Coming up with fresh and new ideas and strategies for your business is not always straightforward. Creative thinking takes time, focus and a productive environment. Here’s our top tips for giving Free Thinking a go!
Go for volume.
The more ideas, the better. ‘The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas’ advised Nobel prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling.
Don’t evaluate as you go along.
Turning off your internal filters is one of the trickiest parts of creative thinking but one of the most essential. Once you’re on a roll, fresh ideas flow freely. When you’re done, evaluate what you’ve come up with. Don’t interrupt the process!
Write all the ideas down as soon as you think of them.
Otherwise, like a dream after you wake, they’ll be lost forever. Carry a notebook around with you if this helps.
Make sure other people are up for the journey.
If you decide to include them in your free thinking, it’s important everyone is on the same page. For example, it is advisable that you all agree you won’t criticise each other as you go along. This will encourage more productive free thinking.
Spot the assumptions you make and then break them.
Don’t allow your free thinking to be influenced by things you think you know. Don’t be afraid to change it up and challenge the status quo.
Look at your initial ideas and come up with as many opposites as you can. This is how life assurance that pays out when you’re alive was invented, as was diagonal oil drilling. You might be surprised what comes out of this technique.
Use ‘dead time’.
Time such as travelling or waiting for someone to arrive can be useful. Use this time to let your mind wander. Sometimes, the change in surroundings and the pressure of time can be valuable stimuli.
Don’t expect to generate an answer.
If you do so every time, then you are almost certainly not thinking very freely and probably coming up with variations on the same old ideas. It’s okay not to have an answer all the time.
If at first you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, relax. Everyone can be creative, given time and a calm perspective. Keep at it!
Recreate your creative environment.
Recreate where you’ve been able to think freely in the past. Some find a quiet walk helps, others say their best ideas come to them when driving.
Try someone else’s perspective.
When you think about the problem, ask yourself, what would someone else do? This might help you uncover valuable insights.