brainstorming http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9078/all en-US 5 Ways to Improve Your Creativity Today http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-improve-your-creativity-today <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-improve-your-creativity-today" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-improve-your-creativity-today</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-to-improve-your-creativity-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015056800Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the greatest skills that a business person can have is the ability to be creative.</p> <p>It's common to think that creativity is only something that &quot;artsy&quot; people need, but the need to be creative extends far beyond an art studio. Creativity is about solving problems, whether they be artistic, mathematical, or anything in between. And that is precisely why creativity is such a useful tool in business.</p> <p>But what if you're not creative? Do you have to be born with the creative gene? Not exactly. In fact, these fives suggestions should help anyone improve their creativity today.</p> <p><strong>1. Approach Creativity Like a Professional</strong></p> <p>Usually, when business people want to improve a skill&mdash;like public speaking, for example&mdash;they practice it. Guess what? Creativity is no different.</p> <p>They only way to become more creative is to practice being creative. Throw out suggestions in team meetings. Draw up a diagram or a flow chart that show the different possibilities. Try to think of a solution that no one else has thought of yet&mdash;even if it's bad. Stretch yourself.</p> <p>By taking these actions, you're giving your brain a chance to train itself to see other options and find creative solutions.</p> <p><strong>2. Limit the Possibilities</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, we when try to &quot;think outside the box&quot; or &quot;imagine every possibility&quot; we can overwhelm ourselves with options. It's like we're standing in an open field and the answer could be in any direction. Without any sense of where to go, we often end up staying put and making no progress at all.</p> <p>Instead, give yourself some boundaries. For example, telling an engineer to &quot;build a bridge&quot; is very different from her to &quot;build a bridge out of steel.&quot; You can develop creative solutions for either problem, but the limitation gives the engineer a place to start, which is the most critical part of any creative problem solving session.</p> <p><strong>3. Partner with Someone</strong></p> <p>Creative solutions often arise from a string of ideas. One thought leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on until the final solution is discovered. Any easy way to string more thoughts together, and thus improve the creativity of your solutions, is to partner with someone. Talk through a problem. Brainstorm with each other. Build upon one another's ideas.</p> <p>As a bonus? Partner teams are found to be among the most effective because they hold each other accountable. If you're working with someone, you're less likely to get distracted than if you were working alone, yet the group is still small enough to be flexible.</p> <p><strong>4. Don't Make Creative Comparisons</strong></p> <p>Here is a common reason we don't attack creative problems: we look at previous solutions, either our own or someone else's, and we think, &quot;I can't come up with something that good&quot; or &quot;I don't have time to do this as well as I did before.&quot; The result is that we quit before we ever get started.</p> <p>Comparisons are useless. Every situation is different and each problem is unique. Disregard the past, focus on where you are now, and solve today's problem to the best of your ability.</p> <p><strong>5. Stop Making Excuses and Get to Work</strong></p> <p>The primary thing holding people back from creative problem solving is simple: <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/what-is-procrastination-costing-you" target="_blank">procrastination</a>. Usually, we know the problems that we need to solve. We know the tasks that demand our attention. We know what the most important thing is that we need to do. But if it involves serious thought or effort, then we often find a way to avoid it.</p> <p>Smart people can make excuses all day long. Don't be a victim of your own ability to come up with a reason for not doing important work. Creativity will come if you give it a chance. Stop avoiding it and do the work.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/james-clear">James Clear</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-improve-your-creativity-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on">14 Things You Should Spend More Time On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center brainstorming creative partnerships creative process creativity innovation small business teamwork Sat, 17 Dec 2011 01:12:01 +0000 James Clear 825744 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Simple Ways to Trigger Your Creativity http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-simple-ways-to-trigger-your-creativity <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/8-simple-ways-to-trigger-your-creativity" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/8-simple-ways-to-tri...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/8-simple-ways-to-trigger-your-creativity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000001295478Small.jpg" alt="Bright idea" title="Bright idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stuck in a rut? Need new product or marketing or management ideas? Relax and keep it simple. Doing the same things you&rsquo;ve always done may not seem like a great way to trigger creativity. But if you slow down and delve deeply into what seems everyday and ordinary, frequently you can make fresh discoveries and ignite new ideas you can apply to your business.</p> <p><strong>Engross yourself in a favorite hobby.</strong></p> <p>Dig deep into whatever diversion fascinates you. Consider the innovative products and technology applications that your hobby has spawned. See how business owners reach their narrowly defined target audiences.