When we were children, we were naturally creative. Get your creativity back in your career and … [+]
In this time of working remotely, you have the time to really assess your strengths and weaknesses and ultimately, your value in relation to your career aspirations. More importantly, it’s a perfect time to add critical skills and knowledge. Your ability to solve problems, albeit remotely, is becoming critical and your creativity to solve those problems is now a necessity. It’s time to improve your creativity skills.
Why should you purposely develop your creativity skills? According to the most recent IBM global CEO survey, CEO’s rated creativity as the number one attribute they look for in new employees. Their rationale is that the world is moving too fast, companies face problems each and every day, competition can come from everywhere and they are one innovation away from a competitor putting them out of business. So, they want to recruit new employees who can nimbly, with flexibility and creativity, work in teams to solve problems.
The ability to solve problems is the key reason you want to be more creative as your everyday work life is filled with a complex set of challenges mostly related to problems and opportunities. And regardless of what you believe, everyone can be more creative on purpose. You just can’t wish it; you have to work it. The good news is that I believe there is a formula we can follow to purposely be more creative.
The formula to being more creative on purpose is a mix of growth mindset and curiosity combined with actual problem solving tools which hopefully yields better solutions that if implemented would be innovative. Sounds complicated, so let me break it down.
Being more creative on purpose. The key here is to purposely seek out the knowledge, learning and experiences that take you down a creativity path. If you don’t understand it, read up on growth mindset. Amp up your curiosity skills by changing your patterns, learning something new, hanging out with people who spark your thinking, and actually doing something new. Learn to code, paint and speak in a new language. Just begin to do. Also read books on creative confidence and creative culture by Tom Kelley (Ideo) and Ed Catmull (Pixar). Creativity will be so key to your career success, you need to invest in it now so that you can lead teams to solve challenging problems and come up with amazing solutions.
Learning how to solve problems. You don’t solve problems by pulling random people in a room and doing a brainstorming session that goes no where over two hours. First, research and learn problem solving frameworks. Second, learn how to really identify the real problem and not the symptom. Is getting sunburned the problem? No, it’s the symptom of the real problem (i.e. not enough sunscreen, waterproof sunscreen, knowing you have fair skin, not understanding how long you have been in the sun, etc.). Understand current trends and their affect on the problem. Use a brainstorming framework (limited time, diverse group of people, clear identification of problem, shared input, no criticism, etc.) and use tools that will help you identify solutions to problems like MindMap, SCAMPER and Blue Ocean Strategy.
Allowing innovation to happen. If I asked you to be more innovative, what would you do? It’s almost impossible to be innovative on purpose. This is where the formula I mentioned above comes into play. Growth mindset + curiosity + problem solving framework and tools = potential innovation. You can’t predict innovation; you can just try and solve the problem in such a creative way that when you launch the product or service, the market deems it innovative because of how you solved the problem. Are the following innovative: teeth whitening toothpaste, waterproof boots, keys that float, post it notes, Waze, and so on? Yes, they are. Because they solved a particular problem and the solution was accepted as new and innovative by the market.
Don’t leave your ability to solve problems to chance. Learn how to be more creative and solve problems on purpose. Who knows, perhaps your solution will even be innovative.