Iliyana's Blog

Storytelling Must-Haves: The Art of Innovation and Staying Creative

[fa icon="calendar"] 13-May-2014 07:53:41 / by Iliyana Stareva

Now that you havehow to be innovative and stay creative learned why you need to harness to power of storytelling, how to create the perfect social media posts and how long each piece of content should be, it's time to get to the creative bit. Just knowing what you have to do is not enough. Execution is required too. You need to sit down and actually create those powerful stories, and it's not just about the type of content or the platform choice - it's about word play, video play and visual play, i.e. giving life to your stories. This requires innovation and creativity, but there's one thing that often hinders that process - lack of inspiration.

That's what we are going to tackle today and so hopefully, the next time you need that creativity spark, you'll remember the tips and advice from this post.

Let's start with the art of innovation.

Recently Guy Kawasaki, well-known author and entrepreneur, held a Ted Talk exactly on this topic. I know I've been integrating quite a few talks and videos in my blog posts lately, but they are just too good not to share with you.

In his speech, Kawasaki identifies 11 cornerstones of innovation. Even though these principles outline how to be innovative from a business perspective, they can be used on an individual basis too.

His tips talk about innovative product and business ideas, so I've adapted them to serve our storytelling purposes:

  • To be truly innovative you need to create something meaningful, something that changes the world, but you also need to know and explain why you are doing this in the first place.
  • You need to take risks and jump on the next curve by being a true pioneer.
  • Your storytelling needs to be DICEE - deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant.
  • You don't have to always wait for your story be perfect because you might miss the moment.
  • Be flexible and, if needed, adapt your storytelling towards your audiences' needs and how they see your story with their own eyes.
  • Make your storytelling highly personalised because no form of mass segmentation and targeting can make everyone happy.
  • Learn that innovation is a process and always continue to improve your storytelling approach and style to stay relevant and grow.
  • Make sure your storytelling is unique and valuable.
  • The perfect story starts with a customised introduction that gets your audience to care about it; it then moves on to "selling that dream" but avoids jargon and keeps it authentic.
  • Ignore the bozos who are trying to discourage you and believe in your story.

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Another important lesson to learn is that good ideas aren't magic without ground. They have always been build upon previous good ideas. As Kirby Ferguson puts it, creativity "happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials.” Those include three steps: copy, transform and combine.

  • Copy: No one can be original out of nowhere because we simply cannot create anything new and innovative without a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding on the matter. Copying is therefore how we learn.
  • Transform: This is about creating many various of one idea and making progress along the way.
  • Combine: By combining various ideas together is how dramatic creativity emerges.

These three steps for me are all about continuously learning from our own experiences and mistakes as well as from those of others. Creation in itself is a process, a growing development that requires using tried and tested tools combined with a new, experimental touch.

Finally, what do you do when you face writer's or creator's block? Where do you find inspiration when your mind seems not to function anymore? How do you develop your inner creativity?

'Wow ideas' don't just come out of nowhere. You need to be in the right place of mind to let creativity flow.

Before I move on to some practical tips, here's a short video that denominates some creativity stereotypes and explains how creativity thinking actually works, talking about the left and the right brain, speed of thinking, originality and flexibility of thought, imagination and association.

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Basically, everything that surrounds you can help you get creative. You just need to open your eyes, ears and other senses and let your mind devour that inspiration and make the connections.

The following video and infographic should give you some ideas about little things you can do every day to spark your creativity juices. My favourite ones are:

  • Go somewhere new.
  • Take breaks.
  • Don't force it.
  • Listen to new music.
  • Get feedback.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Keep learning.
  • Write down everything.
  • Do what makes you happy.

How do you stay creative?

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(Click on the infographic for a larger view)

16 ways to stay creative Infographic

If you want to go a step further and learn even more about inspiration from some pioneering thinkers, I recommend for you to check out "The Little Book of Inspiration" with 24 pages of useful tips - it's free!

Infographic by mycleveragency

Topics: Storytelling

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Program Manager in the Chief of Staff office for CX EMEAR at Cisco where she is the operational leader for all things Customer Success. In her previous roles at HubSpot, she led major cross-functional change for the global Partner Program with her detail-oriented approach to project management and advised hundreds of agencies on how to transform their businesses with inbound and digital. During that time, she earned the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification by the PMI. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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