Creative thinking is a skill that every organization should practice. They know that in producing innovative solutions, their organization must be able to view problems with divergent thinking.
But thinking creatively means everyone on the team should constantly get their creative juices flowing. They should be genuinely curious about trying out new things and thoroughly interested in brainstorming ideas that can set the company up for success.
However, bringing up your employees’ creative side is a challenging task — and this process is easier said than done.
In this article, we will discuss the tips that you can use to stimulate your organization’s creativity.
How can the brain be creative?
Research shows that humans have three brains.
You can find them in your heart, head, and gut. Together, they work to determine the reactions we make in various circumstances. For instance:
In a fight-or-flight situation, your gut-brain processes your condition and communicates with your head-brain. As it interprets the situation as dangerous, it sends out signals of distress and nervousness.
Caught on by your heart, your heart-brain responds and increases your heart rate, leading your head-brain to devise the solutions you need to escape or alleviate the situation quickly.
As indicated in the example above, your head-brain is the “rational” brain that thinks and determines your final action in response to a stimulus. It is also the same brain in charge of producing new ideas.
The creative process
The brain in your head isn’t only for logic and creativity. When faced with a problem, it also instills a sense of urgency that pushes humans to:
- Seek inspiration, both from old ideas and existing concepts, to develop a more progressive situation or environment
- Develop new skills that can take their life and creativity to the next level
- Explore creative ideas whenever necessary
- Think of creative solutions that can address and respond to the issue at hand
- Find new connections between ideas, where we observe situations with our subconscious minds and translate this information into the right questions, resulting in a couple of new ideas
- Collaborate with other creative people in identifying bad ideas and creating viable solutions
- Avoid sinking into an internet rabbit hole by establishing concentration, increasing creativity, and gaining first-hand knowledge from people with creative skills
- Study the problem under different colors with people who have the ability to break away from the norm
- Start thinking outside the box and examine situations with a perspective of the future
Methods on how to stimulate creativity
As an innovation manager, there are so many things that you can do to boost the creativity of your team.
Here are some of them:
Lead and encourage brainstorming sessions
To promote and improve creativity in the organization, you should lead and encourage brainstorming sessions in the company.
When done correctly, this activity may boost creative thinking, unite different perspectives, and help the company land with the right idea.
For this reason, a brainstorming session must have the right structure to
- Inspire creativity in every participant, and
- Guarantee not only the number but also the quality of ideas produced within the session
Fortunately, there are plenty of brainstorming strategies to choose from, including:
Brainwriting, where you and your employees can boost your creativity and brain function by writing down three ideas associated with the topic in question.
After four to six minutes, you can pass this paper on to the person next to you, and he or she can add some suggestions and strategies to make the idea better.
This technique is great if you want your employees to understand how feedback can lead to greater creativity.
Round robin, where everyone gets to speak out their ideas first before receiving any type of inquiries, suggestions, and criticisms from others.
This strategy works best if you want your employees to voice out their thoughts without feeling scared of anything.
Charette, where you can divide the entire team into subgroups and have them focus on different aspects of the problem.
This method of brainstorming helps in facing all sides of the issue at once, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
One study finds that taking breaks can help sustain efficient performance daily.
It reduces stress and minimizes the need for a lengthy recuperation from burnout and other mental roadblocks brought on by different forms of pressure in the workplace.
Allowing your employees to take breaks can create a positive impact on their overall wellness and being. Plus, once you encourage them to relax, you allow their minds to wander. When that happens, you get their creative juices flowing in a steady, relaxed state.
During an eight-hour shift, employees are legally required to take three 15-minute breaks in addition to their 30-minute breaks. However, companies now understand that these periods of rest are insufficient.
When breaks are taken often, the brain processes and remembers information better. Plus, it helps the body avoid physical exhaustion, allowing the body to rest from being fully focused on tasks and responsibilities.
Moreover, allowing your employees to take breaks can increase employee morale, leading to a significantly higher quality of employee output. Hence, avoid fostering a workaholic mentality among your team members.
Give them a chance to take themselves away from the rest of the world. Providing them with this opportunity can significantly contribute towards helping your employees in putting off all the pressure they feel from work.
Finding inspiration from others
Instead of attempting to push your employees’ creative thinking while simply sitting at their desks, you may let them flow naturally by encouraging them to find inspiration from others.
