How far we go in life and business endeavors actively depend on our imaginative power. Our ability to imagine new situations, methods of doing things, improving or modifying existing methods and systems measures our level of creativity.
The dictionary defines creativity as the ability to create or invent new things. But creativity involves more than that. It includes the ability to identify new ways of improving an already created or invented items, systems or methods. It involves questioning the status quo, continuously assessing ways and methods of doing things, and devising improved methods. It involves pushing boundaries and raising bars.
The subject of creativity has been talked about over and again, but the need for creativity is constantly increasing, as more problems have been created by past creative endeavors, and the world is in a state of continuous change with need for new ways of doing things.
How then can we improve our creative ability? Here are some five (5) time-tested ways that can help us in making full use of our right brain for creative endeavors, in driving organizations forward, maximizing business profitability and enhancing technological advancement.
It is usually said that, necessity is the mother of innovation! The things we enjoy today, such as the air-conditioners, cars etc. all came about as a result of a need for it. These serves as solutions to a problems, or alternative to an existing solution. We must be able to identify problems and devise ways of solving them. For example, when the mainframe computer was in vogue, the designers noticed that there was a high level of power consumption using it. So, the system needed to be worked upon again, in terms of modification of some parts of it or totally abandoning it for more improved alternatives such as the personal computers (PC).
The world is rapidly changing, and so, many old things and methods have become obsolete. For example, the use of mainframe computer has long been replaced by a less cumbersome personal computer (PC), with a lot of advantages in terms of energy consumption and storage. At a time in some countries like Nigeria, coal production for electric power generation was a booming technology. But now, that has been replaced with other fossil fuel alternatives. Likewise, the presently exiting technologies, methods and ways of doing things will in some few years’ time become obsolete. For example, demand for fossil fuel is gradually decreasing on a global scale because of the introduction of more environmental-friendly alternatives such as renewable energy sources.
So, as the world is changing, our thinking patterns towards improvement also need to keep changing for good.
That said, I usually encourage people to build creative thinking around questions such as
a. What would happen if I change the object, system or methods etc?
b. What would I change or improve about this object if I wanted to use it in some 10–15 years?
c. What would I do if I had a one-million-dollar investment to improve it?
A creative person always pictures in his imaginative mind, ways of improving an already initiated methods, systems or technologies. They never stop on the past. Their belief is, everything that was done yesterday was done wrongly. They always push the limits, trying new ways. They keep dreaming, big or small. They regularly train their imaginative strength, practicing their powers of observation and imagination. This isn’t always easy because of this era of information overload and other form of day-to-day distractions, but with discipline, it is possible we focus our heart and might on creative thinking.
Time is needed for any achievable endeavor. We must create time to relax our minds and let the thoughts just flow. And then, we must be able to selectively arrange the thoughts in a logical manner, on paper or other means. High performing individuals, teams and productive organizations, usually set aside time to think, to brainstorm. For example, it is reported that Google usually ask its teams to allocate at least 20% of their time to creative thinking or new projects. That is undoubtedly one of the key reasons behind their cutting-edge innovations.
Every successful innovation starts with an idea, but it is refined by individuals with interest on the idea, people with similar goals. Even great innovators needs people around them to discuss new creative ideas and innovations. Great organizations such as Google, Microsoft, facebook, Schlumberger etc, although came about as concepts in the mind of the founders, but were nurtured by group of people who believed in those ideas. Team play is absolutely essential in bringing about a creative outcome!
Creativity builds up as learning grows up.