Recent surveys have shown that the number one quality business leaders look for in employees isn’t integrity or intelligence or grit or determination – it’s creativity. Businesses want to be leaders in their particular industry, and for that they need to be innovative, and they want innovative people.
Here is some of the advice on how to be creative from some of the most innovative people in business today.
1. Change your environment.
Business innovators say to spur creativity you need to put yourself in a place or situation that is new and unfamiliar. Research has shown as well that people are more creative when they are in an unfamiliar environment. For example, one study showed that people who spent several days camping in the woods free from all electronic devices showed a 50 percent increase in creativity.
There are other ways to cultivate this unfamiliarity. Some people try to expose themselves to things they normally have nothing to do with. For example, watching a drag race, a professional wrestling match, or a rodeo.
One business leader goes to the bookstore and buys three magazines he ordinarily would never buy. This is another attempt to get out of his comfort zone, into unfamiliar territory, to think differently.
When you have an idea, bounce it off as diverse a group of people as you can find. What will happen is that you will get new information and leads to other people. Creative people realize ideas do not exist in isolation, but need to interact with other ideas to produce something worthwhile.
3. Open things up
In other words, give yourself a little breathing room mentally. Time to think. There are different ways to do this. Some people meditate. Others prefer to take a walk or do some physical, low intensity activity such as cleaning or working at a hobby.
In order to be creative you need to give yourself this mental space, the freedom to let your mind wander. But it’s not the same as daydreaming. There is still a purpose behind it, constraints to it. You are still doing it as a means to an end.