Humans tend be to attracted to novelty – Oo, the shiny new thing – but sometimes what we need is in what we know already. This post is another in a my series on ‘Filling the Kalideascope‘ – gathering inputs to the creative process. Today’s input is your previous project work.

It may seem obvious but your previous projects are things that you know, or at least at some point have known, a great deal about. In the model of idea generation I have been discussing in this blog, ideas come from creating new connections between existing elements. The existing elements could be previous projects, and we simply need to reminded of them.

I have written previously about the importance of curating creative inputs. If your project work is visual, then gather and display photos of your previous work. Simply writing a list of projects could help. In a process which mimics the ‘Professional Palette’ technique I’ll write about next week, you could just run through a check list of previous projects and think out loud, is there anything in these previous projects that is relevant.

In a company context, this source of creative inputs and extend to projects that your company has delivered. You may need to reach out to other people to get the inputs you need, but it is much easier to do this with a project your company has worked on than with a competitor.

This return to what we know reminds me of some advice on creativity from author John-Paul Flintoff in episode 10 of the Eiffel Over podcast. Referring to the show notes he says:

A great skill for any creative work is to be able to fall in love with what you already do, even when you’ve got used to it and got a bit bored and to approach it with fresh eyes. John-Paul Flintoff.

John-Paul Flintoff – Eiffel Over podcast episode 10, Saving the World one Creative Project at a Time.