You caught yourself daydreaming again. Although you may think you could have done better with your time, your creative escapade just boosted your productivity.
Our technology-driven society is constantly trying to find new hacks to be more productive, yet paradoxically, it never allows individuals to be in an unfocused state of mind. We end up with overstimulated moments that never give us a break to pause and think.
In an ever-changing, overly-automated world, business challenges require innovative solutions. While mundane tasks have become increasingly performed by machines and artificial intelligence, complex situations still need alternative approaches only the creative human mind can think of.
Rather than depicting them as extreme opposites, we should embrace creativity and productivity together, as a creative mind can strongly influence one’s output. But what is creativity, and why is it the future of your business?
What is creativity in business?
Creativity in the business world is the ability to develop new and original ideas, whether it is regarding a product, a service, or the workflow.
“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.” said Steve Jobs about creativity.
Jobs further thought that without diverse experiences, people “don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.” This narrowed view is called functional fixedness, a cognitive bias preventing individuals from exploring alternative ways to solve a problem.
The creative mind approaches situations from different angles and thinks outside the box to develop innovative solutions. It is precisely this nonlinear process that increases productivity and differentiates one business from another.
By noticing what doesn’t work, the creative individual is able to find more efficient and effective solutions to work smarter, not harder. This approach impacts the launch of new products or services and eases the workflow, leaving more time for creative thinking.
When creativity hits a wall, how do you get around it?
While a creative mindset is subject to failure due to its risk-taking nature, it is that same failed experience that the individual accepts, processes, and connects with other dots to develop further ideas.
But that willingness to experiment comes with its challenges. Creativity often questions norms and old ways of thinking. Businesses tending to adopt the “we’ve always done it this way” method are stuck in a known pattern that hinders their potential.
Now more than ever, business leaders must develop the ability to think outside the box and show adaptability to overcome challenges. Continuous improvement and encouraging fresh ideas are crucial to fostering business growth. So, how do you develop a creative mindset?
Deepen your knowledge
Developing your knowledge beyond your field makes finding new solutions to problems easier. By opening yourself to diverse backgrounds and listening to other insights, your mind absorbs numerous experiences and stores alternative ideas you would not have thought about.
Building enough dots to connect through multiple experiences is the key to triggering your creativity effortlessly when you most need it.
You can’t trigger creativity on and off like a light switch. Inspiration often comes when we are free of distractions and our subconscious mind is wide open to imagination. Indeed, studies have found that creativity occurs when we are disengaged from a task, almost in a state of boredom.
Take screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who showers six times a day and changes into new clothes to find inspiration. He explains the process as a “do-over” to find fresh ideas to write about rather than an obsession with germs.
Go out in nature
Just as ideas come to us when we are bored, nature has also proved to aid in accessing creativity. A natural environment allows you to recharge and redirect your attention, giving your mind a break to find ideas effortlessly.
So next time you feel stuck in your work, take a shower, go out for a walk, or whatever activity distracts you from your work for a while. You’ll most probably find your aha moment during this time.
Embrace creativity, thrive in business
Gone are the days when a fruitful imagination was a childlike quality or a characteristic reserved for artists, writers, and film producers to entertain us.
Today’s competitive market relies on creative professionals who can shape tomorrow’s consumer needs by bringing an innovative vision. Turn off your device and take a moment to unfocus; you might find your next big business idea.