9 Ways to be More Creative and Innovative at Work

Creative and Innovative

Being able to think outside the box is a learnable skill. You just have to be willing to try out new things.

To be creative at your workspace is much more than creating an attractive spreadsheet or beautifying your PowerPoint presentation. Creativity is required at the workplace in a different manner, it is primarily reflected through creative thinking and creative problem -solving.

Creative thinking is quite simple to explain but slightly difficult to execute. A creative thinker has the ability to come up with unique ideas i.e., being able to come up with something new. Therefore, creative thinking is the ability to deal with difficult conflicting situations, available data or a project in a different/new manner.

Creativity is one of the competencies which is essential for each and every role and all organizations want their employees to think creatively and bring new perspectives to the workplace.

Difference between Critical & Creative Thinking

logic versus Creativity

Benefits of Creative Thinking

  • Creative thinking inspires employees to search for new and efficient solutions to the problems without relying on standard, accepted methods.
  • Thinking creatively adds value to your life and converts your thoughts into work and projects.
  • Thinking with an open-mind gives you an opportunity to start exploring new ideas and thoughts.
  • The more experienced you get with thinking creatively, the easier it becomes to master difficult situations that you may face in life. 

Ways to “Be Creative”

Practice re-programing your brain with these nine profound thinking habits and soon emerge with innovative ideas.

  1. Mindful observation: In general, observation is the key to think creatively. Creativity depends on “How we perceive our surroundings and our environment”. This starts with a mindful observation or seeing and acknowledging the specifics of your surroundings.

    By enhancing your observation skills, you will find your creative energy and explore variations and details that you might have not noticed before. It helps you to open your mind towards new prospects and assists you to construct reserves of experiences that can ignite innovation.

    Observing the internal and external environment means being more vigilant about the world around you.
    • Start focusing on the areas which you want to work on.
    • Locate different patterns and connections in your surroundings.
    • Try to find the relationship between things.
  1. Change your environment: Your dull surroundings may be hammering your inspiration.  An easy and convenient way to revive your creativity is to try altering your environment. Sometimes a vibrant atmosphere can do the magic, so try changing your workplace. Look for a comfortable place like a restaurant, café or even a park setting where you can work for a while.

    Furthermore, set up your workstation in a manner that is favorable for being creative. This all depends on personal preferences, so have a dedicated space where you can think.
  1. Take a creative stroll: Inactive way of living is always considered as bad for your health, whereas being fit and exercising is proved to be good for creative thinking. Simple activities like going for a brisk walk will improve the way the brain functions and enhance your creativity. As per studies, walking helps in creative brainstorming and improves “divergent” or unconventional thinking.

    While walking we can also practice mindful observation.
    • Observe people in an overcrowded area.
    • Keep a mental note of things that are attractive to your eye and quickly sketch the observation.
    • Make a habit of a “sound walk,” where you can focus on the sounds around you.
  1. Recharge your curiosity:  Creativity leads to curiosity. Our ability to surprise ourselves, get deep into something and finding solutions; kindle our creativity and propel our innovative thoughts. But our craving to learn more can diminish over time. We tend to avoid questioning and begin to accept the status quo.

    Start stimulating your imagination and creativity by questioning.
    • What drives your interest? Explore, examine and research the same.
    • Look where your thinking pattern takes you. You might devise something that you are not aware of.

      This will assist in exploring your mind to new hidden prospects.
  1. Try some blue sky thinking: According to Blue sky thinking, one should brainstorm with a free mind without any preconceived notions. It means crossing the boundaries; go beyond the standards set by us and come up with ideas that are not confined by cost, effort, time, technology or resources. Let us lose ourselves from all the obstacles, presumptions and restricted beliefs.

    Begin with a definite question and a specific goal. Keep in mind that no idea is stupid, so do not rebuke yourself for any thought that comes across your mind. This helps to think divergent and try out your ideas without keeping them aside too quickly.
  1. Incorporate “design thinking” into your creative process: Design thinking is a different technique than creative problem solving. It begins with compassion and understanding of what the ultimate user desires with equal importance to their constraints. This technique can be applied to nearly any field as it is human needs-based.

    The process of design thinking involves 5 stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. It is essential for designers to originate a good number of ideas and prototype them, so that they are not disheartened with failure.
  1. Practice creating:  Creativity is a competency, which involves constant practice to fine-tune it. The act of creating something actually propels your mind to be more innovative. The creative and innovative thinkers involve 90% of labor and 10% of their natural talent to create something.

    One can enhance creativity by challenging the status quo every day, in their chosen field – whether that is writing, drawing, photography, painting, dancing, singing or creating music.
  1. Take time to daydream: Try to “space out” yourself and let your mind start thinking in different directions; it encourages creativity. As per the research, it is proved that daydreaming can accelerate creative problem-solving. When your mind ponders, it retrieves memories, emotions and aimless bits of reserved knowledge. The reason for practicing mind-pondering effectively is to give it direction in the area where one is looking for solutions.

    Focused daydreaming needs research on the problems for which we are searching for possible solutions.
  1. Build a creative portfolio that inspires you: Think about what motivates you to be your best, creative self — what assists you to get your innovative thoughts and ideas? Are there definite blogs, books or videos that reshuffle your thinking and stimulate ideas? Or some physical activities that calm your mind and assist you to look at things in a different manner, such as dancing, meditating or going for a run?

    Make a list of things that assist and stimulate your creative energy and original thinking. If you enjoy writing, try keeping a note pad to scribble your thoughts.

A final thought

There are multiple positives of learning to think in a different and unique manner. It will assist in enhancing your ability to solve problems and also open your mind to see others’ perspective. In an increasingly global world, broader horizons and the ability to think differently is always going to have a positive impact in your growth.

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