Are you the creative type? Is innovation the driving force of your business?
If you are hesitant about any of the answers of those two questions, then it’s time to face the truth — you can’t continue to grow by using old business tools. The current global situation on top of the fast-driven economic environment will favor only those who learn how to be flexible, think fast, and adapt to changes. None of this will be possible if your company or brand holds on to outdated approaches of work.
But before we get to the practical part and disclose some fundamental secrets hiding behind creative and innovative thinking, let’s pay some due respect to the most imperative hardware you will ever need – the brain.
Not creative and innovative? Think again!
In theory, you are either left-brained or right-brained, which means that one side of your brain is dominant. If you’re mostly analytical and logical in your thinking patterns, you’re believed to be left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you’re thought to be right-brained.
However, is this simply the way mother nature intended humans to be?
Dr. Bruce Lipton reviews this question in depth in his book “The biology of belief”. In brief, he explains that in the first seven years the children’s brain operates at low levels of activity, similar to a state of hypnosis or pure unconsciousness. They absorb all they witness in their environment – love, laughter, care, fear, anger, insults and so on, just by watching and memorizing. They are in a process of downloading the programs of their future behavior.
After the seventh year, children become more actively aware of the world and get to know their own selves better. The more they grow and develop their consciousness, the more often it turns out that a large part of the downloaded programs hardly coincide with their desires and aspirations, because most of them belong to other people with their own problems.
Put into different words, when you were little your imagination and creativity were overflowing (even if you don’t recall it now) because your subconscious mind was simply free; you would ask bizarre questions, draw odd objects and call them dinosaurs, talk to imaginary friends, act strangely in public, etc. But over time, as you turned into a grownup and started to use all downloaded programs from childhood, you most probably lost a major part of those impulses, if not all. And the more you keep aging, the harder you will accept and initiate change because of all acquired behavioral patterns.
Enough with the bad news! The good news is that this is not a life sentence. If you are eager to give your brain enough time to build new habits (or revive lost ones), you can do it as long as you rely on your inner determination and motivation.
Create your creativity on personal level
You may believe that creativity belongs to artists only, but it’s actually necessary 24/7 in everyday life for all human beings to a different extend. Basically, creativity is a right-brained activity that helps perceive hidden patterns and use them as a source of innovation. It’s a skill that can be developed and trained, but it can’t be imposed. In business, it is linked to thinking outside the box in order to inspire, challenge, and help people find innovative solutions and generate opportunities out of problems.
And yet, it is easier said than done. To apply it and benefit from it, you need to let go of fear first. Why is that crucial? Because fear is the primary source of stress, which sometimes can be good as it’s your natural built-in survival mechanism; it helps you avoid life-threatening situations like car accidents or hungry bears chasing you in the woods. However, if you experience prolonged periods of stress coming from modern life, it can have detrimental impact on your overall health and … block your creativity.
To break the vicious circle, you really need to challenge yourself. And here’s how:
Do some fieldwork
Sitting behind your desk in the office is cozy and safe, but business (and life) happens outside of your comfort zone. Go out in the field, meet your customers and distributors, experience their problems firsthand and get your own insights to comprehend their hidden needs. Of course, it’s unrealistic to think that you can make all wishes come true since you are not a magician. But you can really collect as many ideas as possible, evaluate them, realize the most efficient ones and thus pull your company ahead of competition.
Fear of being judged puts real constraints on business. Unlike kids, grownups are often embarrassed of showing their ideas which can turn into true masterpieces. However, if you don’t risk your ego, you are prone to killing potentially creative ideas because you are afraid of what other people might say.
But how can you unleash creativity if you are constantly limiting yourself? Instead of putting barriers on your thoughts, systematize them (including the ones from your fieldwork) in a useful form for future use.
In addition, allow yourself to daydream. Set aside some time each day to brainstorm as many ideas as you can and by the end of the week, you’ll be surprised how creative you can be once you decide to gradually learn to let go of judgment.
Start small, go big
Now that you’ve collected numerous (un)feasible but yet creative ideas, acting on any of them is the next logical challenge you will face. To take the first step is always the hardest move. Plus, it is a well-known fact that you will never be perfectly ready to start. Therefore, the best way to do it is not to focus on the accomplishment of the final goal or potential failure, but to invest your energy in the implementation of a series of small, incremental changes, instead of a single, ground-breaking one, which you won’t be able to tackle right away if things go wrong.
You may not control everything and that’s ok
You got the ideas, resisted judgement and started with baby steps. However, if you are in a business situation, you most probably work with people. To cut the risk of a new endeavor it would be wise to collaborate with them and be ready to listen to their opinion. Reasonably enough, you might need to reject some of your audacious ideas that aren’t applicable and to accept more appropriate concepts offered by your coworkers. By letting go of your business-oriented ego, you might lose control over part of the creative and innovative process, but the upcoming gains might be worth the sacrifice.
What’s coming next
In the next blog post we will dive a little deeper into the world of creative and innovative thinking. You will find out how to successfully transfer your personal transformation on company level. As usual, we will support you with all necessary steps and relevant examples to reach the desired effect.