In the workplace, creativity is the ability to generate novel and useful ideas and solutions to everyday problems and challenges. It’s the ability to take existing objects and combine them in new and different ways for new purposes. Traditional organizations often simply “make room” for creativity. But a forward thinking organization creates a culture around it. They don’t simply support the use of creativity, they embrace it as a significant output of the organization. Am I talking about you or to you?
Most people love mastery and when we get there, we rest on our laurels and continue to do things in a routine and efficient fashion. Why bother to innovate when there seems to be little time for it and almost no toleration for risk or error? After all, things seem to be working fine as they are. But the excitement that comes with innovation, discovery and creation are the very things that are missing from our work.
A Skill Set
Think of creativity as a skill set. If you practice, you can get better at it. Creativity requires patience and willingness to work for a creative outcome rather than simply waiting for enlightenment.
So you could –
• Learn about creativity techniques. You can get this information from books, conferences, other people, software and the Internet. Spend time with people that you think are creative and ask them how they do it. There is no one right answer and many paths to creativity.
• Surround yourself with people who respect you and encourage you to take risks.
• Celebrate your progress in reaching your creative goals.
• Begin to think of yourself as a creative person. Learn the skills of creativity, act creatively at every opportunity you get and find those places that support creative behavior.
Want an example of a practical way to improve creativity?
1. Set a measurable goal.
Find at least 40 ideas for improvements to a product OR SERVICE.
2. Set up criteria to indicate whether or not you have reached your goal.
The ideas are novel, useful, and can be implemented within an appropriate timeframe and budget.
You can enhance your creative output by providing yourself a special creative-thinking time and place. Maybe a corner of a room at home where you can indulge yourself listening to soothing music, go running in the morning, take up yoga, mediation, tai-chi or some similar meditative activity. Sometimes simply becoming involved in children’s activities such as jig-saw puzzles (for spatial thinking), building blocks, drawing with crayons and role-playing/acting can aid the creative thinking process
I don’t think creativity is a gift. It’s a state of being. Learning techniques that enhance your creativity will provide you with some useful tools, but it won’t automatically change your point of view. Your creativity myths must change as well. But with a little creativity, you ca change that too!