4 ways to fuel creative thinking

In today’s economy, knowledge is recognized as the key driver behind economic growth and productivity. In a knowledge economy, price is no longer a differentiator. It’s the intangibles like, innovation, customer connections and entrepreneurial force that are the greatest predictors of success.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. – Steve Jobs

Whether you’re a CEO, starting a new business, or working on the front lines as a sale executive – the ability to think on your feet, solve problems and offer creative solutions is invaluable to both the health of your business and your ability to offer a competitive advantage.

Everyone has creative potential and luckily, for those who feel they aren’t creatively gifted, the creative thought-process can be learned. There are simple ways to inspire more imaginative thinking, which over time will yield a more creative outlook when tackling daily problems or working to innovate the next big thing.

Here are four ways to fuel your creative thinking.

  1. Challenge yourself to learn something new

Breaking out of your comfort zone and learning something new doesn’t just grow your skills and knowledge base; it also makes you more comfortable in pushing the boundaries. Learning to live outside of your comfort zone will open you to accept new ideas that you may have never considered before. You will also have an easier time taking risks, which might be what you need to do to take the next step in your career – or give your company the boost it needs.

  1. Read outside of your scope

When you read a book or business blog outside of your industry you will expose yourself to new ideas, enabling you to view problems or gaps within your industry from a new perspective. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems also empowers you to make connections between diverse areas, which can lead to innovation solutions you haven’t thought of before.

  1. Change up your routine

Achieving creative flow is almost impossible when you keep your routine the same. When something becomes routine it means you have reached the point where your brain has transferred commands to your nervous system and thinking is no longer required. Creative flow is more likely to occur when you are engaged in a task with a moderate level of challenge. Even something as simple as changing up your environment (working in a park or coffee store) can lead to experiencing creative flow. 

  1. Practice problem solving

Creative problem solving works best when you combine analytical thinking with divergent thinking (exploring more than one possible option). Games and puzzles like Sudoku, which require players to think strategically and solve problems creatively, help to develop creative concentration power.

If you start to take small steps to fuel your ability to think creatively, you will begin to open up a world of possibilities. It’s important to take time to re-evaluate your skillset and set goals for your personal development. Here’s four ways that reflection is a key driver of your success.