I need creative help FAST!

We’ve all heard about how the Swiss thought only analogue watches were a marketable commodity. Then the Japanese grabbed Swiss digital technology and stole much of the watch market. It sounds incredible that the Swiss couldn’t see the usefulness of what was right in front of their own eyes. But, unfortunately, this sort of thing happens every day.

Why does it happen?

Part of the reason could be that the ever-present “profitability focus” of business plus the downsizing trends of the last decades have put blinders on people. Why? Cutbacks in staff have made for more work in less time. And people worried about losing their job are too stressed to relax and think creatively. Another reason is that people often think they aren’t creative – and because of that mind set, they continually miss opportunities and insights that people on the look for creative ideas immediately pounce upon.

So, if you are stressed, always thinking of the dollar, and don’t think you are creative, what can you do to bring innovation to your work?

The first thing is to assess what you realistically can and cannot do. After all, no one is Superman or Wonder Woman! If you don’t have time to impart a creative touch to your work, then hire someone to either do it for you, or to look your work over and then talk about it with you. It is amazing how often people who think they aren’t creative can come up with good ideas when they bounce ideas off of someone who is innovative, non-judgmental, and enthusiastic.

The second thing that even the most time-stressed person can do is to take a few seconds here and there throughout your day and notice things. When you flip through a magazine, pause if something catches your eye and spend 15 seconds thinking about exactly what it is that you like, and how you might be able to do something similar in your own line of work. When you are watching television, look at the advertisements and have a contest with your partner or your children about who can tell the best tale about how the advertising executive came up with the idea for that commercial. When you are cooking, look at the cut kiwi in your hand and see how the maker of the universe put together two totally different colours and textures to form something visually appealing. Doing this will help you realize that creativity is just a word for the merger of childlike curiosity and what I like to call “unusual connection” or what can be the exceptionally creative person’s greatest strength – the ability to bring two things totally unrelated together in order to solve a problem.

Religiously doing these two things will help you, the non-innovative and time-stressed person, actually become creative. You will start seeing associations between totally different things. You will begin to be adventurous in your choice of colour, texture, and language. And you will find that over time, you will come up with more and more ideas that astound those individuals you work with.

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