Design Thinking process: How to Build your Creativity Muscle
Where to Find Inspiration?
By Valerie Kramis* @vkramis
*Design Strategy Specialist with experience in marketing, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of Agenda28, and main coach of Tahona Society Collective Spirit.
According to a study by IBM gathering the largest known sample of one-on-one CEO interviews, creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success at work, outweighing even integrity and global thinking. (Fast Company, 2010).
Luckily, creativity isn’t an ability entrusted to just a few favored individuals, it’s a skillset that you can develop and sharpen. The trick is figuring out how to flex your creativity muscles.
Are you not the “Creative Type"? 5 Tips to Find Inspiration
1. Cultivate curiosity, and pay attention to things
Aim to be surprised at least once a day – try to look at unusual things, try a new drink in a bar, explore new approaches to the ingredient, try a recipe in a different way, try to actually listen deeply to conversations. And when you do find something that interests you, follow it! Don’t think you’re too busy, or that it’s not your business. Exploration is key!
2. Create flow in daily life
Csikszentmihalyi discovered that people find genuine satisfaction during a state of consciousness called Flow. In this state they are completely absorbed in an activity and lose track of the outside world.
Flow state can be experienced in almost any activity that has clearly defined goals and a balance between the difficulty of the challenge and the skills of the individual.
Finding your unique way to enter “the zone” is key to develop creativity skills, so think of the activities that make you lose track of time, and if you need more ideas about how to induce a flow state you can read this article.
3. Stimulate divergent thinking
The perfect idea doesn’t magically appear from nowhere, we need to first explore multiple solutions!
This is divergent thinking and consists on:
- Fluency, or coming up with as many ideas as possible (quantity)
- Flexibility, or coming up with as many different ideas as possible
- Coming up with ideas that are rare
4. Develop habits of strength
There are some key daily habits that can help you ignite creativity including:
- Waking up with a specific and meaningful goal in mind
- Setting consistently new challenges
- Taking charge of your own schedule to find at what time you are more creative
- Taking daily time to reflect and relax
- Setting up your own creative space
- Being disciplined with your routines will help you find inspiration
5. Let go of the idea of perfection
The enemy of creative thinking is being afraid to fail. So, let go of perfection and realize that creativity is an ongoing process.
Instead of marrying a particular idea, be comfortable with testing diverse ideas. The more you test, the more you will learn! And of course, have fun with the process!
In summary, they key take away is to get intentional about developing your creative mindset.
As Csikszentmihalyi stated, “creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living” (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013) and therefore, cultivating it will enhance your work and your personal life.