For those of us “at work” and “in business”, we perhaps don’t think of ourselves in a creative line of work.
But wouldn’t we say that all aspects of business and career are about dealing with the future? About continually looking forward. Continually generating value. Continually creating.
For me, there is space in all lines of work for creativity. More than that, there’s a burning need for more creative thinking.
So rather than shrink from creativity and decide that work is something bland with no room for creativity, let’s challenge ourselves to generate new thinking and find the creative angle to our work.
Here are some thoughts to inspire your more creative side.
1. Embrace creativity
Resist the temptation to think there’s no place for creativity in your desk job. Instead, recognise that every project, product and service can be done differently – and potentially better. Have the attitude that the first idea or current method is just one of the options.
2. Think about the thinking
Creative thought requires us to switch-off our regular thinking patterns. We need to distract our conscious brain to let our unconscious thinking surface. A great way to do that is become an observer of our own thinking. Ask: how creative is my thinking? How much time am I spending thinking about new approaches as opposed to the routine responses? How pleased am I with the quality of my creative thinking?
3. Ask your stakeholders
Your leadership, team, clients, customers and collaborators are an invaluable resource when it comes to finding new and creative ways to deliver; a treasure trove of fresh perspective. So ask for their input. And no need to fear a negative or oppositional response: in the harshest criticism is the most valuable learning.
4. Look far beyond
Rather than limit ourselves to what’s gone before, look for inspiration from different fields, in different industries and in different countries. How can you translate some of the great ideas all around us to your own work?
5. Experiment and increment
Try things out. Consider your new approach an experiment rather than the burdening yourself with the thought of a permanent fixture. Consider the responses as simply feedback and an opportunity to make incremental changes to your first experiment. Have an actions bias and find what works.
6. Look for the learning
Modify your attitude to “failure” and instead view each experience as a learning opportunity. What positives can you take away? What will you do differently next time? Where else does this learning have implication?
Switching-off regular thinking patterns
Injecting creative thought into our day-to-day doesn’t simply mean doing more thinking. Else we just find thoughts we’ve already had.
Finding the truly creative angle is about switching-off our usual lines of thinking to discover novel and innovative solutions that are a little bit different from what we’d ordinarily propose.
Switching-off our regular thinking patterns is an interesting challenge. But one worth pursuing as that’s when deep insights most-often emerge.