19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) _ SessionLab.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Delivery Matters ( ) Stories behind workshop plans, post-its and markers. 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) by James Smart ( ) on June 14, 2021 ( ) • 31 min read w.facebook.com/sharer.php? ( ? ?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sessionlab.com%2Fblog%2Fcreative=TrainedOn&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sessionlab.com%2Fblog%2Fcreativew.sessionlab.com%2Fblog%2FcreativeThinking+Skills+%28and+How+to+Use+Them%21%29&via=sessionlab) thinking%2F) thinking%2F) 1/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab In a fast-moving world, being able to find new perspectives and create innovation is an increasingly valuable skill. Creative thinkers are often at the forefront of driving change, solving problems, and developing new ideas. Not only that, but those who bring creative thinking to how they work are often happier, more productive, and resilient too! So you might be asking yourself, how can I develop my creative thinking skills and think more creatively at work? Whether you want to supercharge your interpersonal skills, advance your career or be happier and more satisfied in the work you do, it pays to learn to think more creatively. For many people, creative thinking is the key that unlocks solutions, promotes diverse thinking, and leads to better relationships and job satisfaction. So how can you get started with creative thinking? As passionate believers in the value of creative thinking, we’re here to help and truly think unleashing your creativity can be key to your personal development! In this post we’ll define what creative thinking is, highlight the benefits, explore 19 key creative thinking skills and give you some examples of how to apply them in the workplace. Let’s dig in! What is creative thinking? ( ) 2/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Why is creative thinking important? ( ) What are the benefits of creative thinking? ( ) What are creative thinking skills? ( ) Examples of creative thinking skills (and how to use them) ( ) How to use creative thinking skills at work? ( ) How to improve your creative thinking skills? ( ) What is creative thinking? Creative thinking is the ability to approach a problem or challenge from a new perspective, alternative angle, or with an atypical mindset. This might mean thinking outside of the box, taking techniques from one discipline and applying them to another, or simply creating space for new ideas and alternative solutions to present themselves through dialogue, experimentation, or reflection. Bear in mind that the number of different creative approaches is as vast as the number of creative thinkers – if an approach helps you see things differently and approaching a challenge creatively, follow that impulse. While there are some proven methods and guidelines that can help you be a better creative thinker, remember that everyone can be creative and finding what works for you is what is important, not the terminology or specific framework. 3/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab One misapprehension about creative thinking is that you have to be skilled at more traditional creative skills like drawing or writing. This isn’t true. What’s important is that you are open to exploring alternative solutions while employing fresh techniques and creative approaches to what you’re working on. You don’t need to be a great artist or even work in a traditionally creative field – we believe everyone is capable of creative thinking and that it enriches your personal and professional lives when you learn to be more creative. Another misconception about creative thinking is that it applies only to the ideation or technically creative parts of the process. All aspects of our lives and interactions with people and challenges can benefit from creative thinking – from the ability to see things differently. At work, thinking creatively might mean finding better ways to communicate, improve your working practices, or developing and implementing fresh solutions too. Creative thinking is important because it drives new ideas, encourages learning, and creates a safe space for experimentation and risk-taking. Why is creative thinking important? As organizations and people grow, they often develop tried and tested ways of operating. While it’s important to have solid working practices and processes, unswerving dedication to the norm can lead to stagnation and a lack of innovation and growth. Creative thinking is important because it drives new ideas, encourages learning and creates a safe space for experimentation and risk-taking. Simply put, creativity and creative thinking are part of what helps businesses and individuals succeed and grow ( ). Whether your team or business thinks of itself as a creative one, you can’t afford to miss out on the benefits of creative thinking if you want to grow, deliver change, and help your team bring their best selves to work. 4/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab New to facilitating workshops and meetings? Get engaging activities and tips on facilitation delivered to your inbox every month and receive the Essential Meeting Facilitation Toolkit as a bonus! Full of easy-to-use and powerful group activities to make your meetings and workshops effective, engaging and structured. Your email Get the toolkit We respect your privacy. Your email address will never be shared. What are the benefits of creative thinking? Using creative thinking skills at work creates benefits not only in the ways we solve problems but also in how we approach everything from communication to selffulfillment, task management, and growth. Bringing a culture of creative thinking into a workshop or group is often the job of a talented facilitator but whatever your role, there are benefits to thinking more creatively. Let’s explore some of the benefits of thinking creatively at work and in your everyday life! 5/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Build empathy ( ) Bust assumptions ( ) Become a better problem solver ( ) Find ways to move quickly and effectively ( ) Increase happiness ( ) Discover new talents and promote learning ( ) Boost resilience and deal with ( )adversity ( ) Boost your CV and employability ( ) Build empathy Empathy and creative thinking go hand-in-hand. By practicing creative thinking skills and regularly looking for new ideas and points of view, you can actively become