The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to become creative, don’t you think? Since the WHO announced the pandemic in March 2020 and the whole country went into lockdown people had to opt for newer ways of carrying out daily routines. From drawing circles and inducing time slot schedules to home delivery it was creative thinking of local shop owners that kept businesses running and helped people shop for daily essentials while following social distancing norms.
This is just a small example of creative thinking that solved a real-life problem. You might have experienced many such examples and situations where you might have experienced or even applied creative thinking. And this shows that your creative thinking skill can take you farther in your career and life especially during a crisis whether its global or personal. Explore more about what is planning and how creative thinking is fundamental to the nature of a planning process.
What is creative thinking?
“Think outside the box,” you must have heard or even used this to encourage yourself or others. This is what creative thinking is. In simple words, creative thinking is creating and applying new ideas and solutions by using unorthodox or out-of-the-box thinking methods to solve or tackle projects, plans, or problems.
How do you develop and apply creative thinking?
- Reframe a situation
Team collaboration and communication are of utmost importance. And we have seen our managers and leaders often reiterate to us. But my team leader at my first job took a different approach. To show the power of teamwork she took the example of geese that always fly in a ‘V’ shape to conserve energy. Also, the birds take turns to be in the front letting others at the front fall back when they are tired. That way geese travel a long path together.
Reframing the situation or problem or better yet relating it to a real-life example or story will help you reinterpret the situation and better understand the issue. When you represent the situation in a different way you open the door to different possibilities for people to feel, examine, and respond in new ways.
- Brainstorm ideas
Give your team a free hand to think. Don’t restrict them to certain aspects, limits, or amounts of ideas. And you will notice how fruitful brainstorming sessions come out. You will have different ideas and methods to reinterpret and approach the same situation.
Also, make sure to invite people who aren’t directly involved in the project or don’t entail decision-making. These people come from a different perspective and might have unique innovative ideas to solve the problem.
Pro tip: When people meet to talk over common ground, discussions may end up in a debate. So, make sure you establish the ground rules and purpose of the brainstorming session beforehand. Avoid criticizing individual ideas and follow some crucial steps, innovative techniques, and professional ethics to ensure your brainstorming session is productive.
- Stay flexible
One of the qualities that creative thinkers exhibit is thinking out of the box. And how would you do that? Don’t notice the boundaries that others often do. It’s important to know and understand the limits however, pushing yourself to think and act within those limits will impede innovation and you won’t be able to find and create solutions different from the conventional ones.
Apply creative problem-solving skills and be open-minded to the solutions that extend certain rules and limits. Also, appreciate such ideas coming from others including problem-solving processes that might be unfamiliar to you and your team.
Your creative ideas will turn into innovative solutions if you have confidence in yourself and your ideas. Also, upon the idea leading to success recognize and appreciate the thinker behind that creative thought. One of the essential skills leaders and creative thinkers possess and demonstrate is recognizing and appreciating the accomplishments of others allowing your team members to have a moment of spotlight they deserve.
You can develop and induce these creative thinking processes much better by taking online courses by industry leaders and professionals and set out on a path of being a creative thinker and a thoughtful leader leading your team members and your career in the right direction.