We tend not to just sit around and let ourselves create creative thinking. You need to take time out and give your brain the time to wander, imagine, dream and create. Sometimes it doesn’t long before one idea after another enters your thoughts and the creative process blossoms. When it does make sure you can write your ideas down so you can go over them later with a clear mind.
Creative thinking can start with just looking at the place or website or business idea you want to improve. Look at it from a different angle if you can. For instance within a shop, can you use the mirrors for artworks or advertising? Does the floor lend itself to paintings? Can you hang things from the ceiling or make a corner look amazing?
Can displays be more creative? Can you use crystals, shells or wood to transform boring displays? Can you use essential oil burners to evoke a feeling or mood within your shop?
Are you using your social media networks effectively? Can you paint them on the mirror? Are your flyers or pamphlets promoting your social media networks, tips and information that will WOW your customers?
Having trouble starting the process? Then grab a magazine and open it randomly to any page. Now take an element off that page and think about how you could use it in your business. Is there a colour that you like? The font or layout? A picture or image? Keep trying pages until your thinking gets started.
Once you start the thinking process and the ball is rolling then consider using the Six Thinking Hats method.
In 1985 Dr. Edward De Bono developed the Six Thinking Hats method of thinking. The concept develops new ideas and ways to solve problems. In the method there are six imaginary hats and the thinker can put on or take off any of these hats depending on the type of thinking he or she has chosen to use.
Large businesses such as Prudential Insurance, IBM, British Airways, Polaroid and DuPont use the Six Thinking Hats method. The method can be used in all situations where a ‘different’ type of thinking is required. Small businesses can also use this method successfully.
There are six metaphorical hats and the thinker can put on or take off one of these hats to indicate the type of thinking being used. This putting on and taking off is essential. The hats must never be used to categorize individuals, even though their behaviour may seem to invite this.
White Hat thinking
This covers facts, figures, information needs and gaps. “I think we need some white hat thinking at this point…” means Let’s drop the arguments and proposals, and look at the data base.”
Red Hat thinking
This covers intuition, feelings and emotions. “Putting on my red hat, I think this is a terrible proposal.” Usually feelings and intuition can only be introduced into a discussion if they are supported by logic. Usually the feeling is genuine but the logic is spurious.The red hat gives full permission to a thinker to put forward his or her feelings on the subject at the moment without a need to justify it.
Black Hat thinking
This is the hat of judgment and caution. It is a most valuable hat. It is not in any sense an inferior or negative hat. The black hat is used to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts, the available experience, the system in use, or the policy that is being followed. The black hat must always be logical.
Yellow Hat thinking
This is the logical positive. Why something will work and why it will offer benefits. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened.
Green Hat thinking
This is the hat of creativity, alternatives, proposals, what is interesting, provocations and changes.
Blue Hat thinking
This is the overview or process control hat. It looks not at the subject itself but at the ‘thinking’ about the subject. “Putting on my blue hat, I feel we should do some more green hat thinking at this point.” In technical terms, the blue hat is concerned with meta-cognition.
(John Culvenor and Dennis Else Engineering Creative Design, 1995)
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Six Simple Ways to More Creativity
Wouldn’t you like to have more ideas to meet your challenges? Make the most of your creative thinking capacity by using these six proven techniques for easy, and effective idea generation:
- Make sure you understand the challenge first. Take some time and do some research on the situation. You may find that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what actually is going on. Try flipping the perspective, maybe it’s not a selling problem, but a problem with perception of value.
- Defer judgment. When making your list of ideas to solve your problem, just list any idea that comes to you and get into a flow. Don’t be critical or analytical about the ideas, and don’t censor yourself. Even obvious or ‘stupid’ ideas can be a stepping stone to a better idea, so they serve a purpose.
- Get into a playful mindset. Even when the problem is dead serious, a playful mindset is what you want when generating more ideas. The thing said in jest can spark something practical that works. For instance, a woman put up a jokey web site about tumbleweeds to practice building websites. She’s now making a living selling tumbleweeds.
- Make longer lists of ideas. Call it the quantity principle. When confronted with a challenge that requires ideas most of us stop after thinking of just a few things we might do. If you make a longer list of options and give it just a bit more time you exponentially increase your odds of having a better, and possibly a breakthrough idea.
- Write your ideas down. How basic can you get, right? The thing is most of us have good ideas, flashes of insight, at odd moments and we neglect to write them down. We think we’ll remember, but in truth they often vanish into the ether. Carry a small notebook to keep your idea lists with you at all times. If you think you don’t have many great ideas, all the more reason not to waste the few you do have. It’s also a great thing to pull out when you are waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store (see #4!)
- Once you have a long list, create combinations. Marketers know that the easiest way to create a new product is to make a new combination. Think of those gym shoes kids have with the tiny roller skate wheels, a simple combination that sold a lot of shoes. Review your long list of ideas and see if you can combine two or more to create a more powerful idea to solve your problem or meet your challenge.
Final thought: Creative thinking is a full time occupation. If you continuously ask your brain to come up with more options, it will respond with ideas for you. So, put yourself to work everyday thinking, dedicate time to it, and use the methods above to make your thinking more effective. Best of luck and remember, you’ll be making your own luck by using your own creative skills . (Gregg Fraley 2008)