Five Ways to Get Back into Creative Mode

As a designer, I know firsthand that creativity isn't always a constant stream. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we hit a wall—a creative block that can often seem unbeatable. Yet, finding ways to get into a creative mindset is crucial for refreshing innovation and designing products that resonate with users. Here are five strategies I've found useful in overcoming creative hurdles and sparking that inspiration we're craving.

by Katie Hunter (Ba)Hons

Five Ways to Get Back into Creative Mode

"Creativity is not just about reaching a destination, but about enjoying the process."

1. Try Taking a Step Back

Sometimes the best way to overcome a creative block is to not force creativity. This process is something that cannot be rushed. Putting pressure on yourself can almost make you trap yourself into exploring only a few areas for inspiration. By taking a step back and shifting your focus to something new, you can help expand your mind. Whether it's changing to another work task, engaging with art, exploring a whole new discipline, or simply going out for a walk, changing your focus can clear your mind and rejuvenate your creative energies without the pressure to rush the process.

2. Stepping into the User's Shoes

A powerful method to rekindle creativity is by empathising with your users. Viewing the problem from the user's perspective can reveal insights and solutions that were previously overlooked. This empathetic approach not only fosters innovation but also ensures the end product resonates well with its intended audience.

3. Collaborate: Sharing is Caring!

Collaboration can be a powerful tool for sparking creativity. Sharing ideas with others, participating in brainstorming sessions, and getting feedback can open up new perspectives you may not have known to explore on your own. Everyone thinks differently, coming from varying backgrounds and having previous experience from different industries. Collaboration encourages diverse thinking, turning the "me" into an "us" that can lead to solutions that you may have never considered alone. So when in doubt, remember: two heads (or three or ten) are sometimes better than one.

4. Use Brainstorming Tools

Tools can be incredibly effective when you want to overcome creative blocks. There are various tools you can choose to help get those creative juices flowing by initiating engaging and productive workshops, removing barriers, providing clarity, and making it fun!

Tools like MindMeister or XMind allow teams to visually map out ideas, showing the connections between thoughts and themes. This is great for expanding on central ideas and exploring different avenues of thought.

There are also platforms like Miro or MURAL that offer collaborative online whiteboards where teams can brainstorm, sketch, and organize ideas in real-time, regardless of people’s physical location. These tools come with templates for various brainstorming techniques and can integrate with other work tools too.

My team, for example, often uses a tool called Pip Decks. Pip Decks are designed to offer you a more structured way to explore ideas, encourage participation, and channel the collective creativity of a team.

5. Laying Down?!

A bit more of an obscure one for you now - did you know that lying down might just be the secret sauce to unlocking your creative genius? It's true! Historical giants like Aristotle, Newton, and even the creative powerhouse Salvador Dalí were known to harness the power of horizontal thinking. Picture this: Aristotle sprawled out beneath the olive trees, Newton reclining with an apple poised precariously above, and Dalí dozing off with a key in hand all in the pursuit of creative enlightenment.

It's not just about catching Z's or dodging the day's stresses; lying down puts the brain in a unique state that’s perfect for creative connections. So if you find yourself at a creative standstill, maybe it's time to kick back, lie down, and let the ideas flow. After all, if it's good enough for the minds that shaped our world, it's certainly worth a shot. Just remember, if anyone questions your unconventional methods, you're in good company—just following in the footsteps or rather the lie-downs of the greats.


In the constantly changing currents of creativity, every designer learns to steer through both calm and turbulent times alike. We've explored a range of strategies to rediscover our creativity: from taking a strategic step back to stepping into our users' shoes, embracing the collective brainpower through collaboration, leveraging the magic of brainstorming tools, and yes, even the unconventional wisdom of laying down to let ideas flow.

So, as we wrap up, remember that creativity is not just about reaching a destination but also about enjoying the process. It's about finding joy in the detours, learning from the scenic routes, and sometimes just laying back and looking at the stars above for guidance.

Whether you're meandering through a creative block or sailing smoothly, these strategies are here and ready to help.

Five Ways to Get Back into Creative Mode

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