Do you ever struggle with a business problem that requires creativity? If you’re like many people, you sit at your desk and get to work on the problem. You may twirl pencils, crumple up pieces of paper, gaze out the window, and take occasional breaks to pace or get another cup of coffee. But, do you find that the ideas are not materializing?
Some creative people can generate ideas anytime anywhere. But most of us have certain activities that get our creative juices flowing. If you want to perform at your creative peak, you need to identify these activities and use them to your advantage.
For some reason, sleep seems to bring out the creative ideas in many people. Maybe it has something to do with how the mind runs free during the dream state. When you’re dreaming, there are no rules and your mind can really think outside the box.
Some people get ideas while sleeping late at night while others find inspiration when they first wake up in the morning. If you find yourself coming up with your best ideas while sleeping, keep a notebook by the side of your bed so you can write down your ideas as soon as you wake up.
Interacting with others is also a great source of new ideas. When you discuss a problem with someone else, you “talk it out” and often arrive at a good solution. You may get the idea or inspiration from something the other person says, or it may come from your own thoughts during the discussion.
The people who inspire you don’t have to be colleagues or business partners. Conversation with anyone can help. In fact, talking with someone who knows nothing about your problem can generate the most unique ideas because that person likely has a very different perspective.
For some people, ideas come to them when they’re reading, meditating or otherwise enjoying the silence. Many people meditate for the sole purpose of stimulating their creativity. They sit still and focus on the problem, and the solution just seems to appear out of thin air.
Movement may help to jog your creativity. This is why long walks, running, and swimming often produce great ideas. Some people find that exercise gets not only their blood but also their creative juices flowing. If this is the case for you, bring your smartphone or a notepad when you exercise so you can quickly record your new ideas.
Keep track of the environments where you discover your best ideas. Is it a quiet setting or a busy coffee shop? Do you get your ideas first thing in the morning or later in the evening? Make a note of your situation when you discover a new idea so you can find the best times and locations to do your own creative thinking.
Steve Sponseller is an Intellectual Property Attorney and Innovation Strategist. He has 25 years of experience helping more than 1000 inventors and business leaders identify, develop, and protect innovative ideas. Get a complimentary copy of his Innovation Strategy Checklist to start creating a steady stream of innovative ideas that give your company a competitive advantage.