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Creative Process: Alison Coward

Creativity & Innovation

Alison Coward is founder of Bracket, a creative collaboration agency based in London. She specialises in building bespoke teams for creative and innovation projects.

Do you follow a creative process?

Vaguely! Whenever I have an idea, my first step is to get it out of my head into some kind of mindmap – often using good old coloured pens and paper! Then I’ll see if I can make sense of any part of it, to see how I can start making it happen– whether that’s more research, speaking to someone or something else.

What’s the best idea you’ve had recently? Tell us where you were, what you were doing, where you found inspiration.

I don’t think I’ve had a true ‘eureka’ moment recently. Most of my new ideas been incubated for a while, and gradually developed. Although lately I’m trying to get ideas out in the open much earlier rather than sitting on them for too long.

Does technology help or hinder creativity?

There are lots of tools that can facilitate the individual or group creative process – whether that’s apps that help you to bookmark or share inspirational content, or ways of logging your thoughts. But technology can obviously also act as a distraction too, interrupting a creative flow.

I’m a big advocate of online tools to support creative collaboration – but often they work well as a support for in-person communication, rather than a replacement. Most projects I work on start off online, and once the team has developed a workflow, parts of it can then be transferred online.

Do you use group brainstorms? If so, how do you run them?

Yes, I do them often for other teams. An insight into how I run them here.

What’s the biggest challenge facing creative people?

I would say ‘turning ideas into action’. Scott Belsky’s book “Making Ideas Happen” discusses this, plus gives lots of techniques to help push through it.

Can creativity be taught?

I think it’s less about it being ‘taught’ and more about re-training the brain. Being creative doesn’t just mean artistic in the traditional sense – it might mean just looking at things differently, new ways of dealing with situations etc. So we’ve all got the ability to do that, we might just have to be reminded how.

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