Innovation and creativity are increasingly becoming valuable in today’s world, and employers and cultural movements demand enterprising and imaginative solutions. Therefore, cultivating a mindset that encourages and fosters innovation can help you stand out in job applications and benefit every aspect of your life. In this article, we will discuss 13 practical ways to help you unlock your creative potential and become a more innovative person.
1. Start with a Morning Freewrite
Stream-of-consciousness writing for 10-15 minutes can free your mind and jumpstart your creativity for the day. A morning free-write is an exercise in which you write down anything that comes to your mind without judgment or editing. Doing this exercise can help you clear your mind of clutter to focus on your work or new projects.
Benefits of a Morning Freewrite
- It improved focus, creativity, and inspiration.
- Identification of potential problems impacting workflow.
2. Take a Creative Course
Taking a course in a creative field like painting, writing, or music can teach new skills and techniques. These courses can also introduce new perspectives and concepts contributing to innovative solutions. Consider exploring websites like edX or Coursera that offer free, quality content from reputable universities.
Benefits of Taking a Creative Course
- Learning about new concepts, techniques, and tools.
- Being pushed to think creatively within a structured environment.
3. Do Something Physical
Physical activity like sports, exercise, or dance can stimulate your brain and help you generate fresh ideas. Exercise improves blood flow, which increases oxygenation to the brain and reduces mental fatigue.
Benefits of Physical Activities
- Improved concentration and productivity.
- Reduction in stress and anxiety that can impede creativity.
4. Embrace Boredom
Boredom can almost be seen as a taboo feeling today but can be a catalyst for creativity. Taking a break to daydream or let your mind wander can trigger the mind to search for new and innovative ideas.
Examples of Innovations from Boredom
- Samuel Morse conceived of the telegraph while waiting for a train.
- Newton conceived the theory of gravity while watching an apple fall.
Doodling, i.e., drawing or scribbling absentmindedly, can free your mind and help you to think more creatively. Drawing images during a break or brainstorming new ideas can help you generate and solidify new concepts and solutions.
Benefits of Doodling
- Igniting and refining fresh ideas.
- Relieving stress and tension can inhibit creativity.
6. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language improves your language skill, challenges your mind, and exposes you to new concepts and ways of thinking. The cognitive demand of learning a new language helps stimulate your mind and enhance your ability to conceptualize patterns and new ideas.
Benefits of Learning a New Language
- Exposing yourself to new cultures and perspectives.
- Developing new neural pathways needed for innovative thinking.
7. Create Art
Art therapy is a powerful form of expression and stimulation for your mind. Creating your artwork is a way to tap into your imagination and use images and symbols to express your thoughts and ideas.
Benefits of Creating Art
- Accessing playful and creative states.
- Releasing mental blocks that might inhibit innovation.
8. Play Video Games
Video games offer an alternative context for creative thought and action in problem-solving situations. Gaming offers a fun and interactive way of widening your problem-solving perspective through cognitive challenges.
Benefits of Playing Video Games
- Teaching loads of problem-solving techniques.
- Increasing creativity through immersive, stimulating environments.
9. Connect with Different Kinds of People
Collaboration with people from diverse backgrounds or professions can lead to the generation of fresh ideas and innovation. Breaking away from insular thinking opens access to novel solutions and can help bring fresh and unique ideas to the table.
Benefits of Connecting with Different Kinds of People
- Exposing yourself to new ideas and perspectives that can inspire innovation.
- Building off of diverse experience and knowledge.
10. Engage with Nature
Spending time in nature can be a tranquil and peaceful backdrop to your creative projects. The tranquillity can lower stress levels and encourage creative thinking, which can subsequently inspire innovative solutions to life’s problems.
Benefits of Engaging With Nature
- Experiencing natural and calming surroundings.
- Enhancing environmental awareness and stamina.
Meditation helps clear your mind, reducing stress and anxiety in your subconscious. The void created with a clear sense opens room for innovative ideas and inspiration to arise.
Benefits of Meditation
- Recreating emotional balance and calmness leads to mental well-being.
- Helps generate new ideas and fresh solutions.
12. Forget What You’ve Done in the Past
Limiting yourself to what you know or have done in the past can be a detriment to creativity. Shedding yourself off previous experience and venturing outside the constraints can boost your innovative thinking and generate novel ideas.
Benefits of Forgetting Things from the Past to Encourage Innovation
- Encourages stepping outside of your comfort zone.
- Challenging assumptions and biases.
13. Give Yourself Deadlines
Setting deadlines for yourself can add pressure to your work and productivity. It is a great way to divide your workload into manageable portions and guide your focus. It also builds your problem-solving skills as you wrestle with completing your work within the given time frame.
Benefits of Setting Deadlines
- Encourages productivity.
- Promotes innovative problem-solving skills.
Utilizing any or all of these thirteen tips will encourage creative thinking and help to motivate you towards innovation. Sometimes our hard-wired methods of thinking can stifle imaginative problem-solving. Incorporating new practices into your routine can aid your creative process and inspire new ideas. Experimenting with different approaches within your routine can unlock your full creative potential. Try other things daily, be open to new awareness, and keep your mind supple. It’s possible to train your mind to think more efficiently while enjoying the benefits of an imaginative mindset.