The Truth About Creativity
First, let’s dispel some myths about creativity. The following statements are absolutely true:
- Your level of creativity is not determined at birth.
- You don’t need “genius” intelligence to come up with unique and innovative ideas.
- This skill is important in project management, business and almost every endeavor.
- You can learn to express greater creativity.
If your creative abilities are not serving you well, then take action now. Not only will you provide higher quality contributions in the many areas of project management that require creativity, but this ability will spill over to other areas of your life. It’s like a muscle. When you focus on it and use it, it will become stronger. And, when it does…the sky’s the limit.
An Action Plan for a Creative Foundation
A free Action Plan to Improve Creativity is available for download in the Media Gallery. An individual can download this template, review the questions and create a personalized roadmap to enhance creative abilities. The results will benefit your next project, and the next one…and the next one. These seven tips to improve creativity are incorporated in the template:
1. Open your mind to being creative. Notice when you use this skill and areas where it would be helpful. In addition to work you might do programming and creating materials, consider suggestions you have made for process improvement. Look outside the workplace too. Are you resistant to change? A conscious decision to be more creative will bring opportunities to build this muscle.
2. Become an expert. In order to advance creative ideas, you must be knowledgeable about the subject matter. Learn everything you can about your areas of responsibility, your company and your industry. As a result, you will be in a position to offer creative thoughts and critically evaluate new ideas.
3. Broaden your horizons. In addition to specific expertise, you need to know a little about a lot of things. In order to provide unique perspectives on an issue or come up with a new idea, you must draw upon a breadth of knowledge. Learn about other departments at your company. Projects - that bring together experts from various areas - provide the perfect opportunity to expand your education. Read books, listen to others, share ideas, and take classes or seminars. Be an enthusiastic learner.
4. Take on challenges and learn from failures. Oliver Wendall Homes said “The human mind once stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.” Hands-on experiences help you grow and give a foundation for future creative efforts. Once again, the project management area is ripe with opportunities to step up and solve problems and tackle new tasks.
5. Write down your ideas. As you become aware of ideas and thoughts, write them down…or they will be lost. Have you noticed that ideas seem to pop-up while showering, sleeping or taking a walk? Keep a variety of tools available, such a spiral notebook, an application on your phone, voice mail or a washable crayon in your shower.
6. Create an inspiring work environment. Make your workspace a place for inspiration. Tackle desk clutter and organize your office. Add an inspiring quote, picture or symbol of what you are trying to achieve.
7. Establish a creative ritual. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if you systematically did certain things, you would be more likely to come up with a good idea? Here is a suggested pattern used by some creative types:
- Clear your mind. Take a walk or meditate.
- Perform activities that put you in a thinking frame of mind. For example, read a technical article.
- Express creativity. Sit down and write, program or participate in a brainstorming session.
- Evaluate results.
Adjust the routine based upon your creative awareness and these seven tips to improve creativity.
Image Credit: https://www.sxc.hu/photo/1072657
- Epstein, Robert. The big book of creativity games: quick, fun activities for jumpstarting innovation. New York [etc.: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.
- Thompson, Charles. What a great idea! 2.0: unlocking your creativity in business and in life. [Rev. and updated]. ed. New York: Sterling Pub., 2007. Print.
This post is part of the series: Creativity Resources and Strategies
Learn how to inspire creativity in yourself and others with this series of articles that includes a free downloadable action plan for personal development, creativity exercises, strategies and general tips.