Be creative

Innovation is the need of the hour and to be able to innovate you have to be creative, have to be able to think out of the box. Shivani Manchandahas a few tips that will help spark those creative cells.

Do you have the courage to be different? Can you see new patterns emerge from the old? Most important, do you think it is alright to make an error once in a while? The answers to these questions are important because they point to important pre-conditions of creativity: original thinking and courage.

What is creativity? It is “the ability to overcome traditional thinking and transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations,” says

All of us have benefited from original thinking. Take fashion. If designers hadn’t innovated, we would still be wearing what was fashionable in the last century!

Be it an individual or a firm, one has to stand out. Think of all the innovation required to stay trendy, to stay new. Everyone – restaurants, fashion houses, magazines, film companies – is under tremendous pressure to develop new products. It is this demand for “newness” that drives consumption patterns, and hence the economy. Yet when we choose our subjects, we go with the herd – engineering or MBA. So on one hand we have industry that is under constant pressure to innovate, while on the other we have a pool of candidates who lack the courage to be original. Thus companies often hold group discussions to select candidates who dare to be different, can communicate and are non-judgmental.

Courage to be original

When we have an assignment or project that requires innovative thinking, most of us just pick a concept off the Internet instead of exercising our grey cells. Why are we so scared to share our original ideas? When a child draws, he or she does so fearlessly. The sky can be green, the moon blue but adults soon chip away their confidence by saying “Have you ever seen a blue moon?” Very few of us have a tolerance for the original even in a child’s fantasy. It is no wonder that we grow up with a fear of being ridiculed for our ideas. Innovative thinking requires courage and a willingness to stand by your ideas. Dreams need to be bigger than fears for us to accomplish them. The reality is that any of you reading this article could be sitting on the next big idea if only you believed in yourself.

Practice  makes perfect

Creativity can be learned if you practise these steps:

• Attempt to answer a question in more ways than one

• Share your original idea and stand up for it

• Bypass obstacles with innovative thinking

• Develop a flexible mindset

• Observe how others solve problems and learn

• Make friends from diverse backgrounds to acquire exposure to different ways of doing things

• Try out new experiences

• Aspire for innovation, not perfection

• When failure comes your way, learn from it.