</p> <p>For example, a craftsperson might analyze the landscape of selling fine crafts and one-of-a-kind handmade items. How do large retailers market and sell low-priced crafts? How have craft shows changed over the last decade? How do Etsy.com sellers promote their unique offerings?</p> <p>Likewise, a runner may consider product innovations: performance apparel commands premium prices; how GPS technology has become integrated into training devices; how community races attract hundreds and thousands of people.</p> <ul> <li>The types of ideas that pursuit of a hobby can trigger:</li> <li>Design of new products;</li> <li>Applications of technology for improved performance;</li> <li>Methods of packaging and delivering services;</li> <li>Unique pricing structures;</li> <li>Techniques for creating and selling experiences.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Shop around in a single retail niche.</strong></p> <p>Pick a niche that is served by several stores in your area. You might choose ice cream shops, hardware stores, or consignment shops, for example. Make a real-life visit to see how business owners differ in their tactics. Take your time to observe and scrutinize various approaches.</p> <p>Contrasting methods of delivering the same product or service can generate ideas about how you can differentiate your own business from its competitors, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Product selections and display;</li> <li>Methods of managing employee-customer interactions;</li> <li>Ways of promoting the value of independently-owned businesses rather than national chains.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Simmer happily.</strong></p> <p>Creative thinking may be <em>spontaneous</em> but it is not always <em>instantaneous</em>. It&rsquo;s true that some creatives offer brilliant ideas within minutes of hearing strategic concepts. But others need hours or days to let thoughts simmer. Give yourself time instead of rushing to get results.</p> <ul> <li>Contemplation can work especially well to elicit these types of ideas:</li> <li>Creating strategies to capitalize on new business opportunities;</li> <li>Resolving long-standing problems;</li> <li>Discerning whether opportunities or problems need to be reframed in order to trigger the right response.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Talk with smart people, and listen.</strong></p> <p>I am amazed at how much information smart people are willing to share. Toss out a topic and you can garner insights on historical perspectives, current trends, and predictions for the future. Listen and probe to gather wisdom relevant to your business.</p> <p>Solicit advice to produce ideas on:</p> <ul> <li>Determining next steps for your business in critical areas such as innovative products, use of technology to deliver services, and messaging targeted customers;</li> <li>Pinpointing areas in which resources can be allocated to support these next steps.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Take a break.</strong></p> <p>Fixation on one topic can cause frustration, which is counterproductive to creativity. Taking a break allows you to move from laser-like focus to broadened understanding.</p> <p>Time away can benefit your creative thinking and help you:</p> <ul> <li>Redefine a problem, or recognize that a certain issue is inconsequential;</li> <li>Realize that a certain path to develop a new product or reach a new market isn&rsquo;t worth pursuing;</li> <li>Start asking different questions that yield the answers you need.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Consume media.</strong></p> <p>Witness creative expression or find examples of ineffective communication by checking out videos, watching television, playing games, reading news, listening to podcasts, etc. Learn cultural references of many generations and groups.</p> <p>Critical evaluation of all kinds of media can activate thinking about:</p> <ul> <li>Reaching new audiences;</li> <li>Conveying a message through images, dialogue, words, and interactivity;</li> <li>Describing ways of sharing stories that compel people to action.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Keep up with a blogging superhero.</strong></p> <p>Find the blogger who shares your values, wrestles with ideas that excite or trouble you, and gives both high-level and practical insights relevant to realizing your vision.</p> <p>Read blog posts to provoke thoughts on:</p> <ul> <li>Discovering what&rsquo;s missing from your strategic plan and its execution.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Watch your kids, who are unencumbered by fear.</strong></p> <p>Before he became a teenager, my youngest son was never afraid to try anything. Buttons were pushed endlessly and while electronic devices were broken, new computer applications were discovered. His experimentation was unnerving to me but illuminated the process of testing ideas in order to learn how actions create reactions. Since reading <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Poke-Box-Seth-Godin/dp/1936719002"><em>Poke the Box</em> by Seth Godin</a>, I am even more comfortable with the concept of unleashing creative thought, refraining from filtering ideas too early in the brainstorming process, and using idea testing to gain wisdom.</p> <p>Observe your children making discoveries or ask your friends who have kids about how their children go about understanding their world. Use these insights to create your own Poke-the-Box action:</p> <ul> <li>Encourage your team to generate ideas that you may have previously considered outrageous or impractical;</li> <li>Figure out methods of testing ideas;</li> <li>Assess outcomes and refine ideas to achieve desired results for your business.