The Reality TV Creativity Challenge – An Exercise for Building Creative Muscle

Building Creative Brainpower

I admit it. I’m a huge fan of reality TV shows centered around creativity, innovation and business. I love:

  • Work of Art (sadly cancelled, but still on iTunes)
  • Face Off (Syfy Channel’s contest to find the next great special effects make up artist)
  • Shark Tank (where inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investor “sharks” – check out my weekly Shark Tank re-cap on Facebook)
  • All on the Line (Sundance Channel’s fashiondesigner-in-crisis series hosted by Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine)
  • Kell on Earth (a peak inside fashion PR rock star’s Kelly Cutrone’s business – cancelled, but on iTunes)
  • 9 by Design (follows the uber original husband-wife interior design team, The Novogratz (formerly, Sixx Design) – cancelled, but on iTunes)
  • Project Runway (Bravo’s long-running fashion designer challenge)

Okay, I could add about five more to this list, but I’ll stop now.

The point is, these shows always get my creativity flowing and have been the impetus for countless personal projects – usually unrelated to what I’ve just watched. It’s simply witnessing others create amazing things that sparks my desire to create.  

But besides personal creative inspiration, there are two additional gifts I get from these shows:

  1. Creative life lessons – which I’ll share in a post next week
  2. The chance to challenge my own creativity and ability to innovate – and that’s what
    this post is about.

The Reality TV Creativity Challenge: An Exercise for Building Your Creative Muscle

You can be an at-home contestant on any challenge- and creativity-based reality TV show, simply by pausing the show when the contestants are told to come up with their ideas for addressing the challenge.

At that point in the show, you have the creative brief and the opportunity to come up with ideas of your own.

After you’re done brainstorming, re-start the show and see what the contestants came up with, and even how your ideas compare (remembering that every idea you create has value.)

Here’s the step by step:

  1. Pick a reality TV show that’s based on idea generation – a show where contestants must come up with ideas on the spot and are given about 30min to decide what they’ll create.
  2. View the show via a format you can pause.
  3. Watch the show through the description of the creative challenge and up until the time when contestants are let loose to come up with ideas.
  5. At this point, you’re in the challenge, too. So, set a timer for about 15-60min (your choice, after all, you’re not really on the show), and brainstorm until you come up with exactly what you would do IF you were really on the show.
  7. Have fun seeing what others created from a whole new perspective – as a participant in the challenge.
  8. With love and without too much judgment, see how your ideas compare. How would you evolve your idea after seeing what others did? What would you add, lose, strengthen, leave the same?
  9. Watch the rest of the show to see how everyone’s creations turned out, BUT PAUSE AGAIN RIGHT BEFORE THE JUDGING.
  10. Give yourself a placing in the ranks based on what you think your idea might have turned out like if it was executed brilliantly.

Did you crash and burn? Did you rock it?

Nothing wrong with losing, nothing wrong with winning. It’s just TV.

To testing ourselves.

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