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Excellent Creativity Exercises

Creativity is all about being original. It can be developed to a certain degree! Creativity exercises are simulated scenarios which encourage the mind to open up to greater possibilities and devise methods to lend form to those possibilities.
When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.
That was Lewis Carroll on creativity! Well, we all have our own unique ways of looking at and understanding things, but most of us tend to look at things the "traditional" conformist way; try to stick to the world's definition of normal.
Ask the average person, "What is a Beauty Parlor" and he would give the standard dictionary-influenced answer, "A beauty parlor is an establishment offering cosmetic treatment and beauty services to women." However, a creatively inclined brethren might give you quite the hilarious shock and define a beauty parlor as a place where women 'curl up and dye'!
Now, the two big questions here are, "If creativity is all about being natural and original, what purpose would be served by indulging in creativity development exercises?" and "Are creativity exercises designed to impart creativity?"
An answer to the first question is, " Creativity enhancing exercises serve the purpose of stimulating the brain to think out of the box methods and solutions, rather than traditional ones, to do a regular job or solve a common problem."
An answer to the second question is, "These exercises are not designed to impart, but stimulate, creative thinking!" Let's get some clue on this.
Let's define the creativity exercises. Exercises for creativity would ideally comprise techniques to cultivate new ideas which would help us change our way of thinking about a situation and how to deal with it.
These exercises are aimed at "loosening the knots" of the regular thinking process and letting the strings of thought fly to all directions so as to come in contact with winds of ideas from all directions!
We are lucky to be living in an age where out-of-the-box thinking is not dismissed as blasphemy and creative and free thinkers are not prosecuted as heretics!
Creative thinking, creative writing and creative problem solving are the new age mantras that must adorn your individual armory if you wish to carve a niche for yourself and desire to be recognized as the alpha among your herd! A few such exercises are being discussed here. Try them out and have fun; give your imagination wings and see them soar!

Picture Maths or Graphic Problem Solving

This is a creative way of arousing interest for mathematics in children besides allowing them to come up with creative solutions to regular mathematical problems. Ask them to solve regular numeric equations or problems by visualization. Encourage them to use graphic rather than numbers or traditional formulas to solve complex mathematical problems.
Let us solve an equation by way of example: A man owns 8 animal, x being ducks and y being rabbits. The total number of legs of all 8 animals amount to 20. Find out how many are ducks and how many are rabbits out of the total 8 animals.
The traditional solution would be:

x + y = 8
2x + 4y = 20 and so on...
However, an easier and creative way to solve this would be:

▪ Total animals = 8; total legs= 20
▪ Rabbits have 4 legs, ducks have 2 legs.
▪ All animals having 4 legs must 1st have 2 legs.
▪ Therefore, total 8 animals must at least have 8 * 2 = 16 legs. Therefore, first draw 8 small circles (or any simple shape) to symbolize 8 animals.
▪ Now, start giving 2 legs to each.
▪ Now that 16 legs are there, we are short of 4 more legs to make 20 legs among 8 animals. Let us give the remaining 2 more legs, each, to 2 of the animals.
▪ Now there is a total of 8 animals with 20 legs among them. Judging by the theory that all animals having 4 legs must 1st have 2 legs, we can see that there are 2 rabbits and the rest 6 are ducks!

Interesting and astoundingly simple, isn't it? This and many such exercises for kids are aimed at eradicating the dread of numbers that most children suffer from.

Personification Exercises

Management Education includes branding projects for Marketing, Advertising and Brand Management, which involved personifying a product by imagining it to be an animate object and giving it a personality, based on its brand perception.
For instance, suppose the product is a Harley Davidson bike. Close your eyes and try to recollect everything you have ever known or seen about it, including features, utilities, vintage associations, brand image, advertisements, etc.
Now, suppose, if you were to play God and turn this legendary bike into a human being, what personality would it have, depending upon its product attributes? Let's see:
▪ definitely male
▪ age somewhere between mid thirties to early forties
▪ angular jawline, at least 6'3" tall, well-built and broad chested
▪ wardrobe consisting solely of denim and leather, with penchant for heavy metallic accessories, large tattoos and a few piercings
▪ would look good with a ponytail and a horseshoe mustache
These kinds of exercises and creative marketing ideas are used to lend a brand personality to a product and is adopted by many advertising and branding companies, in order to position the product for the target segment of the audience.

Rhythmic Imagery

Ask participants to listen to a piece of classical or opera concert, just the melody sans lyrics, and ask them to sketch or paint their feelings. Allow them to "paint" the melody by visualizing the effect of the melody on them. This exercise may produce interesting psychedelic art works and is good at stimulating surrealist images in the psyche.
This is one of the most effective exercises for artists who follow Abstract, Surrealism, Expressionism or Abstract Expressionism styles of painting, as they often get their artistic inspiration from musical imagery. You can come up with your own list of creative things to do, individually or in pairs/groups, to introduce some zing to your mundane activities!

Maverick Solutions

Coming out with maverick solutions for mundane issues is one of the most utilitarian creativity and innovation exercises. Mostly, in residential institutes, the college canteens face problems of massive food wastage on a daily basis.
Rather than dumping the wasted, half eaten food as garbage, the college authorities harvest it as compost and use it as a fertilizer for the gardens and grounds. This ensured that the waste was getting utilized after all, besides cutting cost of getting garden compost from elsewhere!

Regular Object, Irregular Use!

Provide regular objects to the participants and ask them to think of different uses for them. For instance, what can the different uses of a bottle of Coca Cola other than quenching thirst? Well, you can use a bottle of Coke to blow balloons (add a Mentos to the contents, quickly fix a deflated balloon to the bottle mouth and see)!
Empty beer cans may be used for decorative purposes (think out different ways!), nail polish remover can be used as an effective alternative for antiseptic solution in case of minor cuts; the list goes on!
Creativity is all about giving wings to imagination and letting it soar to various unexplored possibilities and solutions. Wanna floor the Department heads at that Annual Sales meeting? Conjure up some creative presentation ideas and attract some well-deserved attention!
Give intellect some rest and use instinct and basic reasoning power; you will be astounded by the results simple reasoning can reap! Creativity exercises, such as creative writing exercises, help to sharpen professional acumen are a fun way to explore your individual problem solving ways!
After all, creativity is all about breaking free of archetypes and imprinting your individuality on the things you do by the way you do them!