If you can, provide them with the means to pursue other creative endeavors in life. Try supplying
Provide them with workshops that can help them develop new skills. Allow them to discover their passion by letting them try different activities. And lastly, encourage them to exercise their abilities at every opportunity that comes their way.
Give each of them a small project to work on, just to demonstrate how you increase your creativity. Teach them how to find ideas and patterns in various experiences.
Most importantly, find out what makes them artists in their own right. Observe what brings out the creativity in each of them, and encourage them to do more of it.
Encourage collaboration in the workplace
Other than the obvious effect of collaboration in boosting creativity, having everyone work on a single objective can bring many advantages that are truly beneficial for the company.
For one, collaboration is key to promoting unity amidst diversity. Despite coming from different backgrounds, each must be willing to help accomplish tasks and share responsibilities.
Each of them has unique things and expertise to offer. So their varying viewpoints can improve your overall performance. Plus, it can also shed light on different issues that are left unseen.
Second, collaboration helps in solving complex issues. As they say, plenty of heads are better than one. So when a team knows how to collaborate effectively, they can address complicated matters with less conflict.
Moreover, they get to rely on one another. And in effect, the organization becomes even more harmonious and effective as a whole.
Now that they’re working as one, you can easily speed up project completion and eventually increase your profits.
That said, don’t forget to host team-building activities, establish workspaces open for communication, and a common purpose that every member of the team can relate to and strive for
Use the Thinking Hats method
The Thinking Hats is a technique that helps teams examine problems and opportunities from a variety of perspectives. These hats have different colors that imply diverse viewpoints.
For reference, here are the colors of the six thinking hats, along with their main focus and meaning:
- White: Facts and Data
- Black: Potential issues
- Yellow: Merits
- Blue: Goals, Scope, and Data
- Green: Innovation
- Red: Preferences and Dislikes
To use this method, divide your team into subgroups and assign them a thinking hat to cover. Provide them with a space to write their thoughts on. And give them a topic to ideate with for at least ten to fifteen minutes.
Once done, rotate the hats between these groups to gather every unit’s standpoints. You can let them use every hat for a truly maximized session, or you may use one at a time to allocate a period for an in-depth discussion.
Revisit the problem from the beginning
Einstein once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he would allocate fifty-five minutes to study the entire issue and spend only five minutes crafting the solution.
Since time immemorial, every successful innovation introduced to mankind has come as a solution to something they’ve had difficulty with. Meaning it’s not enough just to find a random problem and solve it.
It has to be something that’s clearly relevant and necessary, like a problem that real people genuinely struggle with.
Moreover, you have to examine it on all sides to determine what potential risks come along with it. You need to understand what causes it, how it affects your audience, why it affects them, and why these groups of people experience it, among all others.
You also need to study whether a problem like that or anything comparable has existed before.
In essence, patience and creativity play a major part. Managers should promote divergent thinking in defining the problem rather than focus on creating unique solutions.
Doing it in this order makes sense because creating an effective solution means knowing the nature and entirety of the problem first. After all, you cannot solve what you truly don’t understand.
Some limits are essential for structuring and compressing a complex problem. Creativity is said to hate too much freedom because creative thinking only comes when constraints are observed.
Establishing boundaries can sometimes increase resourcefulness, like how talented chefs come up with great dishes when presented with only a few ingredients. Clearly, the status quo is frequently maintained when no limitations are observed.
In short, there is no need to act differently when no boundaries exist. There would be no desire to stand out. Plus, too much freedom leads to an absence of structure.
So while creating an open organization for communication, ideas, and feedback, establish boundaries and conditions when developing creative solutions.
Use tools to boost, stimulate, and improve your creativity
Bringing people together can be hard. Getting them to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions can be challenging, too. But, with certain tools in place, you can empower them to share their ideas. Plus, you can help them work together seamlessly, too.
With a powerful idea management tool like Accept Mission, employees can share their ideas without revealing themselves. Our undercover mode allows them to anonymously share their viewpoints and have their ideas ranked by their colleagues for feedback.
That way, they wouldn’t have to fear rejection and criticism.
Moreover, as an innovation management software, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting them in one room, particularly if you’re working on a remote setup.
Independent of time and place, you can use our platform to conduct online brainstorming sessions.
With plenty of other features and integrations, you can use our software to implement processes like generating, collecting, selecting, and managing as many ideas as possible.
Boost your creativity with us today. Kickstart your innovation success by booking a demo with Accept Mission now.