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What is creativity?

Creativity is the ability to think about a task or a problem in a new or different way, or the ability to use the imagination to generate new ideas. Creativity enables you to solve complex problems or find interesting ways to approach tasks. If you are creative, you look at things from a unique perspective. You can find patterns and make connections to find opportunities. There is some risk involved with being creative, but you can show you are self-motivated to try things that have not been done before.

Examples of creativity skills

There are several kinds of creative skills that you can practice to become more creative in the workplace. Used in combination, they can be effective in helping you think differently about a
problem or a task. They include:

  • Making connections – When you are creative, you find connections between different ideas and use those connections to solve problems. Often these connections happen when you aren’t actively thinking about the problem or task. Something you read or something someone says connects with the problem and you see it in a new way. Being in a different environment or experiencing something for the first time can also create connections that help you view tasks differently.
  • Asking questions – Being creative sometimes allows you to challenge accepted or conventional wisdom. You may wonder why you do a task a certain way, or why you have to follow specific procedures. There may be times when the reason is no longer relevant, but everyone is used to doing it that way. This gives you an opportunity to look for better ways to do that task or revise the procedures to make them more relevant.
  • Making observations – You can discover fresh ways of doing things by observing the world around you. Watching how people work can inspire you to think of ways to help them be more efficient. The way someone approaches a task might give you ideas of how to help someone else who performs a similar task. Paying close attention to how people use products or services can help you see how well they function, and then you can devise ways to improve them.
  • Networking – When we are creative, we can usually enjoy diverse company and networking with people who are unlike themselves. Being around people from different backgrounds can expose you to new ideas and inspire creative thinking. Talking and working with people who view the world differently can help you gain new perspectives when approaching your work.
  • Experimenting – Bringing out your creativity may help you experiment. No matter how unusual an idea might be, a creative person is willing to test it and see if it works. They see failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. To develop this skill, keep working on a problem, adjusting and rethinking your ideas until you find a solution.

How to improve creativity skills?

There are a number of activities and exercises you can try that can help improve your creativity. These include:

  • Try the circle challenge – Draw twenty circles, then set a stopwatch for thirty seconds. Make each circle into a unique picture before the timer ends. This exercise forces you to think about the same thing in different ways. Repeat it periodically to see how your thoughts change over time.
  • Use a sketchpad – As well as exercising creativity, drawing or writing down ideas can help you process information. If you are listening to a presentation, you could sketch something relevant to what you are hearing. This can help you remember the things being said.
  • Read regularly – Reading is just one way to mentally exercise. Exploring fiction novels, for example, can introduce you to interesting creative concepts such as complex worlds, storylines, puzzles and characters. Another easy way to practice mentally challenging games and puzzles is by using an app on your phone or other devices.
  • Write –  Try recording your thoughts in a journal at the end of each day. Writing encourages you to think critically about your daily experiences and ideas. Finding ways to apply critical and analytical thinking is a great way to exercise your mental abilities.
  • Exercise – Taking care of your physical and mental health can help put you in an optimal position to practice and apply creative thinking. Adding regular exercise, if even for 20-30 minutes two to three times per week is one way to be your best self at work.

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