As technology leaders we often are at the forefront in taking the lead in coming up with innovative ideas and uses of technology to help spur new products, services and offerings to help our companies grow.
So how’s your creativity lately? We if you’re like me, every so often you need help spurring the creative juices. So that is what this post is all about … breaking outside of our normal thinking patterns. Now mind you, not everything is going to lead to a great new idea. This is one of those few areas, where technology professionals can leave the precise project management, KPIs, ROI, etc. behind for the wild open spaces.
Being creative can be hard work! But very rewarding. I would suggest setting aside time at least every other week to focus on ‘getting out of your own way’. I like to find a hiking trail. I know other people who like a quiet room and a comfortable chair. The key is finding a place where you can forget the cares of the day, breathe freely and let your mind be still.
A Path to Creativity
When I’m on the hiking trail and focusing on the sun, the wind, the trees and nature around me, my mental state switches to a different rhythm. This calmness is a prelude to new ideas, viewpoints and methods streaming into my consciousness, much to my delight!
Creative Problem Solving
When I do have a specific problem to solve, like “how can I increase our Search Engine Results Page (SERP) position?”. Or “how can I use our analytics data to increase sales leads beyond the tried and true?” I augment the aforementioned method by adding a structure to help get the ball rolling.
The structure is not meant to fall back into my same old thinking pattern, but to allow me to purposely follow a different pattern. I do this by asking questions about the problem, vs trying to solve it. Here are some of the ones I have used:
- How would Superman solve this problem?
- If I looked at this backward what would it look like?
- Is this really a problem?
There are many other techniques, but this one is easy to start with and can produce good results. When getting started, don’t limit the types of questions. Over time you’ll find a repeatable set that you find useful. And even after you have a good working set, don’t forget to throw in some new ones every once in a while, just to keep things fresh!
More Insights on the Creative Process
There are many useful articles on this topic, below are a few I found useful:
- How To Be Creative – By JONAH LEHRER – Wall Street Journal
- How to Be Creative: The Science of Genius – Josh Catone – Mashable