How to Generate Ideas – Five Secrets to Creativity

By Petra Clayton

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
George Bernard Shaw

Epiphanies are few and far between but when they come it’s like a gift from the universe itself. So what do you do when you’re up against it in the work place, short of time and tackling a to do list thicker than the good book?

The hospitality industry is continuously evolving and to stay ahead of the game, hospitality professionals have to be creative, think on their feet and outsmart the competition to secure those all-important bookings and make sure guests have the best experience possible.

The modern world is more competitive than ever. The challenge is to free yourself from the norm, step out of your comfort zone and find new ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Feeling overwhelmed? Worry not kōhai for I have put together a list of 5 ways you, yes you, can access the secrets to creativity and have ideas pouring from your mind with fluidity equal to the great falls of Niagara.


1.)  Challenge the status quo

It’s not easy being that salmon swimming against the stream and it takes courage to speak up against a business culture that is set in its ways. It is however vital for success in the modern world to be innovative and to do that, organisations must celebrate both success and failure.

Creating a business culture where creativity can flourish will see new innovations come to light which can lead to business growth.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you fail, learn from your mistakes. If you are not failing sometimes, you are not trying hard enough!

2.)  Solve problems by creating them

Let’s say that you need to sell more cookies. This is the problem. Rather than thinking how you can sell more cookies, why not think about how you can make the problem worse and sell less cookies. How can you sell less cookies?

Once you have the answers, flip them around again and you might just have found the solution to sell more cookies and make more dough!

3.)  What would [insert idol here] do?

Channelling the great and good can give you just what you need to get the creative candy popping. Ask yourself who is the best suited to solve your dilemma and pretend for just a moment, you are that person. It might be the president of the United States, Mahatma Gandhi or even someone you admire in the workplace.

By taking yourself outside of yourself and embodying an idol’s traits, you give yourself permission to think differently potentially leading to idea generation and a new path.

4.)  Why so serious?

As Pablo Picasso puts it ‘Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up’.

It’s easier said than done with our busy modern lives with bills to pay and people to please but don’t be afraid to be a little playful every now and then. Play with ideas, don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t worry about looking stupid. Sometimes you will come up with a dozen bad ideas before you land on one that makes perfect sense. Stop being so serious and reignite your childhood traits:

  • Curiosity
  • Exploration
  • Imagination

5.)  Life experience

Finally, the more exposure you have of the world the more knowledge and insight you can draw upon to generate new ideas. So go forth, get out into the world, read, see, eat and experience all you can and before you know it, you won’t have to rely on epiphanies at all!

Custard creates healthier hospitality businesses through clever communications. For a consultation and to discuss your requirements further call 01483 740747 and ask for Petra.