Fresh Thinking Hub

Creativity. It’s just about being a bit arty, right? Well no, not exactly.

Now, the thing with creativity is that contrary to popular belief, it isn’t about being whacky or alternative.

It’s actually about a certain way of thinking. A way of coming at problems and challenges from a different and sometimes unexpected angle which is driven, scientists tell us, by the right-hand side of our brains. And in business, this way of thinking can prove pretty useful. Why? Well, thinking creatively can enable you to learn more, help push yourself further and value other people’s ideas and opinions – not just your own. No wonder it can be such a valued attribute.

So, is there a way you can start thinking more creatively? The simple answer is ‘yes’ and you’ll be glad to know that there are, in fact, a number of creative habits which many successful business people tend to practice. To get you started we’ve pulled together 13 that you can adopt easily to help you improve that business mindset of yours.

1. Listen. Really listen.

Being a great listener is about more than just keeping quiet while others are talking. Reacting, engaging and making suggestions are all vital parts of being a great listener – something that can often go awry in business.

Instead of only finding negatives in what others are saying, creative thinkers are more likely to add to conversations by giving suggestions or challenging ideas. And that means building on conversations, not just agreeing passively or shutting them down.

2. Stay curious - it pays dividends.

Smiling man on tablet in hairdressing salon

Find yourself asking a lot of questions? Excellent! Being curious is key to being creative. Constantly testing your campaigns and techniques to find out more about what you do and why is a fundamental part of building a successful business.

3. Be the keenest learner you know.

Creative thinkers are by nature keen learners. Often (some may say more often than not) dissatisfied with their current work, they are constantly trying to find ways to improve. In a business environment, this usually means continuously analysing and refining your current processes. Think you could be doing your job better? Take a step back and find out how you can progress.

4. Embrace challenges like a long-lost friend.

Despite how it may sometimes feel, new challenges aren’t something to shy away from. In fact, many successful business people see them as opportunities - opportunities to think innovatively and seek out new solutions to existing problems.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ever.

Not ones for settling, creative thinkers are likely to find themselves questioning old methods. And why not? If you want to keep up with fast-paced markets, constantly adapting is essential for maintaining your competitive edge.

6. Never be afraid to be persistent.

Two men shaking hands after a meeting

Didn’t quite get it right first time? Well, it’s time to revaluate and give it another shot. Being able to keep thinking of different ways to tackle a problem is the first stage. The second is having the resilience to keep trying. And then keep on trying.

7. Seek out solutions, however illusive they may be.

Constantly trying to find new ways to tackle issues, creative thinkers are great problem solvers. Often find yourself stuck on one train of thought? Practice looking at situations from multiple perspectives to influence your decision making.

8. Keep open to suggestions no matter where they come from.

As well as being able to champion your own ideas, having the ability to drop them if someone else suggests a better alternative is also a vital skill. Listening to and genuinely considering other people’s ideas are essential attributes for business growth - not to mention a healthy working environment.

9. Aim high. No, higher.

Creative thinkers really do aim high – usually beyond what many people would view as realistic expectations, and this creative trait is often linked to being successful in business. As a renowned thought-leader in creative and innovative thinking for organisations, Sir Ken Robinson reckons:

‘For most of us the problem isnt that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed.’

10. Stay positive, stay passionate.

Smiling cashier at a bakery

Not fazed by new problems or challenges, creative thinkers are generally speaking optimistic and enthusiastic about the task in hand. So instead of stifling a little groan next time you’re tasked with a tricky problem at work, why not try and incite a positive attitude towards your goal? You might just find you achieve it much quicker.

11. Don’t wait for others to fire you up - be a self-starter.

Find it easy to motivate yourself? Good. Entrepreneurs are usually very skilled at initiating creative thinking under their own steam. But if you’re not already one for being proactive, try making lists at the start of the day to motivate yourself to keep working as the day goes on.

12. Keep those eyes peeled at all times.

Creatives can generate some of their best ideas from observing the world around them. Not convinced? Take some time to observe the daily practices in your business and in others, and see what you can learn. You just never know what might spark a big idea.

13. Go on, take a few risks.

Creativity and risk-taking go hand in hand. Most creative thinkers aren’t afraid of failure – a habit that can serve you well in business. Although not all ideas will pay off, if you take a punt at trying out new ways of working or putting forward alternative concepts, you might just find yourself reaping the rewards further down the line.

Think you’ll be taking up any of these creative habits? Let us know via Twitter!

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