How can you learn to be more creative?

Mind-map showing a wide range of nonhierarchic...
Mind-map showing a wide range of nonhierarchical relationships (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurial venture founders use idea generation and creativity in coming up with a new business idea whether that be starting something from scratch or taking a second-hand business and repurposing it for a specific target market. Once the small business is up and running, the small business owner would typically deal with a number of difficulties, problems and challenges – all of which need creativity to be solved.

One of the key traits of successful entrepreneurs is their ability to be creative, to come up with new ideas and to think differently, pushing boundaries rather than working on something that has already been done. They create new methods and new approaches for the future rather than borrowing on ideas that come from the past.

If you know how to look for ideas and generate ideas, then you have a distinct advantage in this service economy. But how do you go about becoming more creative? Is it something that you need to read a book on, attend a course or learn from somebody else such as a coach or mentor?

It really depends on your needs. What do you want to achieve? Where are you now in your present level of thinking? Do you have pressure on you to change, to come up with new business ideas? Do you require a new source of income?

Whatever method you use to become more creative you need to consider whether it will help you get out of your same old thinking patterns and begin to open up new ways of thinking. As one creativity consultant says, a program to increase your innovation should stretch you to think of new ways without abandoning logic and reason. That’s why it’s important to not pursue creativity for creativity’s sake. It’s far better to get hold of a program, book or course that will be relevant to your field of business or interest.

Like any activity that you begin from scratch, you will need to come to terms with some awkwardness and struggle in the beginning. But the more you push yourself, the more you will learn. At some point you will reach a stage where suddenly things click into place and you have learnt a new way of thinking or ways to identify ideas or generate them yourself. People like Edward de Bono, for instance, have been teaching business people creativity skills such as lateral thinking, brainstorming and mind maps for years. Some of these new approaches have had spectacular results for large businesses but many small businesses too.

Creativity is not a solo act. Yes, you can come up with new ideas yourself but group brainstorming, if handled in a deliberate and professional way, can lead to personal and business breakthroughs. It takes maturity to allow ideas to flow from all areas in your small business, including the lowest paid person to your brightest star.

Learning how to encourage other people to come up with new ideas and not knocking them on the head if the ideas stink is all part of increasing the creative capital for yourself and your business. Find out more here.

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