Why is it that some people are always buzzing with new ideas, whilst others can’t let go of what they have always done? How do some see obstacles and others opportunity? What makes the difference between having an idea and making it stick?
In truth innovators have developed a set of habits that increase their chances of making new discoveries, solving problems,improving customer experiences, society and the planet. And so can you!
Here are some ideas you can develop for yourself...
Our unconscious mind processes around 11 million bits of information per second. Our conscious mind 50 bits per second. Our brain has to filter data in order for us to understand and it tends to filter out rather than in, based on what we pay attention to. To boost innovative thinking we have to allow new information into our thinking systems and that means paying attention in a different way. So...observe people, spot broken, rare or interesting things, look up, break your routine, be inquisitive, talk to a stranger, listen to the background noise, switch off your phone.
Turn down the loud guy
Our minds are conditioned to simplify, seek clarity and make the strange familiar. Logic, judgement and critical evaluation makes us exclude rather than include ideas, banishing embryonic thoughts into nothingness. To create we need to turn down the volume on the internal voice of judgment, at least for a while, so that we can do something with the thoughts that float around our minds.
Interact with your thoughts
Creative people let thoughts and ideas emerge. They are comfortable with ambiguity, allowing their minds to piece together the patchwork of anecdotes and observations, hunches and information to find connections and make sense of their observations. They tap into intuition to reveal new information and balance this with critical thinking and evaluation to shape, rather than dismiss ideas.
Write it down
Innovators habitually capture their thoughts, musings, mind-wandering and ramblings in notebooks, scrapbooks, images, vision boards and the like. Writing thoughts down allows you to reflect on and interact with them over time so you can find new connections.
Practice, practice and practice some more
Many of us approach performance and learning with an attitude of "peaking by Friday," driven by a thirst for immediate results. Yet almost every habit that you have (helpful and unhelpful) is the sum of small actions and decisions you have taken over time. If you want to super-charge your creative and critical thinking then focus on small steps, tiny actions, repeated every day.