inGenius by Tina Seelig
Creativity is not something you are born with. It is a skill that we are all capable of learning. Learn how to frame problems, see opportunities, and connect different ideas
– by Tina Seelig –
1) Creativity helps you see opportunities
With enhanced creativity, instead of problems you see potential, instead of obstacles you see opportunities, and instead of challenges you see a chance to create breakthrough solutions. Without creativity, you are trapped in a world that is not just stagnant, but one that slips backward. Your ideas – big and small- are the critical starting point for innovations that propel us forward. We are each responsible for inventing the future.
2) Ideas aren’t cheap
Ideas lead to innovations that fuel the economies of the world, and they prevent our lives from becoming repetitive and stagnant. They are the cranes that pull us out of well-worn ruts and put us on a path toward progress. Without creativity we are not just condemned to a life of repetition, but to a life that slips backward.
3) Everything you see is ripe for innovation
There are opportunities for creative problem-solving everywhere. Anything in the world can inspire ingenious ideas. Take a look around your office, your classroom, your bedroom, or your backyard.
4) Don’t judge your ideas prematurely
For many activities it is important to have high self-monitoring of your behavior so that you don’t say everything you think or do everything that you consider. But when you are generating new ideas, this function gets in the way. Creative people have apparently mastered the art of turning off this part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.
5) Learn how to frame problems and ask the right questions
Mastering the ability to reframe problems is an important tool for increasing your imagination because it unlocks a vast array of solutions. Being able to question and shift your frame of reference is an important key to enhancing your imagination because it reveals completely different insights.
6) Develop the ability to empathize
When you empathize, you are, essentially, changing your frame of reference by shifting your perspective to that of the other person. Instead of looking at a problem from your own point of view, you look at it from the point of view of your user. Each angle provides a different perspective and unleashes new insights and ideas.
7) Connect things and ideas
Being able to connect and combine non-obvious ideas and objects is essential for innovation and a key part of the creative-thinking process. You need to be able to reorganize and rearrange the things you know and the resources you have in order to come up with brand-new ideas. Building upon existing ideas and inventions is another way to foster innovation.
8) Don’t be satisfied with the first solution you find to a problem
Most people fall into the trap of running with the first solution they find, even though it might not be the best solution. The first answers to any problem are not always the best answers. In fact, much better solutions are usually waiting to be unearthed. Unfortunately, most people are satisfied with the first solution they find, missing the opportunity to come up with innovative approaches that require more effort to discover.
9) There are no bad ideas during brainstorming sessions
Brainstorming is a way to explore all the possibilities, whether they are inspiring or insipid. Rather than criticizing, it is essential to embrace all ideas that are generated and to work with them for a while.
10) Observe your environment
True observation is a very active experience. It involves focusing all your senses and actively engaging with your environment. Look at the world with fresh eyes and pay attention. Focused observation is a powerful way to acquire valuable knowledge about the world. That knowledge is the starting point for all your creative endeavors because it provides rich fuel for your imagination.
11) Choose your workspace carefully
If you live in an environment that is stimulating, then your mind is open to fresh, new ideas. If, however, the environment is dull and confining, then your creativity is stifled. Space is the stage on which we play out our lives. If you want to be creative, you need to build physical habitats that unlock your imagination.
12) Creativity loves constraints
Every habitat has its own constraints. They include some combination of time, money, space, people, and competition. These constraints sharpen your imagination and enhance innovation. Constraints force you to be thoughtful, to prioritize, and to be as innovative as possible.
13) Rules inhibit creativity
Many rules are designed with the goal of improving performance, but they actually do the opposite. They are often controlling and certainly stifle creativity. Therefore, you need to be extremely aware of the consequences of each rule you put in place. We are so sensitive to rules that even small changes have a huge impact on our behavior.
14) Playing helps you think creatively
When you play, you are having fun. When you have fun, you feel better about yourself and your work. And when you feel better, you are much more creative and deliver more.
15) Develop teamwork in your organization
Teamwork is incredibly important when you are building organizations that foster innovation. You need a group composed of individuals who bring different perspectives to the table, who respect different working styles, and who resolve conflicts along the way.
Individuals who want to increase their creativity need to be open to trying things they haven’t done before, even when the results are completely uncertain. Like scientists, we need to stop looking at unexpected results as failures. Each of those mistakes provides experimental data and an opportunity to learn something new. Failure is an inevitable part of the creative process when you are doing things that haven’t been done before.
17) Believe that a solution exists
Believing that there is a solution to your problem is a critical step in finding one. So many people give up long before they find the solutions to their challenges – big and small – even when they are in plain sight, because they don’t have the conviction that the problems can be solved. Essentially, if you believe something is impossible, then it is.
18) Emotions fuel creativity
Tapping into powerful emotions is another way to increase drive and motivation. Many artists and entrepreneurs are propelled forward in their pursuits not by their intellectual curiosity, but by strong feelings, including anger, sadness, joy, or frustration. Creativity isn’t entirely a cerebral act, but rather is augmented by strong emotions that fuel fresh ideas.
19) Master the ‘Innovation Engine’
The Innovation Engine captures the relationship between the factors that influence your creativity, both inside your mind and in the outside world. On the inside, your creativity is influenced by your knowledge, imagination, and attitude. On the outside, you are influenced by the local habitat, surrounding culture, and resources in your environment.
Your attitude sparks your curiosity to acquire related knowledge. Your knowledge fuels your imagination, allowing you to generate innovative ideas. Your imagination catalyzes the creation of stimulating habitats, leveraging the resources in your environment. These habitats, along with your attitude, influence the culture in your community.