How to become more creative?

suresh_a

In embedded any engineer can develop a great piece of gadget, with unlimited time, unlimited resources and an experienced team of 100people. But what if one has to finish the same project in two weeks, having limited resources, and an inexperienced team of two people.
Creativity or creative thinking is an inherent characteristic possessed by an individual irrespective of his education, social status. The new ideas come to his mind automatically in any area in which he is involved. The creative ideas keep on changing with the changed environment.

suresh_aBasically I believe creative think is an art that is developed over the years; I don’t think it is developed by “thinking the opposite or different way”. I rather think that creative thinking will be developed by trying to find solution to problems or trying to find out the reason why things are the way there are rather than accepting what is without questions. The best technique for creative thinking is to have a fresh mind and do not hesitate to try out new ideas
Lot of people make it so difficult, normally their first question would be how to start or when and where to start developing creativity. I think creativity is part inspiration and part perspiration – changing perspectives and learning new skills/exploring new experiences are great first steps.
This is similar to what normally peoples have said – for example meeting new people and having new experiences or reading or watching movies you would not normally be exposed to, broadens your horizons, but it is not only having new experiences. It really is trying to see if from a different perspective. You may find a technique such as Yoga and going for a walk or relaxing is useful to put yourself in a mind frame to step into a new perspective.
Another way to develop creative thing is to find out what happens if you go contrary to widely accepted norms or values and be prepared to give explanations to whatever you choose to do.  Einstein developed both special and general relatively by challenging what everyone knew to be true.  Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions about those things everyone knows.  If everyone is pointing in one direction, see if you can find another. Being creative often means thinking in ways that makes your brain uncomfortable.  So look for approaches that make you anxious, uncomfortable, or scared.  And then dive right into them.  You can use your emotions as a guide to lead you into unknown areas, which is where creativity most often lives.
There’s a common misunderstanding about the creative process that keeps many of us from advancing our own creative skill. The misunderstanding is that creativity is about “following the muse,” doing whatever you want with no limits. This myth is further promoted by business magazines and television commercials that, say, celebrate everyday people covering their walls with ideas on post-its.
When there is discussion on being creative there is one name which made a big impact on our social life or who changed our society and that is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs spoke of it as a truly mind-altering experience which forced him to look at the world in a whole new way, and he recommend that everyone try it at least once in their life. I consider that a pretty good track record. If he says it works, I would tend to agree with his view hundred percent.
After all these discussion I feel following points can help a person to be little more creative:
•    Expose yourself to new things: New people, new experiences new ideas and new perspectives..
•    Be observant:  Everything starts with noticing things; observe the world around you and think about how you could do things better.
•    Be Experiment: Try things out and if it doesn’t work try something else. Try to solve problems by using different techniques.
•    Work ethic = habit + discipline + passion: The first two are acquired through focus and training.  The last by character and your natural dispositions.
•    Strategy = education + design + approach: It’s about how you value intelligence and experimentation. Intelligence stacks and ideas are progressive. How high can you make it and how far can you go? This requires rigorous strategy and a genuine appreciation of consequence by design.
•    Imagination = input – prejudice: Our imagination expands proportionally to what we are focused on and for how long (input), minus what we throw away.
•    Change Up Your Environment: To think creatively, try switching up your environment or get involved in other things.  If you normally work in one part of your room, try working from the kitchen or your backyard.  Alternatively, try working out of a coffee shop (if you can).

•    Pick a problem you care about and get to work: If you don’t care about anything, your problem isn’t creativity, its apathy.
•    Take Breaks : Sometimes when you are in a mental block, take a break and step away from your zone.  Take a walk around the block, get a cup of coffee, or step out for a breath of fresh air, sit outside and get some sunshine.
•    Don’t just read a lot; read broadly: Creativity is about knowing things and then putting those ideas together in a new way.
•    Do something you normally do differently: Ride a bike to work, or take a bus, or drive a different route.  Sometimes these new experiences trigger a new viewpoint or break you out of your routine trance.
•    Teach and Talk it Through: grab a colleague and try to explain your current thoughts or ideas.  Get some feedback and “riff” on the ideas.  Another person’s perspective and input may trigger new concepts, approaches, or perspectives.  Even if you think your “idea” is too complex or too technical, try to put it into layman’s terms or find analogies that someone without your experience or depth can give you some ideas.
•    We all have a natural creative style: find it and start from there.
•    Write it Down:  Sometimes the act of writing out your thoughts/comments or sketching it on paper can let you noodle on it from a different angle.  If you have a blog, write it up.  If you have a corporate wiki, share your notes.  If you have a journal or sketchbook, doodle it in. Some people dictate their thoughts into a recorder and listen back to it.
•    Be curious like a child: Don’t take things for granted; have a questioning disposition; ask why?
•    Explore New Experiences: this one is probably super obvious, but the people who are most creative have a wide array of experiences to tap into.  Learn a new skill, hobby, or read a different genre of books or watch a different type of movie. If you can afford to, take weekend road trips or explore your own city as a tourist.
•    Stop Trying: Sometimes, stop forcing yourself to be “creative.”  It’s those weird moments where some epiphanies come back at you while you’re in the shower or picking up groceries.  Relax and be okay if you can’t come up with something right now.
•    Meditate: My friends swear by this, but they say a good Yoga or meditation session helps them tap into their creativity by clearing the noise and refreshing their energy.
•    Sleep: A good night’s rest will give you a fresh view on things.

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Author is an software engineer having around 20 years experience in embedded development.

One Comment;

  1. Parikshit said:

    Good post thank you Suresh Alluri.. Hope this would help me getting my things done efficiently..

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