No matter what type of business you’re in, you can benefit from injecting a little creative thinking to your problem solving and marketing efforts. Creativity is often associated with artists, musicians and writers. After all, they make a living solely by directly being.
In the business arena you face many challenges whether it applies to supply chain logistics, marketing strategies or team building among your staff. A proactive approach to tackling all of those challenges is to apply creative thinking techniques. Let’s assume for the purpose of this discussion that you’re stuck on a problem. We’ve all been there. Here then are five ways to be more creative and to solve those problems:
Do your homework
The best approach to being more creative is to become more informed. You’re staring at the greatest information resource available in the modern age: The Internet. Whatever the topic, you’re sure to find plenty of information from YouTube videos to TED talks to websites devoted to the subject matter. For instance, if you’ve been tasked to come up with a new type of breakfast sandwich you’d want to research about what folks eat for breakfast, when they eat that meal and how fast they want to eat (among some of the topics). Armed with that information you can now build your better breakfast sandwich. That’s because you’ve probably been inspired along the way with all those facts you dug up for your “homework.”
Bring in the team
You probably have a “go-to” creative team that is there for all of your company’s problem solving. These are the folks who should always be encouraged to brainstorm ideas. This is where the philosophy of “there is no such thing as a bad idea” comes into play. Throw everything on the table and see what sticks. It just might be that the idea doesn’t work for this situation but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed. To be more creative you might want to occasionally expand your “go-to” team. Hit the streets for a quick opinion poll. Ask the sandwich person or barista what they think of your idea. If you’re doing anything related to kids then bring in the kids. This doesn’t mean you have to set up a formal focus group for every idea. Instead, just reach outside of your comfort zone for fresh ideas and opinions as needed.
Set up play time
There is a reason why companies like Google and Facebook have play areas for their employees. Allowing your staff to take a break and knock a ping-pong ball around or fire up the Xbox is a great way for them to turn off their “working brain” and let their “play brain” take over. When that happens, the subconscious is free to process and be creative. This applies to your own creative thinking process as well. Take a break and go fly a kite.
Sometimes all it takes to get the creative juices flowing is to change your perspective. This could be as simple as sitting in your office on the chair reserved for guests. What do they see from that side of the desk? It might also help to get out of the office for field trip to a nearby museum or library. There’s no telling what you can come up with once you step out into the world.
Bring your ideas to life
Don’t discount the power of the dry erase board or a mound of clay. Once you’ve got the beginnings of creative ideas try to bring them to life. Draw them out or build them out of clay or Legos. You’ll start to see right away what works and what doesn’t work. Keep in mind that drawing out an idea works for a specific product design and a structural flow chart. It’s all part of being creative.