GLAD WORKS on Thinking Differently

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

With the passing of Steve Jobs last week, we’ve been talking amongst ourselves about what it means to think outside the box, push boundaries, and truly explore the possibilities. If the words we opened with sound familiar, it’s because they’re from Apple Computer’s 1997 “Think Different” ad campaign. A copywriter at an ad agency wrote them, specifically for Apple, but we thought we’d share them with you today because they resonate with us in a big way.

You see, GLAD WORKS friends, as creatives at a creative agency, we are the crazy ones too. Many of us here were the artsy kids from high school and the nerds from the AV club. When other kids were playing football and cheerleading, some of us were writing emo poetry under the bleachers and sitting in our bedrooms playing around with HTML coding.

We are the renegades. When people tell us we cannot do things, we look at them and say, “Watch us!” And then we do it. And people sometimes even give us trophies for it. But being creative thinkers is not always easy. We have to constantly challenge our thinking so we can be sure we’re delivering the best product to our clients.

So, what does it really mean to be someone who thinks outside the box? When you think about it, it’s a cliché term we use when we’re trying to avoid clichéd situations by approaching things in ways that aren’t clichéd. Kind of ironic, right? “Think outside the box” is one of the biggest business clichés going!  How about if we redefine it? Why not rip the box apart and build a trapezoid?

But how many people actually DO that?

How many people really and truly approach problems in a new and innovative way? How might one go about it, even? 

Today we have for you a quick list of some of the things we do here to work through blocks in creativity and avoid being “boxed in.” 

Go for a walk

We go for walks every day at lunch. It gets our blood flowing and our brains working. It also helps us avoid that awful mid-day slump. Sometimes we just chitchat and do a little team bonding, but other times, when someone is working on a particularly tough project, we use our walks to help work thorough blocks in creativity. There’s something about doing something physical when you’re stuck mentally that helps work out the goo that’s gumming up the works!

Draw a picture, write a story

Sometimes working through a tough creativity block is a matter of sitting down and sketching out the whole project, or at least the pieces of it that you have nailed down (or sort of nailed down). Drawing actually activates other parts of your brain, helping you see what you might not have seen before.  Writing a story about what you’re doing is helpful too if for no other reason than to help you work through your challenges on paper. Then you can go through and break it down so you can build it up!

Look at what the competition is doing. Then, do the opposite.

It’s tempting to just do what everyone else is doing when faced with a similar problem to your own—after all, it’s safe and it works! But what would happen if you took the opposite approach? Did your mom ever say to you, “If everyone else were jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?” Of course you wouldn’t! So, get out there and run the other way. You’ll be surprised how quickly people start following you!

Ask a kid

This sounds like insane advice, but it can really work. If you have access to a child, ask them for help. They think differently than we do—their little imaginations are ripe with creative ideas. This is not to say that their advice is going to be good. Most likely, it will be ludicrous. However, the process of explaining the problem so that they understand it, might help you wrap your brain around it too. And you never know. Maybe the kid will have a good idea!

There are a ton more tricks you can use to keep the creative juices flowing, but we can’t share them all with you. You won’t need us anymore!

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