Creativity: 10 tips and 5 no-go’s for more ingenuity (+ quotes)
Ingenuity and creative spirit – creativity is an indispensable and important core competence in our time. It is the driving force behind every innovative idea. We have compiled ten dos and five don’ts for you that show you how to promote and train your creativity.
Creativity is the new in-word. Wherever you look, creativity is well received. It creates innovations and alternative solutions to problems.
Definition of creativity: what constitutes resourcefulness
Expertise is no longer enough in many industries and professions these days. A creative mind is increasingly in demand – and new ideas and solutions to problems should also be unconventional.
Not everyone has the talent to always be one step ahead of others and to think creatively and extraordinarily without interruption. Nevertheless, creativity is a skill that has never been more in demand in professional life than it is today. But how does one become creative?
Creativity (Latin creatio = creation) describes the ability and characteristic of a person to think unconventionally, to come up with new and original ideas, and to develop solutions to problems that are useful in the process.
Creativity as competence, which is demanded and promoted in many professions, is practice-oriented and means the applicability in certain situations, i.e. the ability to use one’s creativity in a controlled manner in relation to a certain repertoire of knowledge.
In this context, creativity is goal-oriented and follows a certain orientation and direction.
The four creative building blocks
The U.S. scientist Mel Rhodes is one of the most significant creativity researchers. As early as the 1960s, he dealt with the factors that significantly influence our creativity. In the process, he found four basic elements that make up creativity and which are still valid today:
The creative person: The person includes the broad field of personal prerequisites and character traits. These include personality, intellect, temperament, habits and behaviors, the components of which either promote or inhibit creativity.
The creative process: The process includes the aspects of motivation, learning and thinking ability, perception, and the way of communication.
The creative product: The product is also the idea – a mental immaterial or visible – and arises in a creative process (creatio). The product is a tangible idea and therefore an invention.
The creative environment: The creative environment includes all factors of the environment that influence creativity. The relationship between the person and his environment plays an important role.
10 tips for being more imaginative: how to become more creative
The following tips will help you target your creativity. If you pay attention to certain things and you become aware of which aspects promote or even inhibit your creativity, you can train, optimize and target your creative energy.
Get away from the routine
Everyday life goes along with everyone’s routine. And routine leads to creativity falling by the wayside.
To exercise your creativity, you can start doing it in your everyday life. Think about what would optimize your everyday life and look for creative solutions to problems.
An example can already be the alarm clock that annoys you every morning. Instead of just accepting the routine and letting it ring ten times in a row, whereupon you then rush to work under stress and time pressure, you can also break it.
Find an unconventional solution to the problem that has become a habit in your daily life.
Breaking out of the routine means not walking the path as you are used to. Stop being a creature of habit. Try to find new possibilities and alternatives.
Look for an alarm clock alternative that won’t make you oversleep. For example, use an alarm system that forces you to get up immediately. For example, an app that is linked to your radio, TV or light switch, so that oversleeping becomes impossible.
The example shows that many have addressed the problem and the innovative ideas have already found their way into our everyday lives.
Do: Break out of your usual thought patterns and be open to new ideas.
Curiosity and enthusiasm
If curiosity and enthusiasm are low, you will also lack the motivation to develop something new and original. The recipe for success in creativity lies primarily in the ability to be enthusiastic.
It can also involve a thing that has been on your last nerve for some time, as long as it awakens your passion. This gives rise to intrinsic motivation, i.e. motivation that arises from your own drive and is based in the thing itself. This ensures the fun factor and personal initiative. Listlessness and disinterest, on the other hand, inhibit the ability to think.
Do: Think about what drives you. Curiosity and enthusiasm are prerequisites for creative thinking.
Creative thinking, unlike conformist thinking, is always uncertain. Ambiguity tolerance is the important keyword in this context. This refers to the ability to accept ambiguities and contradictions.
Creative solutions are often developed in processes. Inconsistencies and ambiguities are part of the process and are often starting points for new, innovative ideas.
If a system is secure and compliant, there are few opportunities for new creations. If, on the other hand, uncertainties and disruptive factors are created, the potentiality of variables that allow new and innovative ideas and solutions also increases.
Do: Create uncertainties and disruptive factors. Don’t be discouraged by them, but see in them the many opportunities that arise.
Spontaneity and flexibility
Spontaneity is in any case part-competence of creativity. Those who stick to habitual patterns of order and cling to regularities and plans inhibit their creativity.
If new ways and possibilities arise during the creative process, then take them as a chance. Through the art of improvising, you may come across an innovative new idea faster than you thought.
