How to Improve Your Creative Skills
You may have noticed that some individuals are easily able to churn out new and innovative ideas and think creatively, while others may seem to struggle in doing so. That’s because the former type of individual possesses creative thinking skills, while the latter seems to be lacking the same. Although creativity is an innate skill, you can always pick up some useful techniques and skills that will help you to tap into the creative part of the brain (the right brain) and aid in problem-solving, managing change, and also provide a new perspective to innovation.
Let’s take a look at some of the creative thinking techniques which may seem a bit odd, but there are sound principles behind them.
Brainstorming is the act of gathering a group of individuals together and coming up with ideas. Some of the basic rules of brainstorming entail the following:
- Every individual in the team has a say in the discussion.
- All ideas are considered to be valuable.
- No individual is allowed to criticise someone else’s ideas.
Brainstorming sessions are conducted in a couple of different ways such as:
- Every individual in the group follows up on an initial idea. They then use that initial idea to come up with new ones, till a certain point is reached on that particular idea where they then turn to another new idea and continue the same process.
- All the participants in the group are encouraged to come up with more ideas no matter how disconnected they may seem to be. These ideas can always be themed and grouped later.
People utilise this opportunity to group the ideas theme wise, so that the process of exploring new ideas become easier, and can be linked. One of the basic principles of brainstorming is that not every idea may be great. So the best way is to have the group come up with a lot of ideas so that the impractical and inappropriate ideas can be discarded. However, the problem is that there is no hard and fast rule as to how many ideas a group needs to generate to find an apt one. Also, there is no guarantee that you would be able to find that game-changing idea during brainstorming. Hence, it is quite important that the group sets aside a lot of time for brainstorming so that they keep exploring even after they have found a good idea. The reason behind doing so is that the first idea is rarely the best one.
Engaging the Right Brain
A lot of research has been done on the way in both the sides of our brain functions differently. The left side of the human brain focuses on logic and order while the right side of the brain focuses on the creative and innovative aspects. Research has corroborated the fact when certain types of physical activities are being performed, they help in engaging the creative areas of the brain. Let’s take a look at some examples that utilise drawing techniques to help creative thinking.
- Mind Mapping: This technique was created by Tony Buzan. It uses words connected with lines or arrows. This is a good way to represent a large amount of information that is interconnected in a compact manner. A lot of people use this technique while planning presentations or to take down notes during meetings. Usually, a mind mapping technique starts with a single word in the centre which is then linked to concepts and ideas that radiates out via branches.
- Rich Pictures: This is relatively a more visual form of mind mapping. As per this technique, you create a picture of the situation in hand, but by using words in a sparing manner. Thinking becomes more creative if you focus your attention on the pictures. This technique encourages the use of symbols and colours.
- Envisaging the Future: This is an exciting exercise that can be done with a group, especially when a major change is taking place in an organisation. You can use the help of flip charts in this technique or cover the wall with large pieces of paper. Instruct the group to start drawing pictures at one edge and pictorially depict the situation without the usage of words. Once they are done depicting the present situation pictorially, instruct them to move to the opposite edge and draw the ideal futuristic situation. No words can be used on the charts in this entire process. Next, ask the group to draw a large semi-circular bridge between the present and the future sides. Ask them to bring what needs to take place for them to move from one side of the bridge to the other. This section is the crux of the exercise, as it holds the key regarding what actions need to be taken to deal with the situation in hand. The logic behind this exercise is that seeing the pictures makes it easier to bridge the gap between the present and the future situation.
Another way of utilising the creative side of the brain is to build something such as using lego, old card boxes, or balloons. Solving jigsaw puzzles is also a great way to tickle the creative side of the brain.
Whether you may love or hate it, role plays can indeed produce some amazing results. This technique does not only entail the pretence of customer types role plays, but they also cover powerful and radical ideas. Business constellation is a role play technique that facilitates a group to explore the interrelationships within the group with the help of actors or group members who represent certain individuals and not necessarily themselves.
As per this technique, one individual begins by placing the rest of the individuals in the room to show the way in which they perceive the problem. Then each in the group shifts to where according to them they fit the best. As each person moves, it automatically impacts the others in the group who then wish to move again to a place of their choice. The outcome is achieved when everyone in the room is comfortable with their respective position within the group. This represents the structure of the group and the dynamics of the people within it. This is a very powerful technique which may cause emotions to go haywire. So you must do it only under trained supervision.
Key Take Away
There are two important points to keep in mind while you are engaged in creative thinking techniques and skills. The first one is not to stop even when you feel you have reached a good point. It is always suggested that you should carry on a bit further from where you have reached. Just don’t stay put with the initial solution that you have reached. Try and explore other ideas as well. Secondly, you must go with the flow. You will realize that some of the most wonderful outcomes of creative thinking are the ones which are unexpected. So it is essential that you should just go with the flow and see what happens.