Creative thinking goes hand-in-hand with critical analysis and problem-solving. Creativity arises from the habit of making connections between thoughts and experiences.
- Thinking creatively happens in settings where there are no stupid ideas, and people feel comfortable exploring what may not be fully-formed solutions.
- Having an open mind, and being willing to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist, can feel risky.
- Think of your proposed solutions as experiments; not all will succeed. Companies can encourage a more creative approach to problems by understanding that failure is a part of success.
Define the Problem
When approaching any problem, keep in mind not only the business and technical parameters any solution must have, but also the human needs it must meet. Delving into these will uncover creative opportunities. The design company IDEO suggests developing a “problem statement” that defines the challenge you face in detail, and use that as the basis for brainstorming solutions. Don’t judge while brainstorming ideas; leave evaluation until after you’ve gathered as many ideas as possible.
The Art of InnovationDoubleday Broadway Publishing Group
Order Out of Chaos
Remember that creative solutions don’t often follow a linear trajectory. Model comfort with doubt and the unknown for your team members. Explore areas of doubt or apprehension for opportunities to better understand the challenge you face. Often your intuition will lead you to new approaches.
- Teams work best when members feel free to voice their opinions.
- Managers foster creative teamwork when they keep track of the big picture as well as the relationships and connections between facts.
- It’s up to leaders to keep pursuing innovative solutions, but also to continuously question if those solutions are the right ones.
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