Do: Be guided by the results and possibilities that arise during the creation process and be flexible and spontaneous in your approach.
Self-reflection and critical faculties
To be creative, free thinking is required. This means freeing yourself from fixed thought patterns and going within yourself. If your thoughts are stagnant and you’re not making progress, it often helps to question yourself to find a way out of the blockage:
- What is the exact problem I am facing?
- Are there possibilities of a different approach?
- What have I possibly overlooked or done wrong?
Helpful is mostly an accurate self-reflection. Through a different approach, new perspectives allow themselves. For this, critical ability is also particularly important. The eyes of others allow one to view the process from a different angle.
Do: Approach your creative process with self-reflection, and see critical faculties as an opportunity to learn and change perspectives. After all, four eyes also see more than two.
The Morphological Box
The morphological box is a well-tried creativity technique. In it, you arrive at problem solving through ordered thought structures. It involves breaking down an existing problem into individual components.
Then, using an imaginative combination, you see how the individual parts best fit together so that the problem is eliminated. This includes the following aspects:
- thinking about all possible solutions
- trying new combinations of what already exists
- creating new variables through which many new possibilities arise
- list them in the form of a table to visualize the possibilities
- tables allow different parameters, characteristics or factors to be listed in an orderly fashion, opening up new avenues of solutions
The word box stands for the matrix in the form of a table, which you develop through the different variables. Through a systematic approach and clear thought structures, new possible solutions are revealed, which were previously unthinkable.
Already through small combinations in the matrix or table, various innovative ideas can arise.
Do: The morphological box allows you to control the creative process in a targeted manner. Visualizations through tables help in the development of ideas, as variables and potentialities as well as possible combinations can be shown here.
Free Associations: Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a universally known creativity technique. Most people have already had experience with it in school. The basic idea of brainstorming is to gather all the information on a particular topic.
The thoughts bubble out of you unfiltered and unsorted. Thus, there are no limits to creativity. New creative ideas can emerge when considering the conglomerate of thoughts.
The cornucopia of unfiltered associations also allows for combination possibilities of different, initially unrelated or unrelated thoughts.
Do: Say goodbye to order and system. Write everything that occurs to you on your topic, incoherent and unfiltered on a large white sheet of paper.
Mindmap: The ordered thoughts
There are no limits to creating mindmaps, whether with crayons and markers on a large piece of paper or in an online program.
Mindmaps are a fabulous way to organize and systematize thoughts (of brainstorming). In the end, your mindmap should resemble a map – with islands, bridges, different colors and shapes.
The word mind means all your thoughts, which are then visualized on the map.
What makes a mind map:
- The main topic is in the middle
- Sub-topics and sub-topics emanating from the central point
- Branches indicate connections
- Color highlighting
- Connection of creativity and structure
- Branches become visible
- Important and incidental topics become apparent (marked by, for example, thickness and thinness of ramifications/connections or color intensity)
- Images can help visualization and create new associations
- Net-like knowledge structure
A mind map should never be considered "finished". It is always expandable at will and leaves no limits to creativity. If you pay attention to all these points, a much clearer picture of your thoughts will present itself to you at the end.
There are also ways to create group mindmaps. For example, all the things that were collected during the group brainstorming session can be systematized in a mindmap.
Do: Systematize your unfiltered thoughts (brainstorming) in a mindmap. Through the visualization you crank up your thought process and provide your creative thoughts order and system.
Environment: perception and change of place
The environment is an important influencing factor for your creativity. This has numerous implications for encouraging and inhibiting creative thinking. Set your sights on creating or seeking an environment in which you feel comfortable and free. Pay attention to the following:
- comfortable room temperature
- the appropriate light
- appealing room interior/furnishings
- noise / volume
- fresh air and smell
Even though creative thinking takes place in the mind, the smallest changes in the environment can have a big impact on us. If you’re lacking ideas and notice a blockage inside, a change of scenery is just what you need.
Researchers have found that it is during periods when the brain is not focused that creative ideas emerge and solutions to problems are developed.
When we let go and put the focus on the change of place, the brain continues to work in the subconscious and gives free rein to associations. This is often where creative thoughts lie dormant.
Extreme changes of place often help to stimulate creativity, such as:
- from the dreary office to the green nature
- from the quiet solitude at the desk out into the crowded tram
- extensive showering is not only balm for the soul, but also promotes the unconscious flow of thoughts and thus boosts creativity
- a little small talk – especially with strangers – sparks the mind
Do: Create the right conditions for your creativity and change the place more often. Be calm with inner blockages. Create conscious periods of rest. Often, this already solves many problems and there are new starting points.
