According to Bloomberg Businessweek, recruiters rank creative problem solving as the second most difficult skill to find among job applicants.
Over 35% of workers are only allocated "breaks" a few times a year to work on creative endeavors, if not part of their normal workflow. An Adobe study found that 78% of college educated graduates over the age of 25 wish they had more creative ability.
Creativity is the thinking that fuels innovation. Innovation is what allows great companies to stand the test of time, to continue to be relevant, and to grow.
Strategy and logic can get you far. A sound, logical strategy is needed for the foundation in which you build or create ANYTHING - however, a healthy dose of creativity is required to get you ABOVE the noise. ABOVE the competition. It can help you differentiate. It can help you innovate.
SLOW DOWN. Our world moves way too fast. Often we are so crunched for time that wed don't allow ourselves pockets of time to pause. We are too obsessed with moving from one thing to the other - else, we don't meet our deadlines. We run out of time. Slowing down allows for pockets of "nothingness" and in that "nothingness" our mind is more likely to wander - our mind needs the time and the space to wander.
As a runner, a lifter and a frequenter of spin class - when I want to foster more creativity, I force myself to slow down and walk. It forces my BODY and my MOVEMENT to slow - while allowing my mind to wander. I will also use this technique to create space in my day for creative work.
Yoga and meditation have also been known to promote divergent and convergent thinking - both aiding in your ability to understand existing ideas and create disruptive ideas.
GET INSPIRED. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something and we can "get inspired" by consuming other content and ideas. Subscribe to newsletters for a "daily dose", follow favorite artists or creators or writers. People doing "their thing" often inspires us to do "our thing" - so the more we surround ourselves with inspiration the more we allow our mind to get hyperactive, think and question, leading to more a more creative way of thinking.
TWEAK, DON'T COPY. Very few well known things in our world are truly novel and original ideas. Most are successful because they fuse familiarity with a new and novel concept. Take AirBnB. Online vacation rentals were a way for travelers to book house-like rentals over hotels way before AirBnB existed. What AirBnB did was to reimagine the experience as an app. It expanded accessibility of renting. It make the user experience of booking a rental fast and easy - and it grew large enough to compete head-to-head with the hotel industry. AirBnB fused something we were already familiar with - an existing idea - with a newer way of thinking about it. Don't be afraid to reimagine, re-engineer or recreate an existing idea with just a touch of something different or personal to your own life experience.
I had this fear about launching the Creator Elevation Digital Workshop. This information is already out there. It's already published by successful creators. So why was it creative for me to have my own workshop? My format is different. My experience and perspective on the "brand side" is totally different. I have been fortunate enough to work with startups through large corporations - my experience is uniquely different. And looking at it through a lens and mission of impact is different. That is creative.
QUESTION THE STATUS QUO. Why are things the way they are? Do they have to be that way? Creative ideas can come from questioning and exploring new truths. Thinking "wrong" creates disruption. It allows for deeper reflection and ideation from exploring new territory. It can lead to creative and original ideas and fusions.
MAKE NO SENSE. Dare to dream bigger. Allow your brain to not make sense when you are brainstorming and thinking. Let your logic (or someone else's logic) compliment the idea, but don't be afraid to let your mind go there. We get more creative and we find new solutions when we explore bigger concepts and crazier ideas. I like to give UBER as the example here - because I don't think a soul on earth would believe you if you told them that in just 7 YEARS you could press a button on your phone that would hail you someone's personal car, and you would get into that car with a complete stranger. You would have never believed that enough people would be willing to do this - that taxi companies are threatened. Allow your mind to not make sense at first - you can find the supporting data later. You can tweak to the data later.
Creativity requires a different way of thinking than logic - so to put it simply - allow yourself to be illogical.
BE PRESENT. In order to allow our world to inspire us, to slow down, to question the status quo and understand what makes sense and what doesn't - we HAVE to in tune to the world around us. The truth is, so many of us aren't. We arrive at a coffee shop nearly late to work. We have already started checking our emails in line. Maybe we didn't even GET in line, we sent a mobile order through so our goal is to GET the coffee and get back on the road. We are preoccupied with our own lives, that we are missing every single thing that could provide a source of inspiration or creative ideation within that coffee shop.
I forced myself off my phone one time long enough to realize that while it's easy to pay for someone's coffee in the drive through, Starbucks hasn't quite figured out a way to do this in line without you physically standing there to swipe your card again. What if I want to be anonymous? What if we invented a program or a line of code (not that I'm a coder) that would allow a card to be re-used for a second order or be retained at checkout for the next order with permission. Can we?
What about when you are doing work in the coffee and you have to pee, but you don't want to lose your seat? One day I started doodling lock boxes that go into the tables and chairs that say OCCUPIED and lock up our valuables so we don't lose our seats, but also we don't have to bring our coffees or laptops in the dirty bathrooms. My social media feed loved it. I never capitalized on it. (Feel free to steal).