Re-discovering Creative Thinking
Creativity is a process of bringing alive unusual concepts, developing original ideas and translating them into something ingenious. Human beings are the only species on earth known to have a vivid imagination, which lends them the power of creativity. However, did you know that only 1 in 4 people are aware of their creative potential?
A creative mindset can be applied to everything from a simple sketch to a leaking shower. It forces us to overcome the clichéd patterns of thinking and step out of our comfort zone.
Wondering why are we even talking about it?
The concept of creativity has become of great importance in the recent times. We are in an era where robots are replacing humans for a variety of jobs and labour is falling prey to technology. Hence, creative thinking has emerged as a survival skill owing to the increase in automation and computerization. As per a 2014 study by University of Oxford, around 47% jobs will be lost to automation in the coming years. Evidently, the rest 53% jobs require creative and social intelligence used in professions like medicine, marketing and PR, and especially design.
Although we are born immensely intelligent, social conditioning inadvertently compels us to fit into a certain mold rather than be creative thinkers. As renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson says in his book Out of Our Minds, “We all live our lives guided by ideas to which we are devoted but which may no longer be true or relevant. We are hypnotized or enthralled by them. To move forward we have to shake of free of them.”
Creative people are interested in new things and thinking formats, not confined by social or intellectual ceiling, and leading a path of intuition, inventiveness, and artistry. As humans, we are blessed with the ability to create something from nothing; that’s what sets us apart.
So how can we awaken our creative spirit?
Picasso once said that all children are born artists, the challenge is to keep that creative spark alive as they grow older. Educational institutions today are well aware of this need to nurture creative intelligence. In fact, many schools and institutions, especially designing colleges focus on harnessing experimental reasoning, lateral thinking and problem solving (all attributes of creativity) as a part of their curriculum. Several educational institutes are also promoting project-based strategic thinking and tools for creativity that help their students think out of the box.
“Creative thinking workshops act as a catalyst for innovative line of thought. They escalate our momentum of generating ideas by twofold”, say foundation year students at IIAD after successfully exercising techniques for creativity.
You can also enhance your creative potential by trying some simple yet interesting tricks. If you ever feel uncreative, don’t give up; some of the following efforts can help you think out of the box.
Oftentimes, using tools for creativity can help while musing. Scamper is one such method, which is a checklist of idea-splurging questions. It is a technique for devising new ways of solving a problem because everything new is just an addition or modification to something that already existed.
So enjoy diverse viewpoints and let your brain wander in locations it has never been before. Were you aware of the study, which reveals that 54% creative thinkers are capable of multiple thoughts in a time frame? If your product or idea appears less competent, question it using SCAMPER and rouse your creative foresight.
Substitute – Ask what can be substituted? Who else? What else? Another approach? Another substance?
Combine – Ask which two ideas can be combined? Two materials or methods? Try and combine units, products, and uses; then innovate.
Adapt – Look for another idea. Which other process could be embraced? Adapt to an uncommon concept. Adapt ideas from nature. Adapt some other material, aroma or texture.
Modify or magnify – Ask what can be extended? What can be exaggerated or overstated? Add more time, more strength, height, weight, or extra features. Try to duplicate or add drama. Ask if there could be a new twist? New color? New procedure? New motion? New shape?
Put to some other use – Ask what else can this be used for? What else could be made from this? Devise new ways to use it. Contemplate if other fields could apply it.
Eliminate – Ask what if this was smaller? Ideas sometimes come from minifying the subject. Try to divide, split, separate, understate, condense, compact, subtract, or delete. Ask what’s not necessary? Repeated minifying of ideas, objects and processes, gradually narrow the challenge to a point where it fits best.
Reverse or rearrange- Ask if things should be interchanged? Choose another pattern, other layout, or another sequence. Ask about a different pace? Schedule? Order? Transpose positive and negative. Look for a better arrangement. Turn it around or upside-down, shift backwards or reverse. Do the unexpected!
Need I say, any idea no matter how world changing can die without effective implementation? Once you are certain that you have done a thorough job, shift your attention to execution. Be on target and turn your creative spark into a fruitful breakthrough.
I hope you will try using some of these techniques to harness your creative prowess and come up with unique solutions to problems that affect you and the society at large. Famous American author, Dorothy Parker sums it up well – “Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.” So keep your rules in sight yet think distinctively. Be unsure, be unusual, but never belittle yourself, creativity is vested in one and all.