Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

8 Ways You Can Be More Creative This Creativity And Innovation Day

Creativity and innovation are crucial in not only the workplace, but also in daily life. Everyday, we come up with new ideas and solve problems – big or small. Whether it’s to figure out what to have for dinner or how to get a project done on time. Whether it’s to come up with a new product or service or simply to make our lives more efficient – creativity and innovation are key. Practicing creativity and consistently improvising will increase your creative confidence, and with it, you’ll be able to see problems as opportunities.

On this World Creativity & Innovation Day, let’s take a moment to celebrate how inventive and resourceful we can be. A little bit of history on the day. The history of Creativity & Innovation Day is interesting. This holiday has been around for a while, but its origins are a bit of a mystery. Some say that it was started by an advertising agency in the 1970s, while others claim that it began as an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1990s. However, it started as an unofficial day to celebrate creativity in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2009 the United Nations declared April 21st as International Day of Creativity and Innovation. And in 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added it to its official calendar of International Days. 

However it began, the purpose of the day is to “celebrate creativity and innovation in all its forms across the globe”.

The pandemic has made creativity and innovation more important than ever. With so many individuals and businesses struggling, it’s up to us to come up with new ways to do things. We need to be creative in how we work, communicate, and connect with each other. This pandemic is a key time to celebrate creativity and innovation, as it’s a time when we all need to be creative in how we live our lives and solve problems.

Here are some of the key statements and stats related to creativity at work.

94% of hiring managers say it is important to consider creativity when hiring a job candidate. – Adobe , Hiring for the Future (2014). 94%
78% of college-educated workers over 25 wish they had more creative ability. – Adobe, Hiring for the Future (2014). 78%
35% of workers are only given time to be creative at work a few times per year. – Gallup 2017 American Workplace Survey 35%
In a search for “creativity in business,” Google returned 345,000,000 results.

Recruiters rank creative problem solving as the second most difficult skill to find among job applicants. – Bloomberg Businessweek

The need for and importance of creativity and innovation in our lives is unarguably one of the most crucial ones. What can you do to celebrate and embrace it? 

You can take action by doing something new or innovative, or by simply appreciating the creative things around you. Some people hold events or workshops to brainstorm new ideas, or take time to learn about new technologies or methods. And others use the day to relax and recharge their creative batteries. 

Here are 8 things you can do to practice more creativity.

1. Be yourself

One of the worst things you can do is try to be someone you’re not. It’s hard to be creative when you’re not being true to your own voice and your own ideas. Matthew Hutson, a science journalist, wrote in Psychology Today – “To be creative, be yourself” and that can’t hold any more truth. He wrote, “if you just shush what you perceive to be the outside standards of goodness and newness, and you stay true to what you think is right, most of it will be useful and some of it will be new.” And that gives holds big meaning to what being ‘innovative’ is. It’s about novelty. About uniqueness. And being ourselves is being unique. Cognition is a big part of finding solutions, especially – finding your unique solution. 

Be yourself, and let your creativity flow!

2. Build time for yourself and take breaks

You can’t expect to be creative when you’re always busy. Sometimes the best way to be more creative is to take a break. You need time to relax and explore innovative ideas. 

Research shows that our brain is built to detect and respond to change. And if we give prolonged attention to a single task without a pattern break, it ends up reducing our performance instead. The research shows that brain actually “gradually stops registering sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains constant over time”, which means that we start to lose our focus and our performance begins to decline.

Make sure you schedule in some “me time” every day- even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Step away from your work, and allow your mind to relax. Go for a walk or take a nap. To be creative, solitude is important.

3. Take risks and be open to new ideas

Trying new things is a key part of being creative, and innovation is all about taking risks. If you’re not open to new ideas in the first place, you won’t be able to produce any new ideas yourself. But specifically, it’s important to take intellectual risks. It’s what Pablo Picasso described when he said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” 

A study from an international team of researchers published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts shows that risk-taking is an important part of creativity. Specifically, the research points to exactly that – the intellectual risk – and it says to “help predict who will engage in more creative activities and have more significant and recognized creative achievement.”

