#27: 7 Keys to Creativity and Innovation

How can we be more creative?

  1. Accept your creativity. Everyone is Creative. We all have the natural ability to be creative. While we are creative in different ways or different degrees than other people, yes, we are all creative.
  2. Practice creative thinking to develop it. Creativity can be increased. There are other kinds of natural abilities people have that can be increased also, such as interpersonal abilities, athletics and physical agility, and musical ability. Creativity can be taught like a skill and increased through practice. If we don’t use our creativity, it also makes sense that we might think we’re just not creative. Instead, it would be better to say that we need to tap into our creativity and develop it. As we practice, we are going to experience both fear and failure, because we’re practicing. Understanding that fear and failure will come along while we’re being creative can help us keep going rather than stopping when we feel afraid or make mistakes and fail.
  3. Be willing and open to new possibilities. If we are stick on routines, traditions, or the way things have always been done, it is very challenging to use a creative approach. According to Nancy Napier, executive director of Boise State University’s Center for Creativity and Innovation, organizations might have different missions, but in order to be creative or innovative, they typically have wiliness and desire to be creative. A question that can help the process is: “What can we do that is better or different?”
  4. A mindset of abundance helps creative ideas flow. If we are focused on lack, or what we don’t have, it can be challenging to create. But when we focus on possibilities, opportunities, connections between unrelated things, and solutions, creativity can flourish.
  5. Continue to learn. Creativity taps into our existing knowledge, imagination, and attitude, and it connects with our resources, habitats, and culture to build solutions, according to Tina Seelig, a best-selling author and Stanford University Professor who focuses on innovation and creativity. When we think about this, lifelong learning helps us grow our creativity by adding to our existing knowledge.
  6. Practice “Yes, and…” rather than “Yes, but…” The “and” idea can connect new possibilities and lead to further ideas without creating barriers to ideation. Ideation is where we are making new ideas come to light and accessing creativity. When all ideas are initially accepted and considered, ideas continue to emerge. During this kind of process, rejections, limits, and criticism can immediately stifle any creativity that develops, stopping the process altogether. After brainstorming is finished, ideas can be evaluated and whittled down, but during that early process of connecting and creating, encouragement is critical.
  7. Use a process and structure to create, because structure and creativity go together. This might seem unusual, because structure is a rigid and limiting thing. Yet when we think about a violin string, it is only free to create beautiful music because it is pulled tight on both ends, focusing the vibration of the string. Because of the structure and limits, the violin can produce.