How to Think Like a Creative

The age old dilemma – how to find inspiration when you're faced with nothing but a blank wall in response? Creativity is a fickle friend and sometimes (no matter how much we want it) that much-needed stroke of brilliance is simply nowhere to be found.

The things is, each and everyone of us is capable of great creative thinking – we just need a little help every now and again. So, we reached out to brilliant minds across Bastion Collective and asked them, “How do you stay inspired?”

Katya Farrin-Brocks, General Manager NSW, Bastion Effect

I have three standard fail-safe approaches to tap into my creative thinking when I'm trying to solve a brief:

 1. Idea hopping

‘Idea hopping’ is where you take a random object that isn’t relevant to the project at hand, and apply the same brief to it. For instance, if I'm tasked with marketing hand cream to 20-35 year-olds, I'll choose a toothbrush and think of how I'd market it to the same audience. I find that this process is most productive when done in the shower, with a notepad nearby for when inspiration strikes. This gets me out of the loop my brain is in to develop new ideas.

 2. A walk out in nature

I’ll jump in the car and head somewhere new for a long walk. Whether it’s a park, the beach or the mountains, new surroundings help break the mind’s habits.

3. Mind mapping

Sometimes all I need is a stack of A3 paper, some blue tack, coloured pens and a quiet room with clear walls. I'll capture a stream of thoughts on the paper and put them up on the wall and before I know it I’ll have surrounded myself by ideas.

Heather Brick, Designer, Bastion Collective

When it comes to thinking creatively, I collect visual references like a bowerbird collects shiny things. Whether it's an amazing type-treatment from an awesome design studio, spatial models of clouds built by an artist in the Czech Republic or a coat-hanger manipulated into the shape of a gap-toothed smile – the internet is my best friend and an endless source of inspiration. 

My favourite sites are:





Brendan McGrath, Creative Director, Bastion EBA

Great creative thoughts can happen out of the blue, but planning to be creative will increase your strike rate. For me this involves blocking out time each morning for creative thinking and making sure I continually consume diverse inspiration from industry journals, newspapers, peers, social media and most importantly - watching how the world interacts.

A few of my top sources are: