Between high-octane working days and streamlining workflows to maximise productivity, squeezing your creative juices when it’s crunch time can start to feel a little like trying to squeeze a dried prune. It’s just not working.
Part of the problem is that creativity tends to be conceptualised as a process that exists on the opposite end of the spectrum from productivity, which heightens resistance when you’re trying to switch gears between the two.
The key is to hit that sweet spot between the two extremes, otherwise known as “controlled chaos”– here’s how.
When it comes to boosting creativity, one of the biggest pitfalls of group processes is having a homogenous team that thinks and sees things identically.
That alone can make it exponentially difficult to practice the mental agility and flexibility that’s required for creative thinking.
Creativity can actually be facilitated–not impeded–by direction.
Each time you sit down for a brainstorming session or some such creative process with your team, preface the meeting by establishing the exact purpose of coming together to think creatively.
Having a defined problem statement, for example “We need a better way to ___ because ___” goes a long way in structuring your team’s thinking.
When formulating your problem statement:
Harbouring a risk-averse mindset greatly discourages creativity and innovation; you’re more likely to stick to the status quo instead of thinking of fresh, new, and unprecedented solutions to the problem at hand.
Singapore, in particular, is still a relatively risk-averse culture, which doesn’t create a very conducive atmosphere for innovation.
Since failures are an inevitable and necessary part of the creative process, discourage being afraid of failing by:
“I have not failed. I’ve simply found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Different ways of thinking are more useful in different stages of the creative process.
When you’re still brainstorming ideas and generating prospective solutions without too much consideration for their implications, horizontal thinking, which emphasises breadth in output, is more effective in the early stages of the creative process.
To facilitate horizontal thinking:
Idea generation will amount to nothing if there isn’t enough time or space to properly test out the viable ideas.
An organisational commitment to experimentation aids creativity by leaps and bounds, as exemplified in various policies at top companies like Google.
How this works in your organisation will depend on your specific situation, but there are several ways to ensure that your team has what they need to tinker around or conduct trial runs for their creative projects.
Some ways to do this: