How To Think Creatively.

What once was a decaying NYC eyesore is now a hugely successful financial engine. The High Line, an old elevated rail-bed turned world-class park, has generated $2 billion in private investment and 12,000 new jobs in the area, including 8,000 new construction jobs.

Who would have thought?

A simple idea, mixed with enthusiastic support equals powerful change.

So how do you think creatively? Here's how I do it:

Step One - Eliminate Distractions

Turn off your email. Set your phone to voicemail. Go to an area where there are no home or work distractions. Sit in a comfortable chair with a clean table (a dining room table works best - dining rooms are BORING). Tell everyone to leave you alone for one hour.

Step Two - Get A Clean Piece Of Paper

If you can get an 11" x 17" sheet, great! Or regular size is fine too. Just make it white and clean. Get your favorite pen, pencil, or marker - we are going for broad-brush ideas. No erasers  - allowed mistakes and changed directions are encouraged!

Step Three - Don't Second Guess . . . Brainstorm

Now start laying out your idea. What are the basic elements? Don't write sentences . . . keep it to bold words or short phrases. Circle them. Cross stuff out (don't worry about making a mess). Fill the page with all the disparate ideas, tasks, activities, people, things, etc. you can think of.

Step Four - Step Back . . . Look For Connections

Now step back and look for ways to connect ideas together. Connect the What to the When to the Who to the Where. Forget about Why and How for now. Just focus on connecting, building, modifying, editing, and forming your creative vision.

Step Five - Build An Idea . . . Develop Activities . . . Set Dates

Now take a clean sheet and begin to move over the salient elements to coalesce your vision. Start to priortize each step, which one should come first, then second, then third. Start assigning how long each will take (ballpark) and who needs to be involved. Then align them all and develop a schedule.

Try it. This is how I develop new ideas for my business. It's worked for me for over 30 years. 

Now it's your turn.

If you're interested in The High Line, click here.