We are all creatives. Yes, every one of us was born with the ability to find that in ourselves… even if it sometimes feels like work. According to Stanford professor (and future Re:Make 2015 speaker) Tina Seelig, it’s easier to tap into than we think. Can’t make it out to SF to hear Seelig’s advice in person this September? Check out some top tips from her TED Talk on how to get those creative juices flowin’.

Professor Seelig’s theory on how and when inspiration strikes includes this key component: a colorful flow chart she calls the “Innovation Engine.” The Innovation Engine is made up of six parts — three are interior and three are exterior, but all are tied together: attitude, imagination, knowledge, habitat, resources and culture. So, let’s break this down so you can start unlocking your creativity.

1. Rephrase questions. How you ask a question determines the kind of answer you get. For example, if you ask yourself yes or no questions, you are limiting yourself to just one of two potential answers. However, simply by rephrasing the question as an open-ended one, you give yourself access to infinite possibilities. For example, “Do I want to create *insert craft here*?” versus “What do I want to create?”

2. Pay attention. You never know where the seed of an idea will be planted. Thus, it’s super important to be present. It might be from a conversation with a co-worker and she makes a passing remark that gives you a great idea. Or perhaps inspiration will strike while watching your kids play with their friends on the playground. Stay mindful of your situation and watch the magic happen!

3. Change the way you see yourself. Being able to take an idea from conception to actualization has a lot to do with the ability to motivate yourself. You have to view yourself as someone who can. Professor Seelig says that most people view themselves as “puzzle builders,” people who put together pieces in order to solve a problem. However, if you’re missing a component, you will have an incomplete puzzle. Rather, she challenges us to be “quilt makers,” people who take the resources available to create something that is entirely unique and new. Which leads us to our next point…

4. Use what you’ve got. One of the things Professor Seelig discourages people from doing is trying to replicate someone else’s resources. According to Seelig, the “grass is always greener” type of mentality is a complete roadblock when it comes to creativity. More of a sewer than a knitter? Put your own special gifts to good use! Do what you can with the supplies you have, and that will give you more time to focus on creating something incredible.

5. Find a creative space. Your surroundings play a major role in influencing how you feel and how you think. It’s important that you nurture your creativity by making a safe space for it to flourish. There are many steps you can take in designing your ultimate creative space. Try making sure the temperature is nice and cool, playing lots of ambient music and also keeping lots of snacks handy for the times hunger strikes, so you can keep on working without disturbance.

6. Surround yourself with like-minded people. The people around us, their attitudes, practices, beliefs and views, reflect the underlying culture of our world. Therefore, it’s very important to create a culture of creativity and surround yourself with out-of-the-box thinkers. Utilizing you peers as a sounding board is a great way to grow your ideas — and it helps if they’re also out-of-the-box thinkers!

Get your tickets to Re:Make 2015 here!

Do you have any tricks for getting creative? Tell us in the comments below!