The last couple of years have been challenging to say the least! As business owners we have had to manage in an everchanging world and constantly adapt and learn how to move forward in unpredictable times. Having worked as a disruption specialist over a number of years, I wanted to put together some valuable insights gleaned from my work in this area, and so I created this series of 4 blogs.
The series covers off 4 areas:
• How to accept what’s not in your control and embrace ambiguity
• Develop your resilience and mental toughness for success
• Develop your creative thinking to open your mind to new ideas
• Use scenario planning to imagine what the future could look like
So, in this third blog, I take a look how as a business owner you can develop your creative thinking to create opportunities out of problems and steer your business through uncharted waters.
Take a walk on the wild side
In a world full of algorithms and formulas, we have all been programmed to use calculated responses that require little to no creativeness.
But creative thinking in business is a way to inspire, challenge, find innovative solutions and create opportunities out of problems. It is a desirable skill and one that, when applied effectively, is the reason why some companies wow us.
Thinking creatively about your business in uncertain times like the pandemic is an opportunity to take a walk on the wild side and let your inner weirdness shine brightly. You can treat it like a blank canvas. You have the paintbrush in your hand. Now how will you build success?
When we were children, creativity was available in spades. From role-playing doctors and nurses, having invisible friends, to colouring outside the lines and not caring, the world of imagination reaches our peaks during childhood. Interestingly enough, a longitudinal study conducted by NASA indicated that 98% of their four and five-year-old test subjects scored ‘creative genius levels’. Ten years later, only 5% of the same group achieved the same level. More startling is that only 2% of adults scored highly. The question remains, is society conditioning us to fit in by applying cookie-cutter attitudes to our thinking processes as we age?
4 HOURS OF FREE MARKETING ADVICE FOR NSW BUSINESSES
How Creativity Can Thrive in Uncertain Times
We’ve seen the rise of machines and digital technologies take on the role of data and analytics. However, it’s still us humans who think outside of the box.
Creative thinking doesn’t just apply to professions such as music and art. It’s an essential skill across every industry and sector. As we adapt to a post-pandemic world, creativity will be an in-demand skill. It will be required to steer the business through ongoing challenges and opportunities.
Let’s look back at challenging economic times throughout history. You will notice that these moments forced businesses to pivot and introduced us to many new start-ups that are now household names. Some examples include Disney, which first arrived during The Great Depression and Netflix, which many of us binged during the pandemic.
How Can You Train Your Brain to be More Creative?
French Author Marcel Proust once said, The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.
How can you gain a fresh perspective if you don’t view yourself as a creative thinker? Switching gears and using non-traditional solutions to solve problems can be intimidating, particularly if you don’t feel like you’re a creative thinker.
But there is good news.
The brain is just like any other muscle. It can be trained.
Some might think you’re either born with it or you’re not. But these skills can be learned to allow you to tap into your imagination. You will have to set aside time to nurture the creative part of your brain.
Like a runner, the more often and further you run, the easier it becomes. The same applies to tapping into the frontal cortex, the front part of your brain often thought to be the hub of creativity.
DRIVE REAL RESULTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Expanding your creative side can even be as simple as closing your eyes and doing nothing. This is a perfect way to start training your brain. With no external disruptors (yes that means no phone), your brain can be still. A still mind that does absolutely nothing, will have more space for creativity.
You don’t need to turn your world upside down to start thinking creatively. Below are some small steps that you can try to help spark your creativity.
Explore Somewhere New
You can help your brain unlock when you experience new things. If you’re at work and unable to finish a task because you simply feel stuck, get up from your desk and go outside. Sophie Fischer, Drew Barrymore’s character in Music and Lyrics (2007), says it best “Out on the streets you see things and, you know, hear things and eat things. It all sort of unlocks your mind” This is why taking your designated breaks and getting out of the office at lunchtimes are so critical.
Let your mind off its leash and allow yourself to spend time in the world of make-believe. According to the journal of Psychological Science, mind wandering fosters creativity. You don’t have to sit still with your eyes closed. You can daydream about doing the world’s most mundane tasks like washing dishes or carrying out repetitive tasks such as knitting or doodling. Put your favourite playlist on while doing housework. The broom now becomes a microphone, and you’re not just cleaning the house. You’re a rock star making a music video. It sounds silly, but it trains your brain to be more imaginative.
This doesn’t have to be a ‘Dear Diary’. It can be a sacred place where you can sketch, jot down ideas for work or books you want to read, doodle, reflect on things you are grateful for and brainstorm. Journaling is a helpful idea for entrepreneurs to foster clear and creative thinking.
NEED SOME GUIDANCE WITH YOUR MARKETING?
Take advantage of our free 15-minute discovery call and discover what your business needs to grow.
Change your routine when you get ready for work in the morning
It’s easy to go into autopilot in the morning. So why not change up your routine. Instead of eating the same thing for breakfast every morning, buy something else to munch on. Don’t immediately jump in the shower. Sit outside for thirty minutes without your phone and listen to the sounds. Whatever it might be, get creative about how you can change it up.
Take a different route when you’re driving to work
Sure, Google Maps might give you the fastest way to work, but there are loads of streets that take you from your home to the office. So why not explore them. Allow yourself to get a little lost. Head in the general direction and explore your surroundings. Count how many ways you can get to work and get creative with your trip every time you jump in the car.
Say yes to something that you would typically say no to
Firstly, think about why you’re saying no. Is it to the detriment of the business, or is it something unsafe? If not, what is the harm in saying yes? Consider about what can go right instead of what might go wrong. It will help shift your mindset and give you an alternative perspective to business.
Free Your Imagination
There are many different techniques you can employ to unlock your creativity. Once you find the activities that work for you, you’ll be able to use your new found creativity and apply it to develop new ideas, challenge your thinking, create opportunities out of problems and cope better with the unknowns.
Free Brand Statement Worksheet