Did you ever play superhero as a kid? (My favorite was Aquaman, which in retrospect truly baffles me, because he was only useful for solving nau- tical crimes.) We would run around our neighborhood pretending to be our favorite hero, blasting one another with invisible rays and “flying” across fences to confront the supervillains (played by our coerced younger siblings). Of course, we heroes always won the day.
In some cases, childhood play can be a good model for adult cre- ative play as well. Emulating your heroes is a valuable method for sparking new pathways of thought or breaking out of process ruts and mental traps.
How would Abraham Lincoln resolve the argument you’re having over the direction of your current project? How might Mary Barra approach leading your team through this season of change? How would Steve Jobs lead the design of your new app? What advice might MLK give you about your team’s dynamics?
Thinking about the work of your heroes can help you bust out of ruts and take a fresh look at your projects. Read deeply and broadly about great contributors of the past, then reflect on them when you need a fresh perspective. Consider the problems they encountered and how they approached them. Consider their mistakes (everyone makes them!) and how you can avoid them.
Spark fresh creative insight by emulating your superheroes.
When you’re stuck, ask what your heroes might do.
Who is someone you deeply admire? is there a method they used that you can borrow?