5 ways to promote creative thinking and idea generation

28 08 2006

“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.” Albert Einstein

The process of innovation and creation begins with the analysis of current situations. Once we know where we are, what we want, or what we don’t want, the next step is the creation and exploration of ideas and alternatives.

Idea creation should be supported and facilitated by all members of the organization. We must feel free to create. We should know that the generation of the ideas is of great importance to the organization. We should feel comfortable and in a supportive environment for this to occur (children don’t play unless they feel safe).

It should be clear that the next step in the innovation process is the evaluation of the ideas by others in the organization. Our ideas will eventually be analyzed and criticized to determine their viability or economic impact. This is a separate and distinct process, and should occur only after the ideas are generated and not during the brainstorming period.

In order to spark discussion and interaction, brainstorming and idea generation here are some simple, low cost methods to get you and your organization moving in the right direction toward the creation of ideas and innovation.

How to promote creative thinking and idea generation

1. Purchase or subscribe to various magazines that have nothing to do with your industry (not world, national or economic news or analysis). Pass them out and give permission to mark or highlight any articles or ideas of interest. Give a time limit, 3 or 5 days. When the magazines come back, send them out to different people. Examples would include trade magazines from other unrelated industries, magazines dedicated to; design, art, travel and living, tattoos or wresting, music, movies, technology (backpacking or camping equipment, boats, bicycles, home office, cameras, computers, etc.).

2. Encourage book reading. Give out gift certificates to the local bookstore once a month. Start a community bulletin board with recommendations on great books, no matter what the subject.

3. Ask everyone to identify where or what makes them creative or gives them inspiration.  Where are they when they get their ideas?  What triggers innovative or creative thinking?  What time of day and what day of the week?

4. Move the furniture.

5. Bring in toys or puzzles that require manual manipulation. Toys unlock reasoning and assist in activating parts of the brain required for creativity.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook

Related Links

Weird ideas that work

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9 responses

6 09 2006
On Creative Thinking at Good Idea! Now find a better one.

[…] A few interesting thoughts on encouraging creative thinking in a corporate, (read bureaucratic), environment. […]

28 09 2006

This is a great post, to supplement, I suggest you read Edward DeBono’s book ‘Opportunities’ on how to foster and build in creativity and opportunity search amongst employees.

20 06 2007
New is a requirement « Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience

[…] 5 ways to promote creative thinking and idea generation […]

5 08 2007
Gadget Workshop » Inspire Thought: Toys for the imagination.

[…] we come across toys or gizmos that actually inspire or encourage an experience fostering creative thought…  certain types of toys effectively stimulate the […]

18 12 2007

Your use of the word ‘play’ is interesting. I am an account planner in an advertising agency (account planners are the people who come up with the ‘big idea’ for an advertising campaign). I once spent some time working on a gaming brand, focusing on why people play (play in general). Playing is quite a powerful activity. It releases various healthy chemicals into the brain. It stimulates the creative side of the brain (and in children this is particularily important for learning to communicate with others). One of my favourite creative thinkers is Richard Branson. Of course, Virgin is what it is because Branson knows how to manage others, has bags of energy, and does not shy away from taking risks. But he is first and foremost an ideas person (you can always employ people to take responsibility for finance, research, and so on). Anyway, ‘play’ or ‘fun’ is something that he refers to, again and again, in the various books and articles he has written to explain why is he is successful. Because ‘play’ and ‘fun’ help to stimulate the creative thinking part of the brain, that is of course, responsible for ideas.

18 12 2007

Sorry, in my last post i didn’t mean to suggest that Branson’s ability for creative thinking is all about ‘play’. Of course not. But that ‘play’ has played an important part, to some degree, in being a successful creative thinker.

You mention ‘book reading.’ This is really important. We do a lot of book reading in advertising account planning. I have come up with some really useful ideas, doing this. It is also important too read widely, as well as focus on a few subjects.

I would also recommend images. The brain loves images (1. we can remember facts more easily if associate them with images, 2. we can often communicate a concept much more easily in a single image than with lots of words, and so on). But I recommend using images in a disruptive way. For example presenting just a part of an image, or a juxtaposition of images and so on.

Interesting article. Thanks!

28 10 2008
Ricardo A. Córdoba

I am just beginning to get into this field. Even though I came to a conclusion that it is what I should be doing instead of doing what I do which is a regular job in a commercial area. I am trying to see if I can get some knowledge of this creative thinking by reading books. Well, the idea to really think most of the time is exciting. To create things, methods, new ways of doing what is being done for so many years really gets my atenttion.
Aren´t we tired of doing the some things as we have done them always? I am talking about ordinary tasks, simple ones,way of living,make money, work everyday, etc

Well, perhaps the creative thinking would give us tools and new perspective of how to live in accordance with everyone´s expectation, talents and so on.

31 10 2011
Jesper Lindgren

Aweseom reading on ideas and creativity. I myself try to be creative every single day for my blog: A 1000 Ideas, its a personal challange trying to get a 1000 unique ideas and share them with this world. It was inspirered by a TED talk from the guy who did a 1000 awesome things, and I thought, hey maybe I can come up with the next 1000 awesome things.

11 11 2014
Muhammad Rafiq

ideas or creativity comes through experience, when you are well aware of all aspects of you task, then you think out of the box, and refused to follow the beaten path, that notion spark idea or innovative thinking of doing things in a unique way.

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