How do we inject more creativity into our business – conceptualising, planning, implementing — and find the time to do so? Working in fixed time slots is seemingly impossible with today’s demands on our time. Tablet computers, smart phones, e-mails and the Internet are all meant to save time but our e-mail boxes are brimming every day and continuous disruptions from associates in company cubicle land have become the norm. Finding time to create before the workday begins has its merits but it’s not always easy to do with morning traffic, urgent and “unforseen” crises and cell phone calls.
How do we inject creativity into our business projects with little or no time available?
Some people find it difficult to do creative thinking in cubicle or office environments. This is so even when businesses such as legal firms are splashed with such vibrant décor and furnishings to make the environment feel like a fun place to work despite seriousness of the business. Yet whether your business environment is a kitchen table or an open plan cubicle, it is possible to inject energy and creativity into what you do right where you are. Rather than blocking out creative time, separate from what you are doing, why not add creative time to the project that you are working on.
All it takes is some additional thought and time while you are doing your project. Say you are working on a customer sales proposal that will result in significant money to the business. Sitting at your laptop or with a white page, do some initial brainstorming on how you are going to up the game. Do some white-sheet thinking whether it is on your laptop or on an executive pad. Freewrite for 10 minutes on how you can add appeal or value to your proposal. If you’re not sure about freewriting and how it works, go to this link (insert link here). Perhaps you’d prefer to draw a mind map. Create it on paper or use a mind map programme (see some of the more useful ones here). You may want to try clustering which is similar to a mind map but focuses more on word association.
All these techniques help expand your thinking from the usual. With expanded thinking you are more likely to come up with different approaches and fresh ideas. As you freewrite, create a mind map or a cluster, you will find that you will enter a flow where you will access fresh perspectives and ideas. When you have completed your 10-minute creative time (using your smart phone timer will be useful), relax for a few minutes and get on with your proposal. You would have invigorated yourself so much so that you will have a new energy as you tackle your business project. You will feel more in control and you will be excited about the amazing ideas that you have come up with to create value for yourself and your business.
If you carry on doing this throughout the day for your more important projects, you will find that your whole notion of “work” takes on a different perspective.
Sometimes all it takes is 10 minutes to think through a whole project and find a solution and it feels as though half of your project is already completed. Just image how much you could accomplish with such injections of 10-minute power sessions. These 10-minute sessions can add huge impact to your projects.
It may be useful to think of these 10-minute power sessions with the mnemonic IGNITE. This process that has worked in coaching, consulting and workshops and will help you remember the process that we have outlined above.
Ideas: You need to produce ideas to improve the impact of your important work.
Generate: Ideas sometimes just pop out of seemingly no where but you need a process to come up with ideas. Creativity techniques help you break out of your routine thinking.
Now: You can use the IGNITE process at any time during the day. The process will lead you into your zone where you will generate new ideas and perspectives.
Imagine: You need to stimulate your imagination. Coax your unconscious mind to work for you when you offer it challenges to solve.
Test: Evaluate your ideas after you have had a chance to let them cool down. A reality check is essential but don’t censor or edit your ideas in the creation process.
Energise: The IGNITE process will re-energise you and add sparkle to your projects. You will find yourself eager to experiment with applying the same techniques to other areas of your business and personal life such as exploring ways to increase money-making opportunities and wealth creating investments. But remember to take frequent breaks. Enjoy yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun.
Whether we are architects, designers, leaders, marketers, musicians or painters, we can all benefit from igniting our work to create greater value for our customers, clients and audiences. The IGNITE process shows you how to inject creativity into your business anywhere and anytime.