9 challenging creative thinking techniques to make you stand out

9 challenging creative thinking techniques to make you stand out

We are fresh from our study of creativity for our Master Series. In this master series, we started with John Cleese and Elizabeth Gilbert, who reminded us that creativity is a lifestyle we can adopt.

We then into some specific breakdowns to better understand creativity and flow with Steven Kotler and Michael Bingay-Stainer.

Youtuber Valorian and Elizabeth Gilbert round out the investigation with practical suggestions on creativity and originality.

Creative thinking is a valuable skill that can help you develop new and innovative ideas, solve problems uniquely, and stand out in your personal and professional life.

Here are some tips for how to be a creative thinker:

  1. Start by cultivating a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means believing that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. This mindset can help you approach challenges with curiosity and openness rather than fear or fixed beliefs about your limitations.
  2. Practice divergent thinking. Divergent thinking generates a wide range of ideas and possibilities. To practice divergent thinking, try to come up with as many ideas as possible in response to a prompt or problem. Don't worry about the quality of the pictures at this stage. The goal is to generate as many as possible.
  3. Find inspiration from diverse sources. Creative thinking often involves making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts. To spark new ideas, try exposing yourself to diverse sources of information and experiences. These sources could include reading books and articles from various fields, exploring new places, and engaging with people from different backgrounds and perspectives.
  4. Take breaks and relax. Research has shown that taking breaks and engaging in activities that allow your mind to relax can enhance creativity. Taking breaks allows your brain to recharge and your unconscious mind to continue working on problems in the background.
  5. Use brainstorming techniques. Brainstorming is a group problem-solving technique involving generating as many ideas as quickly as possible. To brainstorm effectively, try the following tips:
    - Set aside dedicated time for brainstorming.
    - Encourage wild and unconventional ideas.
    - Don't judge or criticize any ideas.
    - Build on the ideas of others.
  6. Try different thinking styles. Different thinking styles can help you approach problems and ideas from different angles. Some common thinking styles include:
    - Lateral thinking involves looking at a problem from different perspectives and considering unconventional solutions.
    - Synectics involves using analogies and metaphors to explore new ideas and connections.
    - SCAMPER: This is a technique that involves asking a series of questions to spark new ideas, such as "Substitute," "Combine," "Adapt," "Modify," "Put to another use," "Eliminate," and "Reverse."
  7. Experiment with different creative techniques. You can use many other methods to stimulate creativity and generate new ideas. Some examples include:
    - Mind mapping involves creating a visual representation of your ideas and connections between them.
    - Sketching and drawing: Even if you don't consider yourself an artist, sketching and drawing can be helpful tools for exploring and communicating ideas.
    - The "5 Whys" technique involves asking "Why?" repeatedly to drill down to the root cause of a problem.
    - Role-playing: This involves stepping into the shoes of a different person or group to consider a problem from a new perspective.
  8. Take risks and embrace failure. Creative thinking often involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things. This thinking can be intimidating, but it's important to remember that failure is a natural part of the creative process. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes, and don't be afraid to take risks and try new approaches.
  9. Stay open to new ideas and experiences. Staying open to new ideas and experiences is essential to cultivating creative thinking skills. This openness means being willing to try new things, exploring new places and cultures, and being open to the perspectives of others.