Creative Thinking for Business
Creative Thinking E-book
Hopefully this book on creativity and innovation has given you a new outlook on creativity. It is not some magical talent that only a few possess. These are deliberate creative thinking tools that I have taught you here. Put them to good use. You may not always hit a home run every time you use these tools, but they are guaranteed to generate new ideas. And of course if you keep after it, eventually you will hit a home run.
There are some simple things to remember to make your future much more creative. Half the battle in brainstorming creative ideas is to set the right atmosphere. If every time someone proposes a problem statement you throw out some outrageous provocation, people will start to think you are some kind of clown. You can say, “This is a difficult problem to solve and we don’t have an obvious solution staring us in the face. Let’s schedule an hour tomorrow and have a specific creative thinking session using tools I have recently learned. Maybe then we can come up with new ideas.”
At the beginning of the brainstorming session, review the brainstorming rules. Let everyone know anything goes for the next hour. You are just trying to generate as many ideas as you can. It doesn’t cost anything and you can’t hurt anyone. Setting the stage for a creative thinking session and establishing the rules up front makes the exercise fun and effective.
Use the tools. Not everyday and not all of the time but use them fairly often. Have confidence that the tools will generate new ideas, and some of them will present new creative and innovative solutions to problems. Try and limit creative thinking sessions to 1-2 hours. Don’t over do it. In 1-2 hours you will probably generate several hundred ideas anyway. You will need to forget about it for a day or so and then go back and look at the list again. At that point you can start to group ideas, modify them, and prioritize the ones that are the most effective and feasible.
Another action you need to take is to remember to “take time to think.” This is so simple, but we all make excuses for why we don’t have time to do it. Start off by scheduling a few hours a week. Try just two 2-hour sessions a week. Don’t cram them in from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am either, or you’ll be too tired to care or be effective. Try 8-10 in the morning on Wednesday and Friday or do it right in the middle of your workday. I promise you a 10 percent investment in your time will have a dramatic effect on your performance and contribution to your company.
Remember the 10 mental blocks we talked about and review them periodically. It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting the blocks make us think we are not creative. As long as you remain aware of them, that is your best defense.
Also remember during the creative thinking process you want to be an artist before you are a judge. You have a license to be a complete idiot for an hour or so periodically. Try and be different and not be the critic all of the time. Being a critic is too easy. Even if you don’t like an idea, ask yourself where else this idea could lead.
Last but not least, if all else fails and you forget 95 percent of what I’ve taught you at least don’t say “no” too quickly. The next time someone proposes an idea and your first reaction is to say “No!” stop for a minute, bite your tongue, and be quiet. Then simply do a WBF on it. Especially if you really hate the idea, or if you really like it. This simple tool will force you to look at the issue from a couple of different angles before you pass judgment.
This doesn’t take forever – you can do it in 30 minutes or less. I promise you this simple technique will change the way you act and behave in a business setting and will show you there are a lot of good ideas if you let them surface. If you practice this, you will become embarrassed and ashamed of how you have acted in the past. You will start to wonder how many great ideas you shot down in the past because you said “No!” after 30 nanoseconds without any consideration.
My team members pull this on me from time to time when I tell them no. They say, “How about we do a WBF on it?” My first reaction to this question is, “I said no, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” In the end, the answer may still be no but I can’t tell you how many times the WBF lead us to a yes path or a modified version of the idea that was nothing short of spectacular. The WBF tool can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal.
At the beginning of the book I asked you to come up with some funny captions for a cartoon. Do you feel more confident now that you would be able to generate hundreds of ideas with the tools you’ve learned?
I hope you have enjoyed this book and find it very useful in both your professional and personal life. Please feel free to contact me at anytime time. I’d love to hear about your success using creative thinking tools. Creative ideas, suggestions, and feedback are always welcome.
Good luck with your creative thinking and enjoy!
Mark L. Fox
Sly As A Fox