better at understanding your colleagues, customers, and even your family and friends. One of the major barriers to having productive and meaningful relationships is an unwillingness to see things from a perspective other than your own or failing to understand how another person is feeling. By developing this skill, you can engage more meaningfully and honestly with people, ideas, and perspectives in all aspects of life. What’s more, because of the benefits that creative thinking can bring, you’ll actively want to see things from new perspectives and be more empathic: something that’s fundamental to creating real change. Bust assumptions 6/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Assumptions can be harmful in both our personal and professional lives. Whether it’s making assumptions about why someone is behaving the way they are in a workshop or what features will make your customers happiest, holding onto incorrect or inadequately formed assumptions can be problematic. It can create difficulty and tension in relationships and what’s more, it can lead to the development or introduction of solutions that are simply unfit for purpose. Using creative thinking skills to challenge assumptions, build clarity, and see things from new perspectives can be transformative. If an assumption someone else makes feels incorrect, think about why and try to find out more. If someone challenges an assumption you hold, be open and listen. Become a better problem solver An example of not being a creative thinker is sticking to a tried and tested approach and sticking to the norm in every situation without considering whether trying something new might not lead to better results. When looking to solve a problem or create innovative solutions, going outside of what you know and being open to new ideas is not only exciting, but it can create more impactful solutions too. You might even try using problem-solving techniques ( ) alongside some of the creative thinking skills below to find the absolute best solutions! Find ways to move quickly and effectively Some processes and working practices can be slow, especially in large organizations with many moving parts – but do they all have to be? Thinking creatively can help you find lean, actionable solutions that you can put into practice quickly and test ahead of bigger changes. Experimentation and a willingness to take risks are vital to growth and change, and creative thinking helps create a climate conducive to finding and trying quick, effective solutions. Increase happiness and satisfaction Finding fresh, appropriate solutions to problems can be incredibly satisfying and is a fasttrack to finding happiness both in and out of work. Bringing your whole self to a situation and being enabled to think outside of the box is a great way to feel valued and 7/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab engaged with what you are doing. Feeling frustrated with how a situation or process at work is going? Try developing and employing your creative thinking skills alongside your colleagues to find a better, happier way to collaborate! Feel unfulfilled or that not all of your skills and interests are being utilized? Consider how you might creatively deploy the skills or talents that make you happy and scratch that itch. Discover new talents and promote learning As children, we are encouraged to see things differently and try new things as part of our learning and growing process. There’s no reason we shouldn’t do this as adults too! Trying new things and learning to think creatively can help you find new skills, talents, and things you didn’t even know you were good at. Staying curious and following what interests you with an open mind is a prime example of what a small change in thinking can achieve. Remember that creative thinking is a gateway to learning and by actively developing your creative toolset, you can grow and discover more in all walks of life – a surefire path to personal development. Get better at dealing with adversity It’s easy to get frustrated when problems seem to come thick and fast and existing solutions or methods don’t work. Adversity is something all of us will face at some point in our personal and professional lives but there are ways you can become more able to handle problems when they arise. A strong suite of creative thinking skills is an important aspect of how we can build resilience and be more flexible when adapting or creating change. By exploring alternative ways of thinking, you’ll be better prepared to face adversity more openly and find alternative ways to resolve challenges in whatever context they emerge. Boost your CV and employability Creative thinkers are valuable employees at organizations of any size. Whether it’s championing innovation, creating change in policy, or finding better ways to collaborate, people who can effectively solve problems and leverage their creative thinking skills are better positioned for success at work. 8/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Consider how you might plug your skills gap and boost your CV by developing your creative skillset and you won’t just be more successful – you’ll be happier and more engaged at work too! Whatever your background or role, you are capable of thinking creatively and bringing creativity into your life. What are creative thinking skills? Creative thinking skills are the methods or approaches you might use when trying to solve a problem differently and explore a fresh perspective. While some of these skills might come naturally to you, others might need a more considered, purposeful approach. For example, you might be a natural visual thinker who is great at presenting and interpreting visual information but you might not be so good at freely experimenting or creating space for reflection. In this case, you might try some brainstorming exercises to loosen up your experimentation muscles or create scheduled time for reflection in your working routine. While creative professions like artists, writers, or designers may see more obvious uses for creative thinking skills, all professions can benefit from developing and deploying creative thinking. If you find yourself having difficulty at work or in need of inspiration or motivation, finding space to build on your creative skillset is a way to not only move forward but have fun while doing so. If you think you’re not creative or have no creative thinking skills, we’re here to tell you that whatever your background or role, you are capable of thinking creatively and bringing creativity into your life: you might just need a little push or to reframe how you think about creativity! Save time planning your next creative workshop 9/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab ( ) Get started with a template! ( ) Examples of creative thinking skills (and how to use them) Creative thinking skills come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from things like abstract thinking and storytelling to finding ways to radically plan projects or recognize organizational patterns. 