It's fantastic to welcome back B2B marketing expert Randall Rozin for another guest article, this one on how to unleash creative thinking. Randall's six ways to unleash more creativity provide another valuable perspective that creativity is n't frivolous in business but is essential. Here's Randall!

Six Surefire Ways to Unleash More Creativity in Your Business by Randall Rozin

Randall-RozinI know many people in business settings who view themselves as ‘creatively challenged’.  They simply think that they are not creative.   Untrue.  We all have the capacity for vast levels of creative thinking.  While certain disciplines (i.e., advertising, the arts, and industrial design) tend to draw more "creative" types, I believe creativity exists within all parts of a business.  The trick is to help people unlock their creative potential to solve problems, to create new problems for competitors, to make the workplace more engaging, and to contribute to the bottom line.

Here are six surefire ways I have found to help unleash more creativity in an organization.

1.      Set Expectations

With expectation setting you are giving your people the permission they need to overcome the ‘self-editing’ behaviors that limit their ideas. Expect creativity and creative thinking in your people.  Recognize it, nurture it, and reinforce it.

2.       Use Comfort or Shock

Imagine a continuum ranging from “Comfort to Shock.”  Creating the right conditions along any point of this continuum can help frame the need for expansive thinking in your people.  Some examples:

 3.       Practice divergent and convergent thinking

Divergent thinking allows you to generate as many ideas as possible from the simple to the complex and relevant to non relevant.  Convergent thinking allows you to combine your ideas into a more logical form. The outcome is an idea set that can merge to form a creative insight to inform a strategy, business model, or other innovation.

 4.      Combine ideas into a new form

Often innovations come from two dissimilar ideas combined together to form something completely unique.  Look around and you’ll see ideas abound outside your department, your company, your industry, even your culture that when applied to your unique problem can provide an insight that has escaped so many others before you.

5.       Slow down before you speed up

It is tempting to jump right into the solution space.  Slowing down up front allows for observation, for sensory input, for looking beyond the obvious to allow deeper processing.  Then creativity can explode.

6.      Practice ‘Future Hindsight’

I call this method ‘future hindsight’ because, as humans, we can leverage a unique skill to think in a future tense.  Use this technique to project yourself into a future timeframe and look back at your present situation.  When you do this you’ll see obstacles are not so large or so permanent. You can examine your current state with a different lens.  Then you can begin to imagine what you need to happen in the future then set a path to get there more clearly.

Creativity with a Profit is Business

Remember that creativity for its own sake is art and creativity with a profit motive is business. Business tries to rationalize and make things more efficient.  While creativity is not always the most efficient process, it can be transformative.  So you have to embrace some level of inefficiency to get the maximum benefit from creative thinking and the creative process. – Randall Rozin


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