How to Cultivate Creativity?
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Companies like to hire "fresh" minds. They want to have people who can come up with a multitude of ingenious ideas and collaborate well with others. Whether you don't consider yourself a creative person or have spent too much time procrastinating because you can't envision the final result of your work, it's time to retrain your brain and put ingenuity on your resume. So how's your divergent thinking?
What is divergent thinking? Divergent thinking is the process of generating various ideas and solutions to a single problem. It's spontaneous and flexible and often used in problem solving and team collaboration. With divergent thinking, you are not looking for that one perfect idea or solution; you are expanding your thinking and constantly shifting your perspective to find a multitude of solutions and ideas.
Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is the process of narrowing down ideas through logical thinking and evaluation. Both of these processes are important for creative problem solving because you are able to come up with a multitude of ideas and then refine your thinking.
Why is it important? According to the Harvard Business Review, people who exhibit divergent thinking by connecting different ideas and information are attractive candidates for employment and career mobility. Why might that be? Simply put...people with strong divergent thinking are shown to have better ingenuity, creativity, and success in innovation. Such attributes are imperative for reaching your own personal goals as well as the goals of your company.
So, how do we do it? How can you develop your divergent thinking?
Synectics was devised by Wiliam Gordon and has been proven to be a great method for developing your creative thinking. It refers to the process of making connections between two objects you wouldn't normally associate with each other. Let's try it! Choose an object and list as many uses for it as you can. Here's an example: Imagine a paper clip. It can hold material together, but it can also be a lock pick, a hair accessory, a meat skewer, etc. Now, try a different one: what can you do with a shoe and a hair brush?
Another great method for developing your divergent thinking is the SCAMPER technique, which was introduced by Bob Earle. It can be used to create original ideas and develop them by helping you explore other possibilities. Let's try it! Take an idea, even if it's only half developed, and "scamper" through it by asking yourself these questions:
Substitute - What can I replace? What will I replace it with?
Combine - What can I blend together?
Adapt - What is similar to this? What might I emulate?
Modify - How can I change this and make it unique? What can add?
Put to other uses - How else can I use this?
Eliminate - What can I remove? What is the effect of the change?
Reverse - How can I rearrange the design?
Retraining your brain is possible. One study proved that by breaking away from your set thinking patterns, you can improve your divergent thinking. It's time for you to create and share more innovative ideas and avoid feeling "stuck" or "burnt-out".
Mindfulness and meditation can also help with these feelings. Mindfulness has been linked to psychological well-being and decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression. Being mindful can improve your social relationships, resilience, decision-making, and performance. Correspondingly, meditation can also benefit you in the workplace by clearing your mind, increasing your focus, and boosting your ability to come up with original ideas.
Combine your new divergent thinking skills with mindfulness and meditation, and you can improve your collaboration and work-place relationships!!