Pick up the January 2008 copy of the magazine Fast Company and flip to Chip and Dan Heath's monthly article (Made to Stick authors).
Basically they are making a point for getting in the box instead of getting out of the box when you need to get specifically creative. The secret is to just pick the right box.
I experienced this recently with the phenomenal student leaders known as the Wisconsin and Indiana FFA State Officers. Every fall I work with FFA leaders to create content and sharpen their delivery skills for spring banquet talks. These students will reach thousands of FFA members traveling their respective state.
Part of the training includes helping the students develop their speech topic, their main points and a list of potential supporting material. This creative process is exactly what Chip and Dan are talking about. Any moments of inspiration and innovative content creation came from working on a specific part of a speech. The inspiration didn't come from staring at a blank sheet. It was born from thinking about how to say this word better or that concept in a new way.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. What area or project in your life needs some innovative or creative thinking?
2. What time and environment will allow you to just focus on this task?