How to be more creative in 5 simple steps

How many uses can you think of for a paperclip in three minutes?

If you’re average, you’ll probably be able to drum up 10 or perhaps 20 different uses. I came up with 11. The somewhat famous paperclip test was created in 1967 by J.P. Guilford as a measure of divergent thinking. It’s part of a group of assessments known as ‘alternative use tests’ which measure creativity.

Start of an incomplete figure test.
Start of an incomplete figure test.

The above example shows a common incomplete figure exercise. This test asks users to complete the picture in each window. This is another test of divergent thinking, the more creative you are the more interesting the results tend to be (see below).

Incomplete Figure exercise

If you didn’t come up with this given the start above, read on.

Creativity is often viewed as something you either have or you don’t. But that’s not entirely true, according to a study completed by Harvard, creativity is 85% a learned skill. That means we can improve. The question is how?

Find out how on the Crew blog.

10 Content Strategies to Rapidly Build a Larger Audience

Content marketing has exploded in popularity over the last few years with seemingly every business kicking up their own blog or publishing guides and ebooks. In practice, content marketing involves generating valuable content that subtly promotes your brand and attracts an audience, who will hopefully one day become customers. While some businesses have a knack for creating content readers love, others, however, fall short, particularly on content that “attracts an audience.”

What separates the content marketing winners from the losers? I chatted with five top marketers heading up established blogs to find out what helps to set them apart from the rest.

Learn from companies like Buffer and Crew on the Zapier blog.

The Modern Mentor: A Guide to Courting Influencers

I learn the most from people I’ve never met.

I’m constantly reading books, listening to podcasts, and attending conferences weeding through a tidal wave of information and applying specific lessons to what I’m working on.

In theory, I would refer to these individuals I’ve learned from as mentors, but the relationship doesn’t seem to fit the typical mold.

Mentorship implies some sort of contractual relationship. One individual is designated the mentor, tasked with providing innumerable bits of knowledge, while the other is the mentee—the fortunate recipient of this insight.

But these days that’s not how it goes.

“Asking someone to be a formal mentor is the absolute best way to never have a good mentor.”

– Tim Ferriss

So, if you’re not supposed to come out and ask, how does anyone ever get mentored? More importantly, how exactly do you ask for help? I dug through advice from experienced mentors and drew from a recent interaction I had with a mentor of mine to come up with some do’s and don’ts when looking for and building a relationship with a modern mentor.

Find out in this post on the Crew blog.