10 Tips for Creative Thinking

1. Challenge current approaches to your work. Think about whether you and your direct reports can work together in new, previously unimaginable possibilities.

2. Challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. Ask yourself, your colleagues and your direct reports whether your current views about how things are done in your company are correct.

3. Get educated. Take a course on a subject like creative thinking, creative writing or improvisational acting to help you flex your creative thinking muscles.

4. Use Mind-Maps. On blank sheet of paper, draw pictures, your ideas and the way in which they can be connected. You can have more connections than if you simply listed ideas on a piece of paper.

5. Be positive. See problems as challenges and opportunities. Open your mind to new ideas, even if they at first they seem absurd.

6. Call on creative types. Identify the creative people in your company. Call on them to get involved in brainstorming sessions and other such activities if you need help stimulating participants’ creative juices.

7. Change your routine. Make small changes in your daily routines and physical environment to help you see that things can be done in different ways.

8. Listen for change resistance. When you hear someone say, “We have always done it like this,” be ready to challenge their assumptions. Use the phrase: “Up until now…” (We’ve done it this way; we haven’t been able to do this, etc…).

9. Book time to be creative. Block out time in your daily routine that is not booked with a meeting, task, or other work. Use this time to let your thoughts wander: You may also find yourself thinking of new ideas to solve old problems.

10. Model creativity. By offering playful and seemingly absurd ideas to others, you model creative thinking. Others may emulate you-further spreading the creative energy in your group.