Every new and existing company needs high doses of creativity to succeed and stay on top. In today’s competitive market, how do you set yourself apart from others to be an entrepreneur with an unmistakable edge? Innovation really means finding new ways to add value to your business. And that translates into keeping creativity alive and hopping. Boost more creative thinking for you and your team by putting these strategies into action:
The Grass is Greener
Not really true but if you look outside of your company to other fields and different industries, it can pay off. When you view your business from new angles, you can harness ideas from some of the most unlikely sources. Don’t aim for narrow focus. Instead, figure out how you can apply the ideas and business sense from another industry to your own. The results can be amazing and lucrative and just what you need to set you apart from all the rest.
Where’s the Fun?
Too much seriousness in the workplace can cost you. If all is too tense and feels like the graveyard shift, new ideas are blocked. Instead, lighten up. Steer your mind in playful directions and new ideas will pop-up almost effortlessly. When your mind is more relaxed, it works in your favor, stimulating right brain creative thinking without force. So keep up those fun activities both on and off the job. On the job brainstorming sessions can be simple and entertaining while unleashing ideas and possibilities never before imagined.
Censoring ideas kills creativity and sets up limitations that squash innovation and invention. Your goal is to create possibility thinking and not dullsville. Be inspired and inspiring and decide on no limit thinking when you’re brainstorming alone or with others. Let the ideas keep flowing no matter how outlandish or impossible they may seem. You’ll have time later on to edit out what won’t work but not during brainstorming. This is the time for a ‘sky’s the limit’ attitude. With more freedom, ideas will sprout faster and more easily.
New Ways of Looking
So you’re stuck on a business problem that seems almost impossible to solve.
What you need aren’t different lenses but new ways of seeing. Examining the problem backwards or use unlikely associations to get you and everyone concerned thinking unconventionally. That’s how new ideas are generated. Look at the problem from a new angle or use visual cues. When we see what’s before us in novel ways, creativity is sharpened. Not only does it push us to see differently, it opens up new channels of thinking.
The mind loves pictures. You can use images and diagrams and different patterns for problem-solving. They’ll stimulate your brain and eyes to see differently and come up with novel ideas. Mind mapping is a visual technique that really gets results and is used successfully in many cutting edge businesses. Here’s how it works. Thoughts are represented as bubbles of key words. They form a web of connecting lines from the center outward in all directions. What happens is that new patterns and associations appear from a single thought and can produce even more thoughts and creative ideas.
If all else fails and nothing’s happening on the innovation front, do something else. Leave the problem and challenge for awhile and do something entirely different. Whatever you do, don’t think about it. You’ll discover that your mind’s still working for you and may startle you with fresh ideas you’d never have dreamed of.
Dr. Jo Anne White is an international author, speaker, certified coach and business consultant. Visit www.docwhite.org for more information.