A state of mind
Creative thinking skills are as much about attitude and self-confidence as about talent. Creativity is often less ordered, structured and predictable. As you are not looking for ‘one’ answer, you are likely to come up with lots of suggestions that are not ‘right’. This can be difficult if you are more used to analytical and logical approaches. It can also be experienced as ‘risky’ as the prospect of making a mistake or not coming up with an answer is more likely.
Creativity and emotions
Strong emotional self-management is often needed in order to allow creative thinking states to emerge. It is important to be able to cope with risk, confusion, disorder and feeling that you are not progressing quickly.
Creative thinking techniques
There is no limit to ways there are of thinking creatively. Some techniques you can begin with are:
- Brainstorm ideas on one topic onto a large piece of paper: don’t edit these. Just write them down.
- Allowing yourself to play with an idea whilst you go for a walk.
- Draw or paint a theory on paper.
- Ask the same question at least twenty times and give a different answer each time.
- Combine some of the features of two different objects or ideas to see if you can create several more.
- Change your routine. Do things a different way. Walk a different route to college.
- Let your mind be influenced by new stimuli such as music you do not usually listen to.
- Be open to ideas when they are still new: look for ways of making things work and pushing the idea to its limits.
- Ask questions such as ‘what if….?’ Or ‘supposing….?’.
Combine analytical and creative thinking skills
Many important breakthroughs in science and innovation have resulted from:
- Focusing on a subject in a logical, analytical way for some time, thinking through possible solutions.
- Daydreaming or distracting the mind, but holding the same problem lightly ‘at the back of the mind’.
- The answer has often emerged on dreams or daydreams when the innovator was not trying so hard to find the answer. However, the daydream on its own did not achieve anything.
Keep an ideas book
Inspiration can strike at any time. Ideas can also slip away very easily. Keep a small notebook to hand so you can jot down your ideas straight away.