07 October 2014

7 ways to boost your creative thinking

Thinking creatively is vital for everything from problem solving to inventing new products, so here are some ways to boost your creativity at work.

Creative thinking is not just for the artistic industries such as design and advertising. Creativity can be used to solve problems and make processes more efficient, as well as well as for more inventive tasks, such as coming up with new products or marketing strategies. Therefore it’s important to nurture both your own creativity and that of any staff you employ.

Creativity is about connecting ideas or concepts and looking at things with a different outlook. Sometimes, this can be hard to do, so here are some suggestions on how to fire up those creative juices.  

Change your perspective. This can be as simple as changing your environment. Swap desks with a colleague or work somewhere different for a day, such as a coworking venue. The latter also puts you in touch with new people, which can also help you see the world or perhaps just your problem, from a different outlook. Instead of considering how to make your process more efficient, think about what the most inefficient way would be and then flip it. Sometimes thinking about the opposite can help bring about a solution, by changing the way you look at the problem.

Brainstorm. This is best done as a group to promote sufficient stimulation, allowing you to generate ideas from one another’s contributions. The key point is to generate ideas or questions rather than evaluating them during the brainstorming process, so don’t criticise or dismiss any ideas.

Get some exercise. Yes, yet another reason why activity is good for you and your business! exercise can improve creativity by encouraging your mind to wander, as well as increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream and a whole host of other benefits.

Reduce focus. While many work tasks are best completed when you’re most alert and focused, the opposite is true for creative thinking, according to research. This is because creativity is about making new connections and thinking about things in different ways. So if you need to think outside of the box, try it when you’re tired.

Reward good ideas. Whether you simply praise a member of your team who comes up with a good idea or offer a monetary incentive, a reward can be very motivating.

Have some fun. According to psychological research, being in a positive mood encourages creative problem solving, because you’re more likely to be open-minded. So, make sure you take a break or allow your staff to have fun while brainstorming or working on projects. Having a relaxed work environment will definitely help with this.

Meditation. Not something you’ve considered for the workplace? As well as reducing stress and improving memory, Dutch researchers found that open monitoring, where you don’t focus on specific objects or sensations, improved participants’ creative abilities in a series of tasks.