Out-of-the-box thinking is necessary to generate new ideas and problem solve in our daily tasks. Since time is always limited, we have to be efficient even in our creativity. Here are four ways to boost your creativity at work:
1. Inject fun
Use toys or objects not normally found in the office environment to trigger broader thinking. Incorporating toys in a meeting or brainstorming exercise can often create humourous situations. Laughter is invigorating and leads to freer thoughts. Throwing a stress ball from person-to-person, for example, can keep people on their toes and engaged.
2. Employ colour
Use a whiteboard and markers in a variety of colours to capture ideas. Give meaning to each colour. The use of colour makes content more visually interesting, faster to read and easier to retain, especially for visual learners.
3. Use tools to change your thinking
There are a variety of tools that can help you find new ways to think. Mind maps allow for the capture of associated thoughts without forcing priority and are often used for brainstorming and note taking. Use paper or a whiteboard and coloured pens or markers. Write a word or idea in the centre of the page, and then connect other ideas to it. Branch out as you flesh out your ideas.
Shift Gears is a free online tool that increases the likelihood of connecting previously unconnected thoughts or shifting your knowledge through changing your perceptions. To shift gears, you start by stating your business challenge. Then you look at a provided image and note your reactions to it. The last step entails using those reactions as clues to solve your challenge.
4. Change your location
Even in a space designed for creative thinking, it can help to have a change of scenery. Find another place to work, perhaps a board room or even outside. The change of environment can spur new ideas.
Invest in your own set of dry-erase markers in colours you like to use to avoid disappointment in another location. Portable easels, whiteboards and smartboards help capture your ideas wherever you choose to work.