13 Ideas To Consider When Learning How To Be More Creative

Updated August 28, 2022

Creativity is not only for artists, musicians, or those working in traditionally creative roles. Creativity is a characteristic that everyone can benefit from in any role or industry. Learning different ways to develop your creativity can help you be more productive and innovative at work and helpful to those around you. In this article, we discuss how to be more creative at work.

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How to be more creative

Regardless of your profession or position, you may want to know how to be more creative in your work. Creativity is the ability to use your imagination to develop original and unique ideas. You use creativity throughout your day to recognize possibilities, develop solutions, and interact with others around you. Below are 13 steps you can take to improve your creativity:

1. Recognize that everything has an opportunity for improvement

A great way to begin increasing your creativity is to recognize that everything and everyone has an opportunity for improvement. No matter what job you do or what level you work at in an organization, you have the ability to improve a product, service, process, or function. Developing an attitude of creativity can help you identify new ways of doing everyday tasks.

For example, at one point in history, vinyl records were the only form of recorded music. As innovative people recognized new technology and found creative ways to record music and make it increasingly portable. Now you can listen to music on your smartphone, television, radio, or through multiple online applications. Consider it your job to come up with a new way of doing something every day. Companies value employees that offer innovative solutions and typically encourage brainstorming and idea-sharing.

2. Look outside your industry

Looking outside of your industry can provide multiple sources of inspiration. Consider other businesses in different fields that can offer success in your position. Try not to limit yourself to only what your area or industry does or what is standard practice. For example, suppose you work in the health care industry and brainstorm solutions for an issue related to patient care.

You can determine if ideas from retail, consumer goods, or technology industries can apply to your field. Look wide to various job positions, professions, industries, physical locations, and companies. Think of everything else as an opportunity to find the solution or inspiration you seek.

3. Accept all brainstorming ideas

An excellent strategy for being more creative is accepting all ideas when brainstorming. Instead of thinking about why a particular idea may not work, consider it a viable solution, at least initially. When you approach creativity from an attitude of openness and acceptance to all possibilities, it creates an environment of innovation. Green hat thinking, coined by Edward de Bono in his process of Six Thinking Hats, allows you to imagine all possibilities without judgment or negativity during problem-solving. You can then evaluate each idea independently to determine its validity and practicality.

Related: 7 Steps to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

4. Ask for feedback from others

When trying to develop your creativity, it can help to ask for input from others. Talking to someone can give you a different point of view on a recurring issue or provide insight into how they may uniquely approach a task. If you process information and learn through auditory experiences, having someone to discuss ideas with can enhance your creativity. For example, brainstorming verbally with a trusted colleague or friend can offer a creative environment where ideas emerge organically.

Related: Promoting Collaboration in the Workplace: All You Need to Know

5. Develop an attitude of curiosity

Curiosity is the precursor to creativity. When you develop a mindset of curiosity, you desire to learn and grow your knowledge and expertise. You recognize you don't know everything, and you become open to new opportunities. Curiosity encourages you to explore more into the tasks you do, why you do them, and how you complete them. Be curious about how things operate or why people do things a certain way, from a place of wonder and the desire to learn. For example, learn how your computer works or how to master spreadsheet formulas.

Related: How to Improve Your Learning Skills

6. Embrace silence

Embracing silence is an excellent opportunity for new ideas and creativity to come forward in your mind. You can develop a daily meditation practice, take a quiet walk at lunchtime away from work, or sit in silence for a few minutes throughout your day. When you allow silence into your life, you provide the space for creativity to develop. Daydreaming is an example of what can happen during moments of silence. Consider the creativity you show when you daydream. You may come up with a world-changing idea in these moments of quiet, so embrace the silence.

7. Make time to play

Children play all the time, and you can actively see their imaginations at work. Whether they pretend they are a doctor or play with an imaginary unicorn, children aren't afraid to use play as a form of creativity. As an adult, you quickly lose the habit of bringing play into your day, but if you want to be more creative, then you can consider reincorporating it into your life. For example, many contemporary offices offer table tennis, darts, pool tables, or other games that employees can play during the workday.

Alternatively, consider adding a few toys to your desk. Tactile and somatic learners and processors significantly benefit from physical activities while learning or working. For example, having a fidget spinner or stress ball can help increase your creativity and work productivity.

8. Come up with more ideas than you need

When using creativity to develop solutions or new ideas, come up with more than you need. When you generate many ideas, the chance of finding an excellent creative solution is more likely than only coming up with a few. For example, many newspapers and magazines require their editors to create a minimum of 30 article headlines before deciding on the final choice. The more ideas you generate, the more creativity flows in the process.

Related: How to Problem-Solve in the Workplace

9. Move your body

Inspiration flows more easily when you move your body. Mild exercise, such as walking, helps to increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain. This means that your vital organ for creativity has the nourishment it needs to see things from a new perspective. Many top entrepreneurs, high-performing professionals and company CEOs use exercise as part of their daily routine to increase creativity, develop new ideas, and improve productivity.

10. Try some form of art

You can make art even if you don't think you're an artist. Art naturally encourages creativity when you allow yourself to immerse yourself in the process. Try some form of art, even if you haven't before. For example, take a watercolour painting class or learn to sculpt clay into miniature figures. Creating music, dancing, and baking all require creativity and are art forms. Find something that interests you and take a course to learn more. Another option is colouring books for adults. They are now a popular way of adding small amounts of art into your workday.

11. Physically change your environment

Physically changing your environment can dramatically improve your creativity. If you typically work from home, take your laptop to a coffee shop for a change of scenery for the afternoon. If you work in a formal office setting, try working from another office located in another part of the building. Changing your physical environment can also mean adjusting your office furniture, desk placement, or decorating your workspace. Find creative ways to show your personality at work to foster an environment that encourages your personal creativity.

Related: 12 Careers for Artists (With Salaries and Duties)

12. Listen to a podcast or documentary

When you feel that your creativity is stagnant, consider listening to a podcast or watching a documentary. Listening to a unique point of view can improve your flexibility, openness, and creativity, helping you see things differently.

For example, imagine you've been brainstorming all day for a new process to replace an existing one that no longer works, and you feel you aren't moving ahead. In this case, listening to something different can shift your focus to a new topic and allow your brain to process new information. Then, when you come back to the original challenge, you have a new perspective.

13. Surround yourself with inspiration

Surrounding yourself with inspiration can help motivate your creativity to come to the surface when you need it. When you feel inspired, you're more likely to develop creative ideas and innovative solutions. Various examples of inspiration include playing uplifting music while you work, posting inspirational quotes on your desk, or using beautiful artwork on your computer screensaver. When you create an inspiring work environment, you can encourage more creativity.

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