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Benefit Your Business By Being More Creative

To stay ahead today in business you need to be creative. Creativity is essential for problem solving, generating ideas, looking at potential options, finding solutions, identifying opportunities, for staying ahead of the competition and for maximising business return.

You may not be naturally creative, you may be a very logical thinker who finds it difficult to be creative or you may find that you always see things in a certain way and find it hard to look at things differently. The good news is that wherever you are on the spectrum you can become more creative.

If you would like to improve your creativity, here are some ideas to help you:

Don't make assumptions. We all make implicit assumptions (e.g. it cannot be done like that). To stimulate creativity you need to learn to stop making assumptions. Try asking yourself what assumptions you are making, let them go and then think again.

Think differently. We naturally think in a certain way. You may have come across a similar challenge before and you think the current situation is the same. Try thinking differently and see what happens.

Ask 'what if' questions. Your rational mind will take your thinking along a certain path, giving you quite a narrow perspective and limiting the ideas that you generate. Using 'what if' type questions will help you to bypass your rational mind (e.g. What would you do if you had limitless resources? What would Richard Branson do?). Try asking 'what if' questions and you will find you have lots more options.

Look at it from a different perspective. We tend to look at a situation from our own perspective and therefore we limit the ideas that we have. Try looking at the same situation from another person's perspective (e.g. a customer, a supplier, a successful businessman) or from the perspective of an impartial observer.

Go for quantity. We may naturally only come up with a couple of ideas. Try going for quantity (i.e. look for lots of ideas) which will make you think more widely and you will be surprised at the results.

Don't make judgements. If you are a very rational person you will have a natural inclination to assess and evaluate any option you identify. This can limit your creativity because you can dismiss options too easily. Therefore try to come up with ideas without assessing or evaluating them. You will find that you are much more creative.

Capture your ideas. We can be creative at any time and it is easy to forget the options you thought of. Try writing down your ideas, as this will not only record them for later but will help to stimulate your mind to think of other options. Using well know techniques to record your thoughts such as mind mapping can help you to generate new ideas.

Take a break. Often some of our best ideas come when we are not thinking about a particular issue or trying to be creative (e.g. when you are driving home from work, when you are playing golf, when you are on holiday). Try not to spend all your time working and you may be surprised with the positive impact on your business.

Use associations, connections and opposites. We can find ourselves struggling to think of alternatives and options. Try looking at the opposite of what you are thinking, look for associated ideas or connected options and you will see your list increasing.

Think about what you want to achieve. We sometimes forget about our end goal when trying to be creative. Try focusing on your end goal and what you want to achieve and then identify what needs to be different to achieve your goal. You will find that this generates lots of new ideas.

Author: Liz Makin
Published: July 2008

Through Makin It Happen - Coaching, Mentoring & Stress Management, Liz Makin provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals. If you are looking for a business coach, business mentor or help with stress please contact Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a free consultation session.


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