Help your employees boost their creative thinking skills
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Creativity — it's one of the most vital and valuable traits any employee can bring to the table. Unfortunately, creative thinking can be a little elusive at times.
But new research is shedding light on ways managers can boost creative thinking and inspire their staff to come up with fresh and exciting ideas and solutions.
This piece will cover easy-to-implement strategies you can start using today.
Build in review time at the start of a project
When you assign work, organize a question-and-answer session in which your team can talk through the new materials they'll be working with.
This will spark their curiosity naturally about a new task, and that curiosity will lead to better creative problem-solving as they go forward on the project, according to a study from Oregon State University.
Lean on, and learn from, your arts graduates
If members of your staff have degrees in art, music, drama or any other creative field, consider making them team leaders on projects.
A Lehigh University study finds that arts graduates who now work exclusively in business environments automatically utilize more creative people skills, imaginative thinking and technical know-how than other workers when it comes to tackling a challenging task.
Brainstorm in a new way
A study from the Institute for Operation Research and the Management Sciences found that novel word combinations in brainstorming can break open your thinking, and lead to new product development.
Say you're developing a healthy eating app — you might obviously brainstorm words to describe the project like "diet", "low-calorie" and "nutrition."
If you add a more unexpected word like "drive-thru," though, you've just identified a new delivery method for your product — an app that will help your customers make healthy eating choices at a fast-food restaurant. Allow your employees to think out of the box.
Encourage "thinking on your feet"
To break a mental rut, encourage your employees to stop working on a problem and do something different, like taking a head-clearing walk around the office every hour.
A study featuring researchers from Penn, Columbia, Dukeand Yale finds that "changing the scenery" and adopting a different behavior as you try to meet a challenge stimulates the posterior cingulate cortex section of your brain, which is responsible for creativity.
After they've done that physical exercise, and boosted those creative juices? Encourage your workers to drink some water — the American Physiological Society reports this can boost executive task function ability in the brain of middle-aged people and seniors after moving around. It's a great way to help them carry out their great new ideas!
Temper creative impulses with patience for the best result
A study from the University of California's Berkeley Haas School of Business reported that the simple act of imagining the outcome of an idea before acting on it allows you to build patience, therefore strengthening your ability to decide if the idea is really your best option before setting it in stone.
Make a habit with your team out of thinking through every consequence of a move before you make it — you won't regret this important extra step.
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