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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creative Thinking - Food For Thought!

Most of us would brush aside creativity as a special talent, a gift possessed by a chosen few. Whether it's the field of advertising, art, music or any other, those who "have it" get paid handsomely by those who don't. But if you can't show 'em the money, what do you do? Simple, do it yourself! Sounds hard? We assure you it's far from that! We all think everyday; our minds are working every second; we just need to improve the technique. With a little help from us you could be churning out ideas in no time!

The so called "inherent inability to be creative" is often nothing more than a mind block which can be overcome with a small twist in the way you think. Take a look at the following:

Brainstorming: Pretty much everyone has heard of this creative thinking technique. Brainstorming works best with a fairly large group of people; larger the group, bigger the number of ideas thrown around. Be willing to entertain any idea, even the most absurd. Improvise on the seemingly impossible ideas to see if they can be turned into realistic solutions. Try and get everyone to think outside the box and you will be surprised at what comes out of it!

Just do it (with apologies to Nike): Another tried and tested mechanism is to experiment with possibilities. If you have a new idea that seems impractical, don't stop there. Go on and try it out!! Failures are the stepping stones to success; who knows... your mistake might prove to be your best idea. Edison came up with the electric lamp only after making his own share of expensive mistakes!

Digging into the past: Improvising on an existing setup could benefit from an analysis of the past. Get to the bottom of things to figure out what changes are required. For example, ask yourself what the original purpose was, how it came about, its current significance and reputation. Creative thinking becomes easier when you have a clear perspective on how things are and why they need to be amended.

Playing detective: Asking questions like who, when, where, why, what and how can help you get a clear direction of what you need to do. Coming up with a new product or application could be simplified considerably if one follows this simple rule. Jot your response to each down, so you can draw inferences later. Following this pattern will help you narrow the focus of your creativity.

Dealing with your demons: A mental block, preconceived notions, narrow mindedness; the list of threats to creative thinking is never ending. Solving them, however, requires no more than a willingness to adapt. Let go of inhibitions; don't let 'reality' tie you down. Think freely; work with even near to impossible ideas. Once in the right frame of mind, you will be able to channel your thoughts whichever way you desire. "Boost Your Creativity: Exercises and Advice for Great Creative Thinking", by Robert Allen, available at suggests some interesting exercises to overcome your creative thinking challenges.

"Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques" by Michael Michalko, also contains ideas on ways to boost your creative thinking abilities. You could also visit to learn more about creative thinking tools. Challenge conventions a lot more; if something bothers you, learn to question it rather than accept it as a norm. Isaac Newton questioned something insignificant to discover gravity. Try not to complicate things; the best ideas are often the simplest. So put your thinking caps on and get to work!

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