Why Creative Thinking Is A Core Competency For Your Business
This post is designed to introduce you to creative thinking and how you (yes, YOU!) can apply it to your business with incredible results.
This applies to you if building a stand out brand is important to you, and if having a toolkit to stand apart in a crowded market is important to your business.
Specifically, I will be showing you:
- What creative thinking is
- Why it matters now, more than ever
- How you can apply it to your business with ease, bringing incredible results.
Think about how being different applies to your business:
- Building your own lexicon that connects, disrupts, and magnetises clients ('bye 'bye cookie cutters)
- Product ideas, concepts and approaches that are original, interesting, and sell-out worthy.
- A brand that has story hooks and interest (hello PR coverage and being talked about everywhere).
...and that's just for starters.
So, what is creative thinking?
Creative thinking is a set of methodologies and tools to enable and uncover new perspectives, ideas, and approaches.
Far from being an exclusive club for the Silicon Valley set, creative thinking is a killer tool that you can start to use easily in your business, right now.
What we are talking about here is “little-c” creativity (Craft, 2000) as opposed to creating a masterpiece of artwork of a creative activity.
Little-c creativity, as described by Edward de Bono, is “breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way”.
To that end, little-c creativity, or creative thinking, is focussed on creative thinking skills that allow us to come up with original ideas.
Those original ideas don't need to be a new product or service (although they often are).
- They could also be ways to improve a workflow, production line, or manufacturing process.
- They could be ways to describe what you do in a way that has impact in a crowded marketplace.
- They could be concepts, experiences, or approaches that are novel.
Creative thinking leads to innovation, which keeps you at the edge of your game.
Now, you don't need to be a tech giant to use creative thinking techniques in your business.
Far from it.
These skills are easy to acquire and to implement and have HUGE impact.
Just this week I have facilitated creative thinking sessions for clients in which we used triggers to generate a plethora of ideas.
These ideas formed the basis of new book ideas, approaches, language to use in copy, and a whole raft of content ideas to build on.
By using creative thinking techniques you can stand apart from the crowd, find your own voice, embrace originality, and discover solutions to the problems in your business.
Now, more than ever, as the world we live in changes at lightning speed, the ability to adapt, innovate, and find solutions is a critical competency.
So, far from being a nebulous, intangible entity, creative thinking is essential to your business.
So, who am I to talk about this stuff?
Well, my first career was graphic design, in which I followed a path to become a Senior Designer and New Business Manager.
The piece I loved the most about briefing and managing my team was the creative brainstorms I would facilitate to get killer results for our clients.
When I did my MA in Design Management I followed the research to look at how creative thinking impacts sales for small businesses, and delved into the magic of ideation.
When I went self-employed, I worked as a copywriter, blogger, travel writer, lecturer and designer, all of which require creative thinking and ideation for pitches, solutions, and projects.
In my business right now, I teach clients how to use creative thinking and how to brand their brilliance and stand out in a crowded market, combining all the threads of my portfolio career.
I want YOU to be able to find solutions, stay agile, original, and successful.
So, to re-cap:
- We know that creative thinking is a core competency in a business wanting to thrive.
- We know that now, more than ever, innovative solutions and problem-solving is essential.
- We know that creative thinking techniques help to uncover new ideas and solutions.
At the very start of idea generation is the practice of keeping your own creative well topped up.
Original ideas and unique perspectives (essential for setting you apart in business) will emerge when you allow time and space for your brain to get creative, and when your experience changes regularly.
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to curate flashmobs or quit the day job to paint (although heck, if it feels good? DO IT!).
This is little-c creativity, where it's all about using creative thinking as a tool.
Feeding your creative well is a key practice in developing creative thinking habits.
The good news is, this has a cumulative effect, and is SO easy to implement.
Set yourself the challenge to do something different every day, no matter how small - just something.
Make little turns of slightly left or slightly right to your usual path to see what will happen.
I am talking about tweaks:
- If you usually order a cappuccino go for a flat white or a new blend of beans.
- If you read blogs, find a new one to read one day.
- Get off at a different tube or bus stop and look around you.
- Try a new app.
- Order a different wine to the usual;
- Bake something new.
- Watch something new.
- Try a new album, podcast, radio station.
- Visit a new gallery.
You get the idea.
So, what could you do that is new?
Handily, I have provided 21 prompts to help make this easy for you.
You can access them here.
What we are looking to do here is to set up a new habit - and habits take time to stick.
If you can begin making these tiny tweaks every day for the next month, you are well on the way to filling your creative well as a natural habit.
Think about how to remind yourself to keep your new habit.
- Set a reminder in your Google Calendar or your iPhone
- Put Post It Notes in strategic places (by the kettle, for us caffeine addicts)
- Use an app like I Done This to record your adventures with an email prompt.
- Crack open a new Evernote for each week and set a reminder
- Create a recurring Trello card.
....or something else that works for you.
Give yourself the edge by feeding your creativity daily.
To get started today with a super quick and easy creative thinking exercise that takes minutes, try this:
Choose a Netflix film or series that you watched recently and loved.
Now, take 10 minutes and make a note of everything that springs into your head about it.
- Catch phrases
- Set/location...and anything else that springs to mind. No judgement here.
We are using your chosen film/series as a "trigger".
(I tend to use my Moleskine journal or a white board and sharpies for exercises like this, but work however feels natural to you.)
How did you get on?
Did you find some words, phrases and themes?
Now, think about how you can apply those to your business.
Not sure what I mean?
I invite you to take a peep at this recent Facebook live video I did within my Facebook group which walks through the process (join in with the discussion too, I would love to hear your thoughts).
Ready to dive in more and use creative thinking for a stand out brand? Check out the online workshop.