Many psychologists have studied the idea of creativity, what causes creativity, how it works, how it can be used. Psychologist Arne Dietrich proposed that there are four different creative insights based on two major factors. The first factor is a person’s knowledge domain, which is either cognitive or emotional. The second factor to creative insights is a person’s processing mode, which is either deliberate or spontaneous. Of course research on creativity is still ongoing, and while creativity can be hard to measure or even define creativity in business is very useful.
Creativity in business is not an oxymoron. One could argue that it is not only useful but completely necessary for a business to succeed. Creativity is not just for those in an arts-based profession. Creativity is useful for all sorts of professionals and businesses, including those that might seem counter-intuitive to that idea like accounting and law. Yes even accountants and lawyers can benefit from a little artistic boost in their workplace.
First though let us find out if anyone can be creative, or if it takes a certain type of person to be creative. It is said that most people have a tendency to be either right brained or left brained. What does that mean? Well left brained people tend to be more analytical, and logical. They tend to process information in sequential order and are very detailed-oriented. Right-brained people on the other hand tend to be more creative and intuitive. They process information randomly, and tend to see things in a big picture way. Does this mean if you are a left brained person that there is no room for right brain and creativity in business? No not at all. In fact while most people show a preference for one side of the other the fact is that neither are mutually exclusive. Essentially even if you process information mostly in a left-brain analytical way you can still learn some tactics and increase your right brain creativity.
An easy way to increase your creativity is to brainstorm or to create a mind map. Many people may already be familiar with these tactics. If there is a problem at work that you or your department needs to solve try brainstorming ideas. The key to brainstorming and improving creativity in business is not to filter out ideas, even the ones that seem stupid, ridiculous, or impossible. Sometimes the ideas that we initially believe will not work are the ones that have the most potential, or help us solve the problems we need to solve. Instead of being critical ask questions like what if? What if opens up the realm of possibility and can help get a person’s creative juices flowing.
Of course there is the obvious way to unlock creativity, which is to move into a creative profession, or start a creative hobby. Sure it might not seem like writing poetry or painting could help creativity in business, but starting a creative hobby gets us to use the right side of our brains, which allows us to see problems and the world in a different light. In many cases taking up a creative hobby could have a positive correlation to one’s profession. For example learning a musical instrument has been shown to help improve mathematical skills, something that could be useful for anyone working with numbers.
Another way to boost creativity in business may seem counterintuitive, especially given our workplace culture, but is to daydream and meditate. Sure that Monday morning meeting might not be the best time to let your mind wander, but daydreaming is not always a waste of time, as many might believe. Take a five minute break once in a while to let your mind wander for a bit. Spend a few minutes of your lunch break meditating. It might seem odd but find a quiet place where you can close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let your mind clear of any distractions. Taking these types of little breaks can help come up with solutions to problems in your workplace, and can help foster your creativity.
Sometimes we all need a little help. If you feel like your creativity in business could use a little boost consider looking into some creative outlets such as professional development courses or begin networking with like-minded people.