Many people become nervous when they have to write, speak or do what they perceive as creative work. I’ve heard people say things like “I’m just not creative” or “I’m not good at (insert creative activity).”
While creativity can be magical, it’s not magic. It’s producing something of value that is new or unique.
Creative solutions don’t come quickly or easily to anyone, regardless of what some people say or think. People aren’t creative on demand. Similar to achieving mastery in other disciplines, creativity requires planning, processes, deliberate practice, attention to detail and intense focus.
In other words, structure plus discipline leads to creative freedom.
You might not write a book or blog post. You might never direct a video or design a website. But you can apply a creative process to produce new, unique and valuable solutions throughout your career. Here are your 7 Steps to Creativity:
- Define and Break Down the Problem—Instead of broadly stating the issue, breakdown the problem in detail. It’s not “We need more sales” or “Our turnaround time is too long.” Invest the time to clearly define what you need to change and your desired outcome.
- Develop the Mental Roadmap—Creative thinkers and innovators use lists as mental roadmaps. List concepts, draw out your ideas, write out your creative thoughts, sketch the flow chart or ideal outcome.
- Find the Relationship Between Facts—Facts on their own aren’t of high value. The real value comes from seeing the connection between the facts.
- Eliminate Distractions—Today’s constant interruptions from texts, alerts, emails and in person discussions stifle creative thought. Start small by blocking off a few hours of undistracted time for creative problem solving and then build upon it as you see the results.
- Collaborate—The old “Two Minds are Better Than One” adage applies. Collaboration takes ideas to another level.
- Have “The Wrong” Mentality—It’s OK to not get it right the first, second, or third time. Breakthrough creative solutions are developed by learning from mistakes.
- Show Up—It takes discipline to continually work at creative activity. Those who show up the most produce the most.
What creative process works for you?