3 Ways to Challenge Your Inner Creative

November 30, 2013

George Hines

George Hines is the Chief Information Officer of Global Experience Specialists and has just over 19 years of experience in various B2B companies in the marketing, live events, telecommunications, outsourcing and travel industries.

Some people believe they aren’t creative, not innovative and weren’t born with the “creative gene.” What happens if I wasn’t born with it? How can I become more innovative in my personal and professional life?

Fortunately, there are some great tips out there we can all benefit from, and, yes, they came from Google. However, instead of Google.com, they came from a senior leader at Google.

In a summit about innovation for IT leaders, I had the chance to meet a senior leader from the innovation team at Google, Emily Ma.

Emily spent her entire career focused on product and service innovation at firms like Stanford University, IDEO and Google, and her message to all of the IT leaders in the room was simple, “We all have the power to be more innovative.”

Emily challenged all of us with several tips she developed from her experiences which I found useful to anyone seeking to improve themselves as innovators.

Below are three of those tips which are simple not only to read, but to apply in your everyday life:

1.) Facta Non Verba- That is Latin for “deeds not words.” If you have an idea, draw it out. If it’s for a product, build it out of whatever you have at your disposal. If you only have toothpicks, Lego blocks and toilet paper, make a model of your idea. By no means should you sit on an idea. Draw it, build it and make it. It will inspire more creative thinking and give you instantaneous feedback from others on how to refine it.

2.) Make Time and Shelter Your Stars - According to recent studies in the workplace, it’s estimated that employees are interrupted once every 3 minutes on average during the course of a day. Whether it’s text messages, instant messages, emails, someone dropping by, phone calls, scheduled meetings or something else, that adds up to a whopping 160 times we’re interrupted from our train of thought in an average eight-hour day. It’s also a known fact that it takes at least 30 uninterrupted minutes to get into the proper frame of mind for the most effective creative thinking or what psychologists call “flow.” As employees, we can create a positive environment for innovation by setting aside scheduled quiet time for ourselves, as well as our team members.

3.) Take a Twalk- No, that isn’t a spelling error. Physical activity is one of the most important things that each of us needs every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also fundamental to our mental health and happiness. Daily physical activity naturally raises our levels of serotonin, which is a naturally occurring chemical that contributes to feelings of happiness. We’re all much more productive when we’re happy. So, the next time you have a meeting scheduled, instead of sitting in a conference room, consider taking a walk and talking through things. Take a “twalk.” You’ll be more productive and benefit from the exercise, not only physically, but mentally as well.

In summary, each of us has the power to change the set of circumstances around us to maximize our potential for creativity and innovation, and these simple examples prove that. It’s possible to become a better innovator, and, yes, you can Google that.

What do you do to get your creative juices flowing? Share your tips below.

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