“We have always done it that way” is said to be the 7 most expensive words in business. Many progressive companies today are using creativity and innovation to stay competitive in the marketplace. Companies that are not taking risks and playing it safe are falling behind. Some organizations and leaders frown upon original thinking and deter employees from thinking outside the box.
Would you consider yourself to be a creative person? Some may argue that you are either creative or you are not. I would have to disagree to a certain extent because I believe that creativity is something that can be practiced and developed. Creativity can be lost through aging. Children are encouraged to use their imagination without judgement. Judgement is a creativity killer.
Creativity is not just related to being artistic. Creativity has been described as the ability to transcend traditional ideas; and to create new things. Google is a great example of an organization that has been very successful because they foster a creative and flexible work environment. Google strives to keep employees engaged and empowered by creating a workspace that promotes flow and creative thinking. All of their equipment is on wheels and can be moved around, so that nothing is ever stagnant. Employees are able to write on walls and furniture. One of their representatives describes the work environment as a mix between kindergarten and a classy law firm. There are some great Google work space videos you can check out online!
Tools for Boosting Creativity:
- Try free flow writing – without worrying about ‘making sense’ or grammar, just begin to write down whatever comes to mind. Try to do this activity without judgement, let the ideas flow and do this for continuously 5-10 minutes. The best time to do this activity is in the morning after a good night’s rest and it may set the tone for your day!
- Mind Mapping – mind mapping is an amazing tool for idea generation and has a focus on a visual representation of ideas. Follow these steps and try creating a mind map of your own:
- Choose a central idea (i.e. wedding, project)
- This central idea can be written down with a visual drawing in the middle of your page
- Add branches that flow out from your central idea to use as main themes
- Label the branches with keywords to describe your main themes
- Your keywords are used to generate associations or ideas
- Create smaller branches with words or ideas stemming from your keywords or main themes
- Use colour and visuals – it is best to colour code your branches. Colour stimulates the brain and enhances your memory. This is why mind maps are particularly useful to use as study guides. The use of colour, visuals and non-traditional lines make it easier for your brain to recall the information, especially for those with photographic memories!
Anyone has the ability to harness their inner creative abilities. Creativity may be a strength that is overlooked, as not many list it as a skill on their resume. What do you think?
– Trish MacMillan
Health, Wellness and Fitness, ’11
Follow Trish @TrishMacMillan