“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learned. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and, where appropriate, profits.” Dr. Edward DeBono
Welcome back to the latest Time-to-Think article. Today, it’s Time-to-Think about how to inject creative thinking into your workday. This will allow you to develop more innovative solutions to your problems and opportunities.
In today’s complex and highly dynamic business world, many people are rushing from meeting to meeting, chasing task after task, trying to fit as much as possible into their diaries. We are working harder-and-harder. But, we are not taking time-to-think creatively about better ways of doing things, and developing more innovative solutions. In addition to this, our education system and organisations are generally set-up to educate and operate in logical and process driven (left-brain) ways. We don’t generally put as much focus on educating and operating in more creative, right-brain ways. As a result, we have a problem. We are not working in ways that are as smart and effective as they could be. This is hurting us from a business perspective. We need to learn how to inject creative thinking into our workday, if we are to be more effective and innovative in our work.
Many of us struggle with how to think creatively. Here are 10 tips to help you inject creative thinking into your workday:
- Take Time-To-Think Creatively: This tip may seem pretty obvious, but many of us don’t put time aside to think creatively. Busyness is the enemy of creative thinking! Taking time out to be more creative – individually and collectively – can be very valuable.
- FUEL Ideas : Instead of judging and criticising the ideas of other colleagues, try building and fuelling them instead!
F = Forget Judging for now – practice the two-minute pause
U = Seek to understand the idea –“Tell me more…”
E = Explore the idea –“What are the positives in this idea….?”
L = Listen and then add to the idea “Say…Yes, and…”
- Make Mistakes!: Creativity involves allowing yourself to make mistakes. Unless you learn to experiment and subsequently try and fail, you will never learn to think creatively. Creativity follows a trial and error method. Make “Fail, Learn, Adapt” your creativity mantra!
- Seek-Out Diverse Opinions: Seek out people with diverse opinions and ask them for ideas to help solve your problem/capitalise on your opportunity. For this to work, you will need to stay open and look for the “gold” in their perspectives.
- Go For A Walk: Instead of sitting at your desk thinking harder about solutions to your problems – go for a walk. A walk is a great way to boost creativity. The endorphins released through exercise generate a feel-good sensation in the body and help the brain in idea generation. Get yourself away from your desk, and walk your way to new solutions!
- Think About Your Customer: Many times we come up with ideas that we like, but they do not meet the needs of our internal and external customers. This often leads to the development of inventions that don’t have any commercial benefit. We must meet the needs of our customer if we are to develop true innovations that have business impact. The Empathy Mapping tool is a very useful tool to help “walk-in-the-shoes” of your customer. More here: https://bmtoolbox.net/tools/empathy-map/
- Use Creativity Tools:Use creativity tools to help you and your team to think in non-linear, creative ways. There are lots of tools available nowadays in the design thinking arena – choose one and give it a try! Some examples can be found here: http://creatingminds.org/tools/tools_all.htm
- Let Go of Uncreative Habits: Make a list of some of your personal habits that get in the way of your ability to think creatively. Choose one of these habits and replace it with a habit that will foster creativity.
- Visualise Your Ideas: Use tools to visualise your ideas. For example….
- Draw a picture. Even if you think you can’t draw, you can at least doodle and no one ever has to see what you put to paper. Abstract problems – such as your relationship with someone or a heavy workload – benefit most from turning them into sketches.
- Make a collage. Grab some magazines and look for photos and ads. Cut-out any that relate to your problem in any way and glue them to a large piece of poster board. Keep this art near your desk where you can ponder it. You may get a new perspective on your problem.
- Build something. Legos, Tinkertoys, modeling clay and Play-Doh are all good materials you can use to build/prototype your idea.
- Implement Your Creative Ideas. No innovation happens without implementation! Nothing builds confidence like the successful implementation of creative ideas! So, don’t just think about it – do it! Or as Elvis puts it…..”A little less conversation, a little more action!
I would love to hear some of your tips also – feel free to share them on the post! Please tune in next time for more Time-To-Think discussions! Thank you.