Master A-Z of Creative Thinking Soft Skills

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” – Maya Angelou.

Let me start by asking you a question. Choose the correct alternative from the options given below:-

What kind of example of creativity can be found at work?

  1. Conducting successful content brainstorming sessions for/with your team/s.
  2. Embracing challenges by taking risk of trying a new way of doing things or developing new ideas.
  3. Asking questions rather than making assumptions to explore new possibilities results in growth.
  4. Accepting constructive criticism/feedback to foster your ideas, work fairly and continue to learn.
  5. Interacting with individuals having diverse thoughts, ideas, backgrounds, and mindsets.
  6. None of the above.
  7. All of the above.

If you select option ‘G‘ your answer is correct. You understand the true meaning of creativity but if your answer is incorrect ‘Don’t worry about it’ like any other soft skill creativity skill can be learned, developed, nurtured, and cultivated. Creativity at work is the potential to exhibit dynamic, innovativeness. It is defined as the ability to see existing objects or processes and combine them in different ways for new purposes or to solve existing issues.

Trivia: – Adobe conducted a global survey on creativity where they interviewed 5,000 adults across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan. The study discovered that 75% of respondents were under growing pressure to be prolific rather than inventive; ironically, they are simultaneously expected to think imaginatively on the job. The respondents also revealed that they spend only 25% of their time at work creating and the biggest barrier to ingenuity was lack of time. Another research performed by LinkedIn found that Creativity is the most In-Demand Soft Skill companies need in 2020.

It is not an overstatement to say that, “You don’t have to be a genius to be creative.” If you want to unleash creativity at work with the best potential hard work, these tips can help: –

Tips for LEADERS-

  1. Encourage honest brainstorming to unlock team’s originality. Reverse brainstorming, Stop-and-go brainstorming, Philips 66 brainstorming, and Brainwriting are the four most effective methods of brainstorming.
  2. Celebrate individualism that builds a sense of belonging in the enterprise. Recognizing human assets for their unique accomplishments, appreciating their contribution, allowing opportunities to share their honest opinions and ideas are a few major components of belongings.
  3. Create a positive work environment to increase employee engagement. Leading with vision motivates workforces to act with passion, and purpose, thereby inspiring human resources toward a common goal.
  4. Share staff member/s positive suggestions with top management and act on the proposal to boost employee/s motivation to contribute. Reward staff members with monetary or non-monetary rewards for the ideas.
  5. Apprehend risk-takers who are creators, not observers. Define agile audacity to create a secure environment for risk-taking. Classify the best risk taker and reward not success but failure too.
  6. Give them the required tools and techniques to come up with innovative thoughts.
  7. Promote workplace flexibility by encouraging work-life balance, embracing the right two-way communication tools, engaging breaks, providing space for resourceful thinking/ written work/ brainstorming at work to reduce absenteeism, turnover, and retardation.
  8. Make office space more vivacious, lively, and bright. Choosing proper colour schemes, light sources, room temperature, cubical space creates an environment in which jobholders feel more relaxed and ingenious.
  9. Engage manpower in the psychological process of identifying, accessing, determining challenges, and developing problem-solving techniques to nurture a team environment, and persuade collaboration within the team.
  10. Hearten innovational office team building games like Lego quest, Marshmallow challenge, Reverse drawing, Clap-clap, and Circle drawing to keep staff engaged, and connected. It also improves interpersonal relationships and promotes diversity in the organisation.
  11. Stay committed to organizational values, mission, and goals but allow flexibility to forces to bend in the way they need, change their work approach and try different ways to achieve the objective.
  12. Build a continuous learning culture that helps cadre to adapt to new skill sets, acclimatize unexpected changes, and develop the habit of acquiring dexterity, knowledge, and abilities.
  13. Finally, while recruiting and selecting human capital make sure you hire a diverse team with different adroitness and bring fresh perspectives into the business.

Tips for EMPLOYEES-

n. To come up with relevant practical ideas knowing your company’s goals, products and services are essential.

o. Stay away from toxic people to remove negativity in your work. Jumpy, nervous energy, negative views, bad-mouthing, criticism are all traits of a toxic person.

p. Take a mental break from day-to-day responsibilities to explore new ideas and prevent burnout. Set aside a time in a day for thinking about different ideas. During breaks watch/listen/read some industry-related topics to flesh out new thoughts.

q. Stand out by seeking inspiration from other sectors, industries, and markets to get an effective blend of imagination and strategic thinking.

r. While watching/ listening/ reading keep a notebook with you or use a notepad on your computer or phone to note all the propositions (even the weirdest ones), examine them, and grow them.

s. Look for several possible alternatives to address critical issues, think over each solution before making a decision.

t. Be curious and ask more questions. To drive your creative thinking and to connect with the world around you gain deep insights, develop more innovative solutions, be broadminded, ask for clarifications, and don’t accept blindly whatever is told to you.

u. Attend training sessions/ seminars/ webinars in methods such as lateral thinking, brainstorming, and mind mapping.

v. Take a risk to face to fear of uncertainty to achieve something despite the possibility of failure. Risk-taking and creative thinking goes hand in hand. If you make any mistake, admit it, take ownership of it, learn from it and avoid repeating them.

w. Exercise, yoga, and meditation can open creative doors for you and make you feel less stressed, more calm/ relaxed, keep the mind sharp, and alleviate anxiety.

x. Do what delights you to be more stimulated and fervent for critical thinking and conceptualizing ingenuity.

y. Use the 6 Thinking Hats technique by dividing up the different styles of thinking into 6 ‘hats’- logic, emotion, caution, optimism, originative, and control.

z. The influence of intrinsic motivation is phenomenal as an individual performs an activity for their inherent satisfaction rather than for external rewards or pressure. It pushes us to go above and beyond our obligations in our work. Stay internally stimulated, stay innovative.

I would conclude with the thoughts of Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

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Smart Ideas: Revisited

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