Creative Thinking in Business Part 2

86What characterises creative people?

Some of the characteristics that creative people will display are a willingness to challenge assumptions, keep searching after they have their first idea, take risks, are not afraid to make mistakes, are naturally inquisitive, have a strong imagination, think visually, take the initiative, are adaptable, see patterns of events.

The Game Changers

A survey by the UK consultancy eg.1, identifies a group of business people as game changers. They display qualities such as strategic thinking, ambition and risk taking and can change organisations. They say it doesn’t matter where in the business game changers work, it is their ability to “envision a different game” and “imagine a totally different future “.

They say these people are important not only for the differences they make directly in the business, but because their attitude will attract other talented people to work at the company, a benefit in the “war for talent “.

They suggest leaders have to keep these people by “giving them oxygen for their ideas “. “They love an environment that allows them to explore their talent and to create things” according to Professor Cary Cooper, an organisational psychologist.

It is hard to spot this type of person at interview, and they are more likely to be noticed once employed. Professor Cooper says that if 5 or 10 % of a company’s employees are game changers, that would be fantastic. The role of the company leader is to identify these people and give them the space to explore their ideas without fear of failure.
(Extracted from the Sunday Times March 2015)

Can you learn to think creatively?

Yes, you can be coached to be more creative. There are now Creative Studies courses available at universities. Gerard Puccio is Chair of Creativity at Buffalo State College in New York.

Puccio teaches that there are four stages in the creative process, clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing.

Clarifying. Make sure you ask the right question

Ideating. Explore as many solutions as possible

Developing and implementing. Checking the idea is practical and convincing.

Another theory is that these are the four creative thinking skills;-

Fluency. Suggesting lots of ideas

Flexibility. Having a variety of different ideas

Elaboration. Adding detail, viewpoints and perspectives

Originality. The novelty of the ideas

Research has shown that people in a relaxed, mellow mood are more creative, and that people lying down are more creative than standing up. Creative thinking requires a relaxed, open approach.

Creative techniques

Almost all of the tools used in business work best if the participants are able to adopt a relaxed approach, suspend judgement, are not afraid to suggest ideas which are not thought through and may be a little “eccentric “. They should feel able to make suggestions they would not normally make in a work environment, as they may be unworkable. In short they can think the unthinkable, and say the unsayable.

For people who are used to being expected to behave responsibly and logically, this takes a certain attitude and self-confidence. They have to let their minds be less ordered and structured.

Techniques to help people be more creative include;-

  • Brainstorming, doodling and mind mapping on a large piece of paper without evaluating. Just write, draw or doodle. It is thought that engaging the right side of the brain helps creative thinking
  • Deliberately change your routine, change your route to work ,do things in a different order watch or listen to new programmes, different music
  • Walk, and let your mind wander, thinking loosely, not critically.
  • List as many answers to the problem as you can
  • Once you have a list, go through them to see if they would work
  • Jot down ideas as they come to you. Keep paper and pencil by your bed as ideas often occur during the night.