10 things you can do to increase your level of creativity

November 11, 2013
November 11, 2013

This originally appeared on LinkedIn. You can follow Daniel Burrus here.

Are you a creative person? Most people like to think they are. But the fact is that we can all benefit from a boost to our creative juices.

Those who are truly creative don’t copy what others do; instead, they might use innovative ideas from others as a springboard to come up with a unique application, product, or service for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. If they see another company or person copying what they do, they create something new and better. In other words, they are able to leverage their creativity and their innovative capabilities to attain long-term success.

So would you like to be more creative than you are right now? Here are 10 strategies for increasing your level of creativity.

  1. Truly creative people have developed their ability to observe and to use all of their senses, which can get dull over time. Take time to “sharpen the blade” and take everything in.
  2. Innovation is based on knowledge. Therefore, you need to continually expand your knowledge base. Read things you don’t normally read.
  3. Your perceptions may limit your reasoning. Be careful about how you’re perceiving things. In other words, defer judgment.
  4. Practice guided imagery so you can “see” a concept come to life.
  5. Let your ideas “incubate” by taking a break from them. For example, when I’m working on a big business project, one of the best things I can do to take a break from it is play my guitar or the flute for a few minutes, or take a ride on my motorcycle. It shifts my brain into another place and helps me be more innovative and creative.
  6. Experience as much as you can. Exposure puts more ideas into your subconscious. Actively seek out new experiences to broaden your experience portfolio.
  7. Treat patterns as part of the problem. Recognizing a new pattern is very useful, but be careful not to become part of it.
  8. Redefine the problem completely. One of the lines I’ve been sharing for the past few decades is: “Your problem is not the problem; there is another problem. When you define the real problem, you can solve it and move on.” After all, if you had correctly defined the real problem, you would have solved it long ago because all problems have solutions.
  9. Look where others aren’t looking to see what others aren’t seeing.
  10. Come up with ideas at the beginning of the innovation process … and then stop. Many times we come up with several ideas and start innovating, and then we come up with more ideas and never get any single idea done. At some point you have to turn off the idea generation part of the process and really work on the innovation and execution part in order to bring a project to life.

No matter what your expertise or what industry you’re in, you can become a lot more creative in what you do. In fact, when you apply creativity to every aspect of your business, you are able to stay ahead of a changing marketplace and the competition, and attain long-term success.

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