Although creativity is generally thought of as spontaneous, we believe it’s better to plan creative sessions in advance, thereby ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients. Using a number of proven techniques, we apply creative thinking in order to generate an array of ingenious solutions. These techniques are simple to remember and easy to apply, and best of all, they’re incredibly effective – they are widely known as the 4 Rs.

The 4 Rs are made up of four main categories of behaviour which stimulate thought, generate new ideas and encourage creativity.

Re-expression: finding alternative ways to describe or experience an issue or problem

Re-expression involves describing the issue at hand in a new way, prompting the mind to approach the problem from an alternative perspective. Rethinking our mode of expression can prompt the brain to think laterally, thereby finding solutions which otherwise may have been missed. Another method that can be applied here is to adopt not only a new phrase, but a new medium, such as sketching, building or modelling.

Related Worlds: exploring other areas where similar issues and benefits can be seen

In effect, this ‘R’ is all about stealing! The principles or stimuli of another’s approach can be identified and applied to our own challenges, demystifying the process, and promoting new and innovative ideas. It’s also worth speaking to others with relevant expertise – widen your net and allow serendipity to guide your creative process.

Revolution: Identify and challenge rules and assumptions

Rules and regulations are so deeply ingrained in us that it can be hard to recognise their effect, particularly in the world of business. However, once we are aware of the daily conventions which we consider obligatory, or expected, we can begin to break them! Becoming aware of the rules that bind us opens a gateway, allowing us to deliberately challenge regulations, even to subvert them head-on. Exaggerate, oppose, refuse and most importantly reverse the rules, creating something ingenious in the process.

Random links: Making connections and links between your issue and random items found in the world

Selecting random stimulus that has nothing to do with your challenge, then forcing a connection may sound bizarre, but it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Your random stimulus, be it a mug, toothbrush or lawnmower, will have a host of attributes, values and benefits which can be adapted and applied to your design. This prompt encourages the mind to work in a more broad and lateral way. This method is especially effective in terms of product design and engineering.

All problem-solving should be creative, but it’s easy to get stuck in the same old mould of convergent thinking. When embarking on a journey of new product design and development, we use the techniques illustrated above to boost our minds, allowing us to transform your designs into a fully functional product in the most exciting and innovative way possible. Like everything else, creativity is a learned behaviour – the more you practice, the better you’ll become.