How often have you said or heard others say âÂ I’mÂ not creativeâ? Here are 16 quick thoughts on how you can look at this in a different way to encourage creativity and innovation.
First it might be useful to consider the difference between innovation and creativity. I think this quote from Theodore Levitt sums it up:
âCreativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.â
These 16 thoughts are not intended to cover everything on the subject, they’re just to get you thinking about it. They apply equally for self-leadership or leading others. Leaders stretch their own imagination and the imagination of those around them to discover new ways of doing things. Which brings to mind another quote, this one from Albert Einstein:
âImagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.â
- Start with your thinking. Do you believe that you are creative? If not, what could you possibly do to make your thinking more helpful? For example what could you start to say to yourself about how you are developing your creative thinking skills?
- Help your team or colleagues with their thinking. How do they act and what do they say that gives an indication of their belief about their creativity? Think about the things you could possibly do to help them to feel more confident about their skills in these areas.
- Consider your organisational environment. Is it helpful or hindering to creative thinking? Decide whether this is a âgivenâ that you canât do anything about or if it is something you can influence in your area of work, your team or how you work?
- Define some goals about being innovative and creative. When might thereÂ be opportunities for new and different thinking or when might there be opportunities to use or encourage creative thinking? Decide what you want to do and what you want to achieve.
- Be creative every day. Build a habit of looking to innovate and be creative at every opportunity. Be proactive, rather than seeking opportunities create opportunities as this is being creative in itself. Then turn this creativity into innovation by acting on the ideas generated.
- Inspire those around you to act in the same way. Displaying creativity yourself will impact on those around you. You will be acting as a role model and influencing the thinking of colleagues. This may cause them to think something along the lines of, âIf Alison can do it, then I can as well.â
- Mix with others who are creative. This can be extended out of your workplace by using the fantastic links and resources made available online. As a starter how about connecting with Go MAD Thinking on LinkedIn or join groups where the discussions will stimulate your thinking.
- Use questions that engage the imagination. Rather than going with the first solution or tried and tested ways of doing things, ask yourself or others questions that will help to generate lots of ideas. These questions will usually contain the words âcouldâ and âpossibly’. For example; âHow could we possibly make more time to hit the deadlines on this project?â.
- Challenge yourself. When using questions that are designed to help you think of lots of options or ideas then set yourself or others a challenge. How many ideas can you come up with in response to the question in five or ten minutes?
- Explore the âWhat ifsâ. Work through âWhat ifâ scenarios to generate lots of options to solve problems or achieve goals. For example; âWhat if we had an unlimited budget, what could we possibly achieve?â
- Involve others in creative thinking sessions. Introduce your team or colleagues to creative thinking techniques. Talk about the importance of thinking possibilities before deciding on the definite actions to take to achieve goals or projects. Check out the Go MAD Thinking podcasts Thinking for Success, a number of which help you explore creative thinking techniques.
- Dare to be different. Challenge others to develop their innovation and creativity skills. Introduce different ways to do things and different ways to come up with ideas. Use creative thinking techniques to get people thinking and challenge when you hear others say, âitâs always been done this wayâ.
- Get groups together. Creativity and innovation doesnât have to sit with the leaders in the organisation. People doing the job will have great ideas about new ways of doing things. By getting them together they will spark off ideas in each other.
- Acknowledge when it happens. If you are encouraging others to be creative and to Â innovate then you need to recognise when this is happening. Look out for it on a daily basis.
- Reinforce the habit. Having recognised when it is happening then offer feedback and praise so others will keep acting in this way.
- Celebrate your success. When applying the Go MAD Framework and measuring the results we recommend that wins are celebrated. So, how could you celebrate when you have helped yourself and others to think in new and different ways?
To take these ideas forward here are three things that you could choose to do:
- Identify situations where you can inspire creativity and innovation in others.
- Do some possibility thinking about how you could possibly encourage more creativity in those situations. Challenge yourself to generate 10, 20, 30 or more ideas.
- Take action from the ideas generated, decide what will you do and when. Ensure you plan in the time to make it happen.