Dream & Do

Tara’s Top Tips for living a creative life

Dream & DoComment
Two of our audience members at Cereal Entrepreneurs trying out one of Tara's creativity exercises

Two of our audience members at Cereal Entrepreneurs trying out one of Tara's creativity exercises

"You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person." – Elizabeth Gilbert

One of the key motivations of Dream & Do is the desire to combine business with creativity, and spread that message. Businesses come to the agency when they’re feeling stale or stifled, unsure of the next step, or how to reach their target market/audience through new and creative methods. 

Dream & Do’s founder Tara Shelton runs monthly workshops at Australia’s biggest school for entrepreneurs, The Entourage, in finding your niche and using creative solutions to business problems. The workshop ‘Don’t be like the rest of them darling’, is all about innovation and creativity as being drivers of your business. A lot of CEOs and business managers tend to look at efficiency and that can only improve your business incrementally. Tara’s two favourite techniques for igniting creative ideas are brain-writing and random object association.

Brain-writing

There are loads of ways to come up with ideas outside of a brainstorm; it’s the most well-known but least effective tool. It invites scattered, unburdened thoughts, but in a group session certain personalities can take over and people don’t naturally feel confident to voice their ideas. A great way to get around this is by practising brain-writing. Each person has paper and a pen and spends four minutes brainstorming ideas on a particular topic. They then pass it on to the next person and they spend a few minutes building and elaborating on those ideas. 

Random object association

Ideas are everywhere. Logical thinking is the enemy of creativity. You have to make your brain take a different, unexpected path it wouldn’t have taken before. Grab a random object like bottle or stapler and try to think of an idea based around this object that’s relevant to your business. For example, at The Entourage recently, I had a guy who started a craft beer label for women, and his random object was a jar or spiral paper clips that reminded him of Goldilocks hair. From there, we came up with a marketing campaign involving fairytales and Little Bo Peep, with a herding crook as a bottle opener to sell the beer to women! 

Tara using random object association to solve a business issue for an audience member at a Cereal Entrepreneurs event

Tara using random object association to solve a business issue for an audience member at a Cereal Entrepreneurs event

Keep in mind that our  brain in the laziest organ. It will find the quickest way to do something. First ideas are just memories. If you push people further, they will come up with ordinary ideas, ideas they know work, similar to memories. Most ideas are based on knowledge we already have, so increasing our variety of knowledge is the key to forming new connections and, hence, new ideas.

Creativity is another motivation behind the breakfast event series, Cereal Entrepreneurs. The purpose was to create an event that was fun, un-stuffy, and celebrates creativity. The second half of the event sees Tara running a live creative workshop of audience members’ business issues and questions, to showcase techniques we use at the agency and prove that by opening your mind, ideas can be found anywhere.

Being open to new experiences and ideas, and living a flexible life is the key to being creative. You’re only as creative as the experiences you’ve had. A good way to be creative is to do something different every day. Take a different route, different coffee shop, read a different magazine. The more you expand your mind, the more you have to draw from.

Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her best-selling book, Eat Pray Love, but in more recent years she’s become an expert on creativity and an advocate for living a creative life. She’s written a recent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, runs a podcast about creativity, and you should also watch this amazing TED talk...

“So take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require (and how much you need to pay) in order to become creatively legitimate.”