So, go and explore – be open to new experiences and new perspectives. Challenge your intellect. Try new things, even if they may not work out. Aalways playing it safe doesn’t help you think of new ideas. Take some risks and see where they lead you!

4. Allow yourself to be wrong

Part of taking risks is making mistakes. And if you’re not allowing yourself to make mistakes, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to be creative. Be okay with making mistakes and learn from them! It is how we grow and become better. And remember, there is no such thing as a “perfect” idea. The best ideas come from trial and error.

Author Paul Arden says, “work to be wrong and you’re likely to uncover everything those who are too afraid of exploration are missing”. In his book, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, Arden writes:

“Being right is being boring. Your mind is closed. You are not open to new ideas. You are rooted in your own rightness, which is arrogant…So it’s wrong to be right.”

So the next time you find yourself pausing and trying to “play it safe”, remind yourself that being right is boring and dive-in anyway. New discoveries could benefit you.

5. Focus on the Positives

It’s hard to be positive and creative when all you can think about are the negatives. According to a research done by HBR, Negative emotions sabotage our brains’ ability to solve problems and ignore distractions, while positive emotions and thoughts actually improve the brain’s executive function. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill recommends a 3-to-1 “positivity ratio” (and also has a 2-min positivity test that you can take) to see ‘life changing benefits’.

If you find yourself focusing on the negative and feeling stuck or unproductive, try to switch your mindset and focus on the positives. Try to incorporate positive topics in your work, take a few breaths, add some humor, take a walk… just pause and let go. Because when you stay in the positive state if mind, you’ll be more likely to come up with positive and creative ideas.

6. Be persistent and be patient

Creativity is not a one-time thing. It’s a process that requires persistence and dedication. We’ve heard the phrase ‘ideas strike’ and there’s a lot of truth to it. The best things come when we’re prepared to wait. 

Don’t give up if your first idea doesn’t work out. Keep going and try something new! Persevere through your challenges and don’t give up until you reach your goal. And be patient. The power of ‘taking your time’ is quite underrated. Maybe it means putting an important piece of work away in a drawer for a day or two. Or a week or two. Maybe it is riding your rejections and waiting for the next door to open with grace. 

Patience comes in many forms. And creativity takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are great ideas. Give yourself time to explore different options and don’t rush the process.

7. Experiment and let go of perfection

Part of being creative is experimenting with different ideas and seeing what works. Everyone experiences a ‘perfection trap’ sometime in their career. The desire to have everything planned out and wanting our work to be the absolute best that it can be. However, perfectionism hinders experimentation. And living up to an unrealistic expectation of perfection is going to keep us from moving forward. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new- even if it doesn’t work out the way you planned. And part ways with perfection. Trying to be perfect will only hold you back from being creative. It’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how we learn and grow. So let go of perfection and allow yourself to be creative.

Elizabeth Gilbert says it best in Big Magic when she writes:

“We must understand the need for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it.”

8. Stimulate your mind

To be creative, you need to stimulate your mind. One way to do this is by learning something new. Challenging your mind with new ideas, concepts, and problems helps you think creatively and come up with innovative solutions. Another way to stimulate your mind is by taking a break from technology. Unplugging from screens can help you relax and give your brain a much-needed break. And lastly, spending time in nature has been shown to increase creativity. So get outside and enjoy the fresh air!

There are many ways to be more creative. By following these tips, you can start practicing more creativity in your daily life. And on this Creativity and Innovation Day, take some time to celebrate your own creativity!

p.s. Want to dive deeper into creativity? Get yourself a copy of Rethink Creativity: How to Innovate, Inspire, and Thrive at Work, by Monica H. Kang, Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox®. Get an additional copy for a friend/family/colleague, and bring more people into the world of creativity. More the merrier. 🙂 

Happy creating!

About the Author

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit