Everyone has the potential to be creative. We all get sparks of imagination from time to time, but they’re usually sporadic, and sometimes wildly off-topic; so if you want your team to generate useful, problem-solving, creative ideas on-demand, try these four tips:
1. Give everyone an ‘Idea Book’
Your staff may already have great ideas — but if you don’t give them a process to share those ideas, they may stay hidden forever. An Idea Book is simply a book, to write ideas in (we recommend going the extra mile and branding it), however, it it just the first step, as it must be paired with a process for staff to submit ideas, a system to evaluate those ideas and a plan to implement and reward them when a great ideas is uncovered.
2. Get Outside
The best ideas don’t happen at a desk. There are too many distractions. To get ideas flowing you’re mind needs to wander a little — we recommend taking a walk in the park; cycling a trail — even hanging out at the dog park. Let your brain unplug, but keep something handy to write down ideas when inspiration strikes.
3. Go Shopping
Who doesn’t love stalking their competition? It’s natural to want to keep an eye on what they’re doing; but when your seeking original ideas, we recommend looking outside your industry for inspiration. Visiting an analogous business — one that has a comparable business model or size but is in a different industry, and viewing their operation from a customers’ perspective, can provide great insights into your own business. Be observant, search for details, and record your observations — what did you enjoy, what frustrated you, what made you smile.
4. Introduce Flight Time
Social media notifications, inbox pings and phone calls are all productivity destroyers and at worst, can crush creative ideas when their first sprouting. To combat the distractions, introduce a period of ‘flight time’ into the work day — a set period (one to two hours) with no phones, no emails and no social media, to allow distraction free work and thinking.