Communication is often the driving force for creative ideas. Sharing ideas together results in entirely new thought structures: you break out of your usual patterns and discover new ways of doing things. This results in new chains of associations.
Your colleagues not only become an enrichment for you. You also become a positive influence for your colleagues. Working together on an idea increases motivation all by itself. The feeling of being part of a community supports the drive and initiative.
Do: Diversity is an important keyword. Together it is easier to break out of habitual thought patterns and routines. Create conscious tension in the system. It is precisely disruptive factors that create differences and uncertainties, encouraging rethinking and thinking differently.
Heterogeneous groups consisting of different characters, with different skills and expertise, are more likely to lead to success than homogeneous groups.
5 no-gos that inhibit your creativity
If you follow the aforementioned tips, you can practice and promote your creativity in a targeted manner. However, it is also important to know what you should avoid. We have compiled five mistakes for you that inhibit your creativity and that you can avoid.
Distinguish determination from doggedness
If you want to achieve a goal, it’s important to be focused and ambitious. However, many people forget that doggedness inhibits the work process and creativity.
The best way to work is to let your mind wander. Periods of rest help the subconscious to process information. As a result, creative ideas often emerge all by themselves.
Don’t: Say goodbye to doggedness. Be calm when obstacles get in your way.
Be careful of group work
If you get into a creative process in direct group work, it can often be inhibiting. Because even before you can form your own thoughts and associations on the topic, all the thoughts and ideas of your colleagues are pelting down on you. This means that you are influenced in a certain direction right from the start.
If you miss the moment for independent thought, you will not be able to return to the point where you might have developed completely different ideas. Rather, take time right at the beginning to let your spontaneous ideas run wild before jumping into group work.
Don’t: Don’t jump right into the process of creative discovery with your group. Focus first on yourself and your associations and ideas about a particular topic.
Let yourself be discouraged
So many geniuses and inventors have always reported that people didn’t believe in them or their ideas at first. If German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki had the power to decide the Nobel Prize for Literature, would author Günter Grass have received one? Probably not.
And many also doubted the future-changing power of Edison’s light bulb and did not consider his invention suitable for society. Edison himself failed many times before his breakthrough.
New, innovative and original things often find as many skeptics as people who believe in the idea. The important thing is not to be discouraged and to see the avant-gardist in yourself.
Don’t: Don’t get discouraged and believe in yourself and your creative idea. Look to yourself as the trailblazer and don’t let yourself stray from your path.
Striving for perfection and looking for the one right answer are true creativity suppressors. If there are many possible answers, all the better. The multiplicity of possible combinations increases the chances for novel and original ideas.
Don’t just look at the one goal in front of you, but focus on the process of developing ideas. Get involved in new ways, even if there is a risk of failure. See in it the opportunity to learn from mistakes and.
Don’t: Don’t be a perfectionist. That quickly blinds you to the obvious. Be open to new ways, even if the risk is there to fail. Question the simplest things and see in it the chance to find out something new.
Many people are convinced that they can only come up with the best ideas and work best when they are pressed for time. Say goodbye to this myth. Time pressure actually has an inhibiting effect on creativity.
Innovative ideas need time. Often they are not a flash of inspiration, but develop slowly in our subconscious. Moreover, immersion in the material is extremely important for the process of inventing. And that takes time, too.
Don’t: Don’t let yourself be pressured. Ideas need their time.
Creativity: a question of attitude
The do’s and don’ts show that creativity has a lot to do with your own attitude and mindset. If you have an open and positive attitude and believe in your own creativity, it will already be much easier for you to open your mind.
Especially in the general conditions, i.e. all factors concerning the environment, you have a lot of leeway and possibilities to promote your ingenuity.
Never lose your serenity and calmness amidst all the public and professional pressure around the core competence of creativity.
Relaxation periods and breaks help process information in your subconscious mind. Who knows, maybe your creative problem-solving or innovative idea will occur to you the next time you take a shower or ride the train.
Quotes on creativity
Many famous people have spoken about creativity. We have collected some quotes from them.
- You use a glass mirror to see your face. You use works of art to see your soul.
(George Bernard Shaw)
- Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
(Vincent Van Gogh)
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
(Leonardo Da Vinci)
- Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
- Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
(Henry Thomas Buckle)
- An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
- The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.
- There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- Chance favors the prepared mind.
- True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'.
- When I am […] completely myself, entirely alone […] or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.
(Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
- Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.
(George Bernard Shaw)
- The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.
(G. K. Chesterton)
- I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)
- Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.