Are you the idea person, or the organizer? Left brain, or right brain? This blog post is for those that might want to diversify their own skillset by becoming more creative. (Our next post will be on becoming more organized).
Becoming well rounded can be invaluable when running your own business. The skills to make a business successful are wide spread and require even the smallest business owner to become a virtual Renaissance man. One of the most important skills, and one of the hardest to build, can be creativity. Creativity is helpful in sales, marketing, communications, problem solving, self-improvement, and many other pillars of good business. We’ve come up with a few ways to help you boost your creativity:
:: Play games. Rush Hour and Set are games that force you to look for innovative solutions in order to win, and are specifically designed to enhance creativity and problem solving. (Both games can be played solo and are available on mobile devices such as the iPad.)
:: Use mind maps to help you discover new ways of looking at a problem. Mind maps are a note taking/brainstorming system created to boost imagination and vision. This video explains their purpose, usefulness, and instructions on how to create your own.
:: Accept risk. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ve become familiar with risk; however, it might be time to start taking larger risks for larger rewards. Ed Catmull, the cofounder of Pixar, suggests as much in this article on creativity.
:: Here are three great resources that promote brainstorming, innovation, and problem solving:
: Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck by Michael Michalko—essentially these are flashcards you “shuffle, mix, and match to spark fresh insights, then use the critical evaluation techniques to test, shape, and refine your original ideas into realistic creations.”
: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono—a book that helps you separate your thinking and idea generating into six distinct areas that “reveal the often surprising ways in which deliberate role playing can make you a better thinker…a powerfully simple tool that you—and your business—can use to create a climate of clearer thinking, improved communication, and greater creativity.”
: The Red Rubber Ball at Work: Elevate Your Game Through the Hidden Power of Play by Kevin Carroll—A book that promotes “play profiles from thought leaders, change agents, and business leaders [that] explains how to bring a sense of play into the workplace to stimulate creativity, encourage risk-taking, and achieve goals.”
If you find yourself unable to develop the skill of creativity, don’t fret, you are not alone. Many small businesses rely on someone with creative vision, and someone else with operational and financial expertise. The team can both generate creative ideas, and then mold them into something workable and financially sound. In the end, if creativity isn’t your thing, hire someone, because it is vital to your success.