When I was younger I firmly believed that I had not an ounce of creativity in me … I was not artistic in any way and I imagined that it was always others that came up with the good ideas. I certainly don’t feel that way any more !
So … what makes the difference? What makes some people seem creative and others can’t seem to get out of their rut? Is there some magic to thinking creatively? Is it a learned skill or is it in the genes?
The kind of creativity demonstrated by various artists has to be in the genes, in the same way that a professional athlete needs to have a predisposition for their particular skill. However (a) the natural ability is not enough, hard work is also needed and (b) it is also possible to become a very good athlete (artist) through discipline and hard work!
So to all intents and purposes I think creativity is a learned skill and there are a number of ways to increase your creativity in business. Here are some ideas:
1. READ a lot! This should include novels, fiction and fact, biographies, business books, newspapers, magazines, blogs … anywhere that you can stretch your mind.
2. Understand how things are done in other industries, and keep an open mind about how they might apply in your industry.
3. Brainstorm ideas with other people … away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
4. Employ some of the tools available to stimulate the creative side of your brain. A quick Google search uncovers many sites offering innovation tools or networks to help you work through creative ideas.
5. Understand and enjoy the innovation you see in other people’s ideas, such as Larry Keating’s “No Panic Computing” I talked about a couple of days ago. Here is a website of relatively new business ideas that are truly creative.
6. Ask lots of questions and truly listen!
My work is in the staffing industry and we are on the cusp of being incredibly important to the future of Canada’s industrial capability, as we struggle with growing skills shortages and increased global competition. Our focus needs to be on finding creative staffing solutions that ensure Canadian industry is second to none, and that is how we will bring true value to our clients … not by offering the same solution as the next guy for a dollar less!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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