</li> </ul> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fsmall-business%2F8-simple-ways-to-trigger-your-creativity&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Simple%2520Ways%2520to%2520Trigger%2520Your%2520Creativity.jpg&amp;description=8%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Trigger%20Your%20Creativity"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Trigger%20Your%20Creativity.jpg" alt="8 Simple Ways to Trigger Your Creativity" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-simple-ways-to-trigger-your-creativity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hey-boss-please-dont-bother-me-im-daydreaming">Hey Boss, Please Don’t Bother Me, I’m Daydreaming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-your-best-work-hours">Finding Your Best Work Hours</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Small Business Resource Center brainstorming creativity out of the box thinking poke the box problem solving small business Sat, 16 Apr 2011 22:29:38 +0000 Julie Rains 516561 at http://www.wisebread.com Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mind mapping.jpg" alt="brain xray" title="brain xray" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="267" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Are you inspired by taking notes in class? Probably not. When a lecturer spouts information at you, how do you record what you need to know and do it in a way that makes sense later without having to rewrite your notes entirely? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What if you have a problem you need to solve but don’t even know where to begin for all the thoughts racing through your brain? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What if you have a problem you need to solve but don’t have <em>any</em> thoughts racing through your brain and need to come up with something? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">For all the above scenarios and many more, <strong>mind mapping</strong> is a technique that may help. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Physiologically, we don’t generally get excited about lists and bullet points. Lined paper, black or blue pen, and formalized ways of accomplishing a task are downright boring to our brains, and stifle creativity. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">By contrast, our brain gets excited when it sees color, image, and non-conformity. <a href="/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change" target="_blank">Vision boards</a> are a perfect example of how our brain reacts to imagery. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So by using techniques involving color, creativity, and imagery with mind maps, we can open up creative processes and allow ourselves to retain more information (study), and come up with ideas (brainstorm) more effectively. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p> <em><strong>Here are the basics:</strong></em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Start With a Central Idea </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Write this central idea in the middle of a blank piece of paper. As an example, let’s say you are mind mapping about…well….mind maps. Write “mind maps” in the middle of the page. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Brainstorm Keywords as Sub-ideas to the Central Idea </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Draw in branches off the central idea (no straight lines allowed! – get creative) and write your one-word keyword sub-ideas on the branches. Possible sub-ideas to the “mind map” central idea may be “branches”, “ideas”, “pictures”, “creativity”, heck – even “dogs”. Don’t worry about your ideas making sense. Just keep drawing branches and writing in sub-ideas. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Elaborate on your Sub-ideas </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Similar to a flow chart, you can elaborate on your sub-ideas by writing one-word branches off these ideas. As part of the “branches” keyword, I might insert “curves”, “words”, and “flow”. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Work Quickly </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Similar to opening up your creative genius with the <a href="/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life" target="_blank">100 ways to change your life in 20 minutes</a> exercise, this works best if you work quickly and don’t over-think the process. There’s lots of time to edit and re-work it if you want to later. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Use Pictures </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies here. When you can only insert one word per branch, sometimes a picture may qualify your word. Besides which, it’s fun and makes the mind map interesting to look at (especially if it’s a resource for studying). The brain likes images. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Use Color </h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Throw away the black and blue pens, and whip out the crayons and colored pencils! It is way more fun, and you’ll find that each branch will be easier to identify and work with if you use color themes. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">For an article on mind-mapping, you are looking at a surprisingly dull and colourless page on your computer. I figured I’d leave it to the experts to illustrate how it’s done. Here are some resources on mind-mapping for you: </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlabrWv25qQ" target="_blank">Video by a leader in mind-maps: Tony Buzan</a> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page" target="_blank">Free mind mapping software</a> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://www.thinksmart.com/mission/workout/mindmapping_intro.html" target="_blank">Mind mapping in 8 easy steps</a> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map" target="_blank">Mind map definition and information</a> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"></p> <p>Once you have the basic premise of mind mapping down, experiment a little. Stop using an 8 ½ x 11 sized piece of white paper – use construction paper, larger sheets, or <em>try painting a wall in your home or office with blackboard paint</em> and turn your wall into a giant reusable mind map surface! Talk about inspiration…</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-fails-and-how-to-fix-them">10 Time-Management Fails — and How to Fix Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-travel-free-or-at-least-really-darned-cheap">3 Ways to Travel Free (Or At Least Really Darned Cheap!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline">Living Without A Landline</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle brainstorming mind mapping mind maps study techniques Mon, 07 Apr 2008 20:59:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 1989 at http://www.wisebread.com