What are successful businesses made of? Most people would think that in order for a business to be considered as a success, they have the extraordinary ability to be original and creative.
Truth be told, there are some businesses that are remembered because of their unique contributions such as Henry Ford’s introduction to efficient mass production.
Businesses often have established processes for any task in the organization but is there a method for bringing out creativity? Today, we discuss how we can develop that creativity.
Asking the Questions
Clarify first which area of creativity you want to improve on. You can’t start without identifying what your concern is.
Enumerate the details by determining them through these format:
Overview: The project and what needs to be done is described.
History: A narration of the background of the situation.
Objective: What’s the desired result? What are you aiming to have in the end?
Deliverables: What are the outputs needed for the project?
Audience: Who is this project for? How do you effectively reach out to them?
Timeline: What tasks should be accomplished at what point? And of course, the deadline should be decided on.
Approver: Identify those who have the responsibility to decide.
This outline will serve as a guide to bring out that creativity. It clearly identifies what must be done, who should do it, and what is wanted at the end.
Next, it’s important to ask the necessary questions.
Why? This question helps you go down to the situation. What’s currently the status and why it has come to this.
What if? This question brings in ideas, it explores the possibilities. It makes us see a given scenario done differently.
Why not? This is all about challenging the limitations. What are they?
Together, asking the questions challenges status quo situations and organization traditions. It gives you a different perspective of the situation.
In order to be creative, you have to prepare your mind as well. Dispel your mind of barriers and be in the right mind set.
There are several ways to stimulate your brain to release those creative juices. Look for games or activities that can raise the energy levels prior to work.
For awhile, escape from the office and go somewhere where the environment is different. It could be a nearby park or a coffee shop – just to refresh your mind a bit.
However, do take note to do that in moderation. The idea is to inspire you, not to distract you from your real goal. Dealing with several issues at a time could distract you as well. Different concerns needing different creativity paths.
What you can do is to compartmentalize it. Put those ideas in a different “box” first, while you deal with another concern. This way, you can always return to that “box” to deal with it.
It can be tempting to overanalyze a situation together as a group and arrive at a general agreement. Don’t.
Sometimes, the desire to just come to an agreement overtakes the desire to reach for a sound idea. Potentially great ideas get watered down. So remember, don’t just agree for the sake of agreement.
A creative culture must be maintained within the team as well, and how should that be done?
Ideas – Foster an environment where ideas can be brought on with excitement. One way of doing this is giving incentives to those who give an excellent idea. This way people are motivated to bring it on.
Courage – Encourage the team members to be brave. When they want to speak, they should be urged to do so. Even if they think their ideas are out of this world, risky, and can be quite controversial – everyone should have the chance to say their thoughts. Through courage, the people can also make decisions wisely and make calculated risks.
Passion – Purpose makes things more meaningful. Purpose drives you to do your best. It motivates you to achieve the goals. It makes work feel like it’s not really work. Encourage passion. Define a purpose for everyone.
Failure – You don’t always get it right the first time, perfection is not the goal. It’s about how you try and get up after a failure. Many businesses exist to this day not because they are perfect, it’s because they have tried and tried until they made it.
Failure is also a way to find the best solution. You try the options until you get the right one.
In solving problems, there is the trap of going to the path of how it’s done before. If this is what we have been using, why not use it now?
The problem with this notion is you’ll never see a new perspective. Right from the start, you have limited your possibilities already because “it is usually done this way”.
What you can do is put yourself in another pair of shoes. What would you do if you are the villain, another character, or what?
Sometimes instead of directly competing head on, what if you did things differently? What other things can you introduce?
Kindling the Flames
How do you kick-off creativity? How do you kindle the flames? Starting a project can be quite intimidating for some. It seems like there are Herculean tasks ahead and it feels like it’s too much. There are several ways to hurdle this.
Starting at page 1 – Your team doesn’t have to start at the assumed starting point. There should not be any restrictions on where to start the project. Starting on different pages could actually help with moving forward. The anxiety of hurdling page one is eliminated.
Looking for the wrong answer – This works in uncovering the right answer. Compile and enumerate what could go wrong and this can ultimately lead to the correct path.
History – One way of inspiring creativity is thinking of how they would have done it in the past. Try putting yourself back a few years into the past and think what you would have done. Similarly, think also of putting yourself into the future. How would you address your situation a few years into the timeline?
Starting a new page – Starting a new task as said earlier is quite daunting. Rather than being faced with a new start, try doing Ernest Hemmingway’s technique. Before ending his writing session for the day, he would start a new paragraph for the next chapter.
The following day he has already that paragraph to work on with. With work, you can do this also to continue with what has been started. It isn’t too difficult to break into a new task because you already have something going on at the start.
Ideas are just ideas if they are not put into action – so the next step is to embark on! With your ideas at hand, which is a go or a no-go?
Instead of the usual metrics such as return of investment, feasibility, and such why not try a different type of measure? Try gauging the ideas by its value.
For example, is it a fun idea for the customers? Is it easy to learn (if the idea is something the customer should do)? Is it easy to assemble?
If the product is service oriented or an experience, try role playing to gain more insight on it. Is it an excellent service, a great experience? Through testing, you will identify what is best. Try to simulate how it should be.
And there you go, unleashing that creativity within! It’s just about balancing your creative and logical side to come up with the best ideas!