Seven Habits for More Creative Ideas
If you can adopt them, the habits that follow will make you
a creative problem solver. These actions and thought patterns
can be used to generate dozens of good creative ideas at a time.
But they will only make you an effective problem solver if you
use them habitually, so how do you make a habit of these? Just
repeat the following daily for few weeks.
1. Relax and Take a Deep Breath
Breathe deeply through your nose for a few minutes and let
the tension release from your neck and shoulders. There is some
evidence that tensed-up shoulders and neck can reduce blood flow
to the brain. There is a lot of evidence that creativity increases
when we are relaxed.
2. Examine Your Assumptions
Anytime you approach a problem, take a look at the assumptions
you and others are making. Challenge them, to see what you might
learn. For example, if you are trying to design a new pet store,
you might challenge the idea people have to come to see the animals.
Of course they have to come to see them, you assume, but upon
challenging the idea, it occurs to you that you might bring the
pets into people's homes, so they can see how they'll do there.
This might even be a great sale's technique.
3. Ask "What If" Questions
Simple questions that start with "what if" can be
a powerful way to generate new and creative ideas. For example,
the question "What if books were free?" could lead
to a series of books that have paid advertising in them, and
are given away. Many free newspapers are profitable in this way,
so it is a natural thought to try it with books. The idea is
to ask many "what if" questions, and let anything come
to mind to be explored for a moment.
4. Assume You'll Have A Good Idea
Make the assumption that you'll have a good idea. This is
a powerful way to stimulate your brain, and a great habit to
have. I have to assume that I'll come up with plausible examples
for these techniques as I write this article, and I am convinced
that this assumption keeps the ideas coming.
5. Look For Another Approach
What other ways can you approach this problem? This is a question
you should be in the habit of asking yourself. Suppose you are
a landlord, and you have a problem getting non-paying tenants
evicted. They stay forever, and you keep trying new legal strategies.
Then you ask yourself what other approaches might work, and it
occurs to you that you can pay them to leave. You still make
more money because you get new tenants (who pay) in more quickly.
Always look for other approaches.
6. Look for Humor in the Situation
The neighbors dog barks when you're trying to sleep, despite
your many complaints. You look for the humor in the situation,
and find yourself wanting to bark at your neighbor. That gives
you the idea to record his own dogs barking and play the recording
very loud when HE is sleeping. Humor can sometimes lead to new
creative ideas and solutions, but laughing is also a great way
to relax, which helps you think better.
7. Play With Other's Ideas
Albert Einstein once said, "The secret of creativity
is knowing how to hide your sources." Most ideas are not
truly "new." Don't be afraid to look around at how
others have solved a problem. Take the creative ideas of other
people and adapt them to your purposes. While trying to spot
a plain suitcase among a hundred similar ones on an airport luggage
carousel, I saw a suitcase that had been painted bright colors.
Someone needs to steal that idea and produce a line of bright,
Develop these 7 habits and you'll regularly have many creative