Innovative thinking may seem like a straight forward concept. However, it is anything but simple. Furthermore, converting innovative thinking into innovative actions can be exponentially more difficult. Nobody in the history of mankind was born an innovative thinker. However, after gaining various kinds of experiences, people enhance their thinking skills and improve their ability to cultivate innovative ideas.
What is Innovative Thinking?
In the simplest sense, innovation is simply doing something new or doing something old in a new way. Thus, by extension, innovative thinking would be something along the following lines…to think up something new or to think about something old in a new way.
Innovative Thinking Applied to Business
Innovative thinking is crucial in business since the world is changing at a very fast pace. Those individuals and organizations who try to get by with doing the same old things in the same old way will soon find themselves left behind in the dust. In order to stay competitive, let alone lead the market, firms must encourage and foster innovative thinking throughout their entire organization. Furthermore, individuals must remain open to new ideas, evolving processes, and potential opportunities that await on the horizon.
Ways to Embrace Innovative Thinking
The following are a few activities you can employ to enhance your ability to think in an innovative way:
The need to innovate often arises from a stressful situation. The difficulty with this is that a racing mind creates a conceptual block for any sort of creative flow. The best ideas and solutions typically come when we are not actively seeking them.
This is an extension of relaxing. Meditation is a great way to train your brain to relax. Meditation also opens you up to innovation in the most stressful of situations.
Welcome Random Thoughts
Every thought is valuable to a certain degree. This is why you don’t want to repel any thought that makes its way to the forefront of your mind. In short, respect every thought. If a single thought doesn’t make sense on its own, it may add up to a brilliant concept or another idea at the very least.
Read & Learn
It’s important to recognize and understand that creativity involves connecting two unrelated things. Thus, the more you know, especially things that are not directly related to what you are doing, the more you can unlock creativity by connecting two unrelated things. Simply reading a single book every other week will work wonders. Here are a few books that I consider more than worthwhile!
Master Your Field of Expertise
This one is pretty clear cut. Keep improving your knowledge base of your field. When you become a master of a specific field, you think beyond others’ imaginations. This is when innovative thinking can thrive and prosper.
Always Carry a Pen and Paper
Again, this one is pretty self-explanatory. You never know when an Earth-shattering thought will hit you. The moment it does, write it down!
Travel to Some of Your Favorite Places
When you travel to your favorite spots, your mind expands and thinks in a more creative way than usual. Travel as much as you can to places that spark your ability to think. THis will in turn boos your ability to think in an innovative way.
Don’t Censor Yourself
One massive mistake that people make when generating ideas is critiquing them as they arise. This method of self-censorship drastically cuts into any sort of creative flow. Let ideas flow freely from your mind and worry about evaluating them at a later point in time.
How to Lead Innovative Thinking
Inspire People to THink Out of Their Comfort Zone
Play different games that promote innovative thinking and let people know you respect every thought they have.
Award Thoughts, Not People
If there is someone who deserves acknowledgment, don’t hold back. Even receiving a simple certificate will invite more innovative thinking from others.
Award Attempts, Not Just Results
It’s no secret…we live in a results-driven world. Most rewards are presented to people with the best results. This may seem fair. However, this is not always the best course of action. The challenge is that innovation often comes after failure. If we only reward results, people will be discouraged from trying new things that may not work…or work right away. Keep rewarding great results, but also add in some recognition to those who are willing to risk and try something new and innovative.
Don’t Discount Ideas
Appreciate the efforts of every person who comes up with a thought not already shared. It’s possible you’ll views some ideas as utter nonsense at first, but these are the ideas that force you to dig through the coal to mine diamonds.
Create a Thought Box
Place a box somewhere in the office and encourage everyone to put their ideas into them whenever they want. This can be totally anonymous so people will feel more free with their ideas.
Doing new things and olds things in new ways is anything but easy. However, if your goal is to remain competitive in a constantly shifting world, it is an essential area of focus. Use the ideas and tips above to help your team, organization and yourself improve your ability to think in innovative ways.