What does creativity mean to you? I used to think that being creative was really only for artists and musicians. I had some talented friends who could draw incredibly imaginative creatures that could have belonged in a Harry Potter or Star Wars movie. I barely could draw stick figures. Then I took an art class and had this incredible teacher who taught art in a way that anyone could be extremely creative with some technique and hard work. I'll never be a cartoon artist but found that I could create some different forms of art. I could be creative in the right environment!
It really became apparent in the business-world when I used to negotiate contracts that creative solutions were a must! Negotiating is really just a form of conflict resolution. Usually one party wants one thing and the other party wants another. And you have to come up with a solution - another option or a combination of things that satisfies both parties. This is an incredibly creative process with many moving parts (and of course personalities!).
Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand which is important to move forward, make changes, and be competitive! And you need not be an artist to be creative. In fact, it's an absolute MUST that everyone is as creative and innovative as possible whether you're an engineer, a marketing guru, or a parent! This will allow great transformation on some of our biggest challenges in our work, our life, and in the world!
Here are three ways that you can be more creative in what you do and get your creative juices flowing and create big leaps in innovation:
1) Clarity and Focus
For some, creativity sounds very random and organic. This certainly can be the case like getting a genius idea in the shower! But in this complex world with so many choices and uncertainty, a little directed creative with some intention will help filter out some of the chaos.
So before you get started, ensure that you are clear and focused! When you are really clear on what you want to achieve or where you are going, then it is much easier to direct your energy and focus on finding the most creative, innovative solution to your biggest challenges! Take the problem or the challenge that you are facing and put it into a form of a question with as much detail as you can articulate without putting limits or boundaries on the solution. When you have a question using a positive reference point, it is much easier for your brain to come up with a solution and generate new ideas.
2) Generating New Ideas
Kids play and are proud to show you their creations. Ask an adult to draw a picture, and most will shutter at the thought. But if you want to generate new ideas, then you need to create a safe environment of trust to brainstorm. It's funny to say, but it doesn't hurt to create a few rules (really to break your existing rules) like having no judgment on ideas, and no "yeah, but"ing going on to cast out an idea before it gets out there! At this stage, no idea is bad and the volume of ideas is key!
You can improve idea generation by integrating an innovative culture where everyone is encouraged to bring their ideas forward to make changes and improvements. Collaborating with many to define a future direction will not only improve the idea generation process but will also engage, empower and value everyone involved. Adopt a "Why not?" attitude that invites crazy ideas.
When people are comfortable to throw their crazy idea out there, then you know you're getting somewhere. One crazy idea in combination with another crazy idea may be your next version of the 3M Sticky Note! Voila....the beginnings of innovation!
Once you have some crazy ideas generated, then some rational more serious thought can be put on what ones are the best to take to the next phase. You don't necessarily want to put all your eggs in one basket and bet the farm on a single idea. Make your best ideas into reality in small fast steps that reduce the risk, allow you to gain experience and create influential REAL stories, and see whether it makes sense to move forward! The most important part of this step is SPEED!
Hope this gets you started in integrating creativity into your work and life and starts conversations everywhere that start like "I've got this crazy idea, what do you think"!
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