Brain Food for the Creative Genius

Step away from your desk and give your brain the energy it needs to churn out that next big idea. Sometimes, all you need to do is to fuel your brain by creating some mental space in order for your mind to explore. A tasty selection of creative exercises will give your brain the fuel it needs to become a true creative genius. Enjoy this sampling from The 30 Days to Creative Genius Ultimate Collection.

1. Monster Mash: Today, you and two partners are going to make a monster, but you’re going to do it one part at a time and independent of one another.

Each of you should have a blank piece of paper. Assign who will be doing the head, the torso and legs. Line the pages up vertically and put small tick marks at the areas that they cross to define where the neck will end and where the torso and legs will match up. From there, each of you will create your part of the monster. No rules—whatever kind of monster you want. When you all get done, line the pages back up and see what kind of twisted people you are!

2. Seeing What Sticks: Using your powers of design, visually depict the various actions, sequences, tasks and behaviors in a one-page visual narrative that allows you to analyze and explain how you make pasta.

mds_30dayscreativegenius-500_1Consider all the steps, including tools, equipment and ingredients. Represent the activity from a variety of perspectives, showing the various stages, sequences and events. Focus directly on the process of the activity, thinking through all of the subtleties of behavior rather than the expected outcome.

3. I’m Feeling Really, Really Lucky: Execute the following instructions to the letter: 1) Turn on the radio. 2) Write down the third and fourth words within the first complete sentence you hear from the announcer or in a song. 3) Type those words into the Google search engine. 4) Hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. 5) Redesign the user interface.

A good approach to this exercise would be to start with a rough inventory of all the content that is displayed on the page. Then, in sketch form, consider improvements to only the navigation. Move from the navigation to considerations of content organization: where material will appear on the page, via a sketched wireframe. After you’ve completed your wireframe, attack the visual design of your page and the discrete details of your information design and typography.

4. A Picture Says a Thousand Words: Captions to images help a lot, especially when the image is a bit vague. Given enough time, we’re sure you could figure out most pictures, but there is the occasional image that, simply put, is unexplainable. As simple as it may seem, that will be your task today.

Grab a partner. The two of you will be setting up and capturing three pictures that can’t be explained. These shots need to be something that, without a caption, have no meaning, but with a caption, still have no meaning. Like a guy in a tux holding a blender in front of a delivery truck that overturned into a river. How do you explain that? The answer is you can’t. Create three images that can’t be explained.

5. I’d Buy That for a Dollar: A startup incubator has tasked you with rethinking the very concept of a dollar store. Consider ways in which you can rebrand, restock, and otherwise reinvent a dollar store to provide products that are essential, sustainable and desirable.

After you’ve done your initial brainstorming, you should be able to describe the overall positioning of your store, provide a name and identity for the store, and visually describe what the space would look like.

Looking for more creative exercises? Get The 30 Days to Creative Genius Ultimate Collection