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How do you come up with creative ideas?

By Ben Kubicek,

Most of us are in the business of coming up with or developing solutions to problems. Some of these problems are things we have run into before. In those situations, the solution is perhaps well known or has solved the problem before. Still, many problems we face are new or are different enough that we cannot just use a solution we have used previously because it just doesn’t quite work. In these cases, it takes a creative mind to come up with new ideas that will become the solution to the problem.

So how do you go about coming up with creative ideas? There are a couple of ways I have seen it done in the past. A great place to start is, getting together with co-workers and doing a brain storming session. There are a couple of benefits here. One, you are working with other people’s creativity, not just your own. Two, you can bounce your crazy ideas off some other people and see if any of them stick. It seems that often, when working together as a group, you can come up with some creative ideas that end up being good solutions.

Another way you can come up with creative ideas is to give yourself freedom to think outside the box. It is difficult to describe, but so often we stifle our own ideas and creative thinking. We dismiss them as too farfetched. Or we only have a narrow perspective on how a problem can be solved. When we try to let go of the limitations we put on our thinking, we are freed up to have some creative thoughts. Now, don’t get me wrong, a lot of these thoughts or ideas will be pure rubbish. That is okay, because even ideas that will never work in a million years, might lead to another thought or idea that will work. When you don’t allow yourself the freedom to dream up a creative idea, you miss the opportunity to walk down a new path that may lead you to your final solution.

Finally, it takes time. Nothing seems to hinder the creative process more than time constraints. Most of us have deadlines, projects that need to be done yesterday. The issue is, if you are only allowing yourself five minutes or a few hours to decide on a solution, you probably won’t be coming up with something all that creative. Give it a day, or two. You might be surprised as your subconscious mind continues to think about it and all of a sudden you come up with a great idea.

In my experience, if you brainstorm with others, give yourself the freedom to think some new unshackled thoughts and give yourself enough time to mull it over, you can come up with some creative solutions. You never know with enough time, what path your creative thinking will lead you down. Hopefully, to a new solution to your problem.

Let us know how you go about coming up with creative solutions to your problems?

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