Most, if not all of us have either a ﬁxed way of doing things or a ﬁxed way of thinking about things. These ﬁxed patterns are known as mindsets and they can severely limit our actions in both business and private life. Imagine that you take the same route each day when you walk to your place of work. Each day you buy the same newspaper and the same sandwich for lunch. Over time you begin to get a little fed up with your choice of sandwich and the newspaper does not seem to engage you as it once did.
Tag: creative thinking
Is there such a thing as a creative type (other than one who holds a paintbrush or who gets covered in glue)? You can use the following list of traits to a) identify potentially creative people b) determine whether you are creative or not yourself. You can use these in the workplace rather than test your painting or photography skills.
Creative people share many of the following traits, they are likely to:
- be able to live with a high degree of uncertainty
- thrive on novelty
- have a tolerance of ambiguity
- be optimistic
- consider alternatives
- be independent
- appear persistent
- have a healthy scepticism
- take risks
- have a well developed sense of humour
- use hunches and instinct to make decisions
- be curious and observant
- have multiple interests
- constantly expose themselves to new ideas and experiences
- resist conforming
- be deeply committed to what they do
- constantly share ideas and information with colleagues (well anyone who will listen actually)
So is this you? Are you the creative type?
You don’t have time to attend a creativity workshop or read a book on the matter but you might just have time to read a short article. Read on, this is the article that you have been waiting for! This is creative thinking for busy people!
Whether you want to try a few creative things for the first time or just want something to try on the fly then this is for you. Take note of, or try the following:
1) Ignore what other people think of your ideas or talent (at least for today). You know yourself better than they do.
2) Spend as much time as possible with creative people. You will find that the most consistently creative people are children because they have not had their creativity removed by our education systems. “Mind merging” with them can remind you of the time when there was no box to think outside of!
3) You have the answer within you if you have trouble getting started with creative thinking. Everyone is creative, but if you don’t think you’re ‘good’ enough to be creative, or think very little of your own ideas the the chances are you will become a self fulfilling prophecy and dull as ditch water. The solution? Raise your self esteem and you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to be your creative self.
4) Whenever you’re challenged to create something or come up with new ideas, ask yourself: What’s the most outrageous, preposterous, and nonsensical thing I can come up with? Use these ideas as springboards for other less outrageous ideas that you could use on a daily basis.
5) Change the ways you do things, take another route to work, watch TV with one eye or read while you are on the toilet. Just try doing everyday things differently.
6) Change the colours of objects that you surround yourself with. Some studies have shown that a blue environment enhances creativity but red causes us to pay more attention to detail. You could try these two colours or simply experiment.
Imagine for a minute that your top management have asked me to radically change the way you work. This is because I persuaded them about my philosophy of using Creativity as a serious business tool. Management sent the following email to you and your colleagues on Friday afternoon.
Our company is going to adopt a radical business model that will help us to be more efficient. We wish to get products to market faster but above all remain ahead of the competition. As a result there will be some changes to the structure of the organisation as well as the introduction of new management and business tools. Consequently, for many of you, there will be changes to the IT services provided by our IT department.
All affected staff will receive comprehensive training commencing on Monday morning. Please read the attached notes for your personalised training programme.
We are all excited by the forthcoming changes and we hope that you will be too
Your Senior Management Team
What is a multi layered problem?
I can hear some readers saying to themselves ‘but I have not got any multi layered problems’. Well have I got news for you (sorry for the plagiarism there). Most problems bar the very simplest are multi level. Asking ‘Why’ over and over again is considered to be an alternative or creative technique for investigating issues. Let us consider the following scenario from a medium sized business.
Initially there are reports that sales are not as good as forecast and so the spotlight falls on the sales force. There are cries to sack and replace salesmen but one thoughtful soul begins to ask why? The following scenario unfolds:
- Our salesmen are rubbish. Why?
- Sales are falling. Why?
- Our product range is out of date. Why?
- There is no commitment from the boss. Why?
- The boss has no time. Why?
- The boss has time management issues.
So you were ready to sack your sales force. But all you really needed to do is to send the boss on a time management course or perhaps get him a secretary to help with his workload.
Solving multi layered problems
Firstly, we have discovered that the initial problem and possible solution are quite a way apart. We have revealed a multi layer problem. Just like the zipper in the picture above or a deep wound, the multi layered problems we encounter must be solved a layer at a time and from the bottom up. Solving the boss’s time management issues will not suddenly make sales leap up but it will allow he/she to devote more time to new products. This will in turn lead to increased sales (if these issues are properly addressed).
And the moral of the story? Solving complex problems requires a little more effort and the problem you initially see is not necessarily the one that needs solving!