A former colleague who was working with me in one of the companies that I worked for came to me a few days ago and asked me ‘’Mohamed when you were an employee, you always had new proposals and creative ideas. You were almost like an idea machine. How did you do that and how you were generating this amount of ideas?’’
And this will be exactly the topic of this article. As an employee, how to generate more ideas and get creative. But first, let me share with you a short story.
Edward de Bono one of the greatest creative thinkers of our time, created a product that he called his “Think Tank,” which encouraged people to think more creatively. It was an eight-inch sphere mounted on a platform. Through a small window, you could see a selection of 14,000 words printed on small plastic pieces. You shook the Think Tank and then looked into it and wrote down the first three words you saw.
You then tried to relate the three words to your problem, to come up with a fresh perspective toward solving the problem. This process would cause you to search your brain, your data bank, and all your past experiences to find a way to relate the three words to your problem while keeping in mind the end result that you want.
Creativity and generating ideas require that you either change your mental model and your perspective (which is usually hard to be done) or to have different experiences and a data bank and then you start making different connections between these experiences and different data. Like the think tank product that I spoke about. Without different data or a databank, it is hard to get creative, but it is still possible.
So, how to gather the needed experience or fill your data bank? I will ask you some questions that are relevant to the activities and actions that I used to do and still doing and you will know if you are on your way to being an idea machine or not?
- Through the past 3-4 years, did you change your job role?
- Do you have contacts and connections in other departments and whom you do not have day to day business with?
- How much do you know about what other departments are doing and their role inside the organization?
- How many books have you read this month?
- How many Training courses (online or offline) have you attended this month?
- How many events have you attended this month? And I mean here events that are not mandatory to attend and are irrelevant to your current job?
- How much are you investing in your personal growth each year?
- How many times this month have you drank coffee with smart people who are not your best friends and not your colleagues at work?
- What skill did you focus on and improved in the last 3 months, and which one will you focus on in the next 3 months?
If the answer to most of these questions is ''no'' or ''zero'', then, unfortunately, you will rarely generate new ideas and your growth will be very slow.
So here is what I want you to do. If you want to be more creative, generate ideas and be more valuable to your company, then answer the questions above, and if the answers are not promising, it's ok. Just start now.
Do not act in all directions immediately. Just take small steps. For example, look at the questions, choose 2 areas and start with them.
Now it is time to share with me your thoughts. Leave me a comment in the comments section below and tell me about the tools and strategies that you use to generate ideas and get creative.
I hope you found this article helpful and see you in the next one.