10/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab In this section, we’ll explore each of the example creative skills below and talk about how you might use them in your personal and professional practice. We’ll also point out some things to watch out for where appropriate so you can make the most out of your new creative skills and avoid potential setbacks. We’ll also include a method from the SessionLab library ( ) that will help you practice and explore each skill, whether alone or with others. Feel free to read and explore the creative thinking skill which feels most interesting or applicable to you and come back and experiment with others in the future! Some example creative thinking skills include: Experimentation ( ) Open-mindedness ( ) Lateral thinking ( ) Pattern recognition ( ) Deep and active listening ( ) Challenging norms ( ) Lean organization ( ) Simplification ( ) Radical planning ( ) Collaborative thinking ( ) 11/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Data collection ( ) Interpretation and analysis ( ) Interdisciplinary thinking ( ) Frameworks and rulesets ( ) Micro and macro thinking ( ) Visual thinking ( ) Abstract thinking ( ) Storytelling ( ) Reflection ( ) Note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are many more ways of thinking creatively – try to see these creative skills as a jumping-off point for seeing things differently and exploring creative thinking at work. Let’s get started! Experimentation A core creative skill is the ability to experiment and try new things, whether that’s in your personal practice, in a closed environment, or even in the field. It can be easy to fall short of implementing new ideas or following through with creative projects because critical judgment or overthinking gets in the way. A good experimenter is a self-starter who makes informed decisions to kickstart projects and test hypotheses. Think of a painter who throws paint at a canvas and introduces new materials without overthinking or being self-critical. While not everything they try will be perfect, that’s the point – not every experiment needs to be successful in order to teach you something 12/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab useful. By experimenting, you can try things that might prove useful or will lead you towards new solutions and better ideas. Remember that the act of experimentation is generative and often fun so be sure to give it a try! One thing to watch out for is being sure to effectively capture the results of your experiments and to continue developing and iterating on the results. Experimentation is a great place to start, but remember that it is part of a larger process. Without effective documentation, you might not trace what delivered the best results and be unable to reproduce the outcomes. Experimentation is a great example of why creative freedom should be paired with a strong process in order to be at its best. Four-Step Sketch ( ) #design sprint ( ) #innovation ( ) #idea generation ( ) #remote-friendly ( ) The four-step sketch is an exercise that helps people to create well-formed concepts through a structured process that includes: 1. Review key information 2. Start design work on paper, 3. Consider multiple variations, 4. Create a detailed solution. Four-Step Sketch ( ) is a great method for promoting experimentation. By following a process that enables quick brainstorming before development, you can help build an experimental mindset that also generates results. Open-mindedness Open-mindedness is a critical element of creativity and one of the best creative thinking skills you can try to build if you’re new to the practice. Being open-minded means being receptive to new ideas, different ways of thinking, and perspectives which are not your own. It means not closing down conversations or ideas prematurely and trying to actively explore what is presented to you. 13/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Imagine that a colleague comes up with an idea that is so far out of the status quo it seems off-the-wall and bizarre. Being open-minded means actively engaging with what is presented and to refrain from forming judgments before first understanding where your colleague is coming from. Your colleagues’ initial idea might not be perfect, but being open-minded and truly attempting to understand their perspective means you can create dialogue, foster creativity, and move forward as a team. Being open-minded doesn’t mean accepting every new idea and agreeing wholesale with every different opinion. While you should always try to be open and receptive to new ideas and other perspectives, you should also critically appraise and engage with them as part of a larger creative process. Don’t be so open-minded you have no strong opinions of your own! Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR) ( d-seen-respected-hsr) #issue analysis ( ) #empathy ( ) #communication ( ) #liberating structures ( ) #remote-friendly ( ) You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others. Many situations do not have immediate answers or clear resolutions. Recognizing these situations and responding with empathy can improve the “cultural climate” and build Open-mindedness is particularly useful when it comes to meaningfully communicating with others. Whether its developing the ability to walk in the shoes of someone else or building empathy and listening skills, Heard, Seen, Respected ( ) is a great method to try when learning to be more open-minded. Lateral thinking 14/43 09/12/2021 15:54 19 Creative Thinking Skills (and How to Use Them!) | SessionLab Lateral thinking is a prime example of how we can creatively solve real-world problems in a measurable and easy-to-understand manner. Deploying lateral thinking means using reasoning or non-traditional logic to find an indirect or out-of-the-box approach to solving a problem. A simple example might be a challenge like: we need to increase revenue. Traditional...
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