2. Brainstorm. If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas, but can help you decide which is best.
3. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you. That way, if you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down. Upon rereading your notes, you may discover about 90% of your ideas are daft. Don’t worry, that’s normal. What’s important are the 10% that are brilliant.
4. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works. The concept is based on a simple but little known truth: freedom inhibits creativity. There are nothing like restrictions to get you thinking.
5. Define your problem. Grab a sheet of paper, electronic notebook, computer or whatever you use to make notes, and define your problem in detail. You’ll probably find ideas positively spewing out once you’ve done this.
6. If you can’t think, go for a walk. A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells.
7. Don’t watch TV. Experiments performed by the JPB Creative Laboratory show that watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose. It’s not pretty, but it happens.
8. Don’t do drugs. People on drugs think they are creative. To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.
9. Read as much as you can about everything possible. Books exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily.
10. Exercise your brain. Brains, like bodies, need exercise to keep fit. If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless. Exercise your brain by reading a lot (see above), talking to clever people and disagreeing with people – arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout. But note, arguing about politics or film directors is good for you; bickering over who should clean the dishes is not.
By Jeffrey Baumgartner
Jeffrey Baumgartner is the managing director and a major shareholder of Bwiti bvba, a Belgian based company that provides innovation and creativity services to organisations around the world. Bwiti is a member of the JPB (www.jpb.com) a small group of companies founded or owned by Jeffrey’s family.
Jeffrey is a specialist in organisational and group innovation. He is fascinated by tools and techniques that make groups – whether small teams or multinational firms – more creative and more innovative. Moreover, thanks to more than 15 years of experience in a variety of organisations on three continents, Jeffrey has learned more than most about what makes organisations more innovative – and what hinders innovation.