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How to Boost Your Creativity at Work

Innovation in your work is probably the biggest key to your longevity and advancement.

Fresh, creative solutions to various problems that you have to deal with, or your business is facing, will help the company increase its bottom line and drive revenue.

The problem is, how do you “turn on” your creativity?

There are five general steps, as outlined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Creativity,” that you can follow to boost your innovation at work. They are:

  • Preparation.
  • Incubation.
  • Insight.
  • Evaluation.
  • Elaboration.

Here’s a closer look at how to implement these steps into your workday:

  • The preparation phase involves finding a problem, or problems. If you can identify an opportunity around you that requires a solution, you’ll need to change your attitude though. If you approach problems negatively (thinking “This situation will never change” for example). A positive attitude will help you embrace the change and then identify business processes that can improve it.
  • In the incubation phase, you will take the information and then gather and reflect on it. List all of the solutions that have previously been attempted (both in your business and in the industry at large) and then develop new potential solutions that haven’t been tried.

This is where innovation will come in. No idea is off limits in terms of brainstorming solutions. In the next phases, you’ll build on these solutions.

  • Next, you’ll explore problems and solutions in a deeper mode (gaining insight). You don’t just want to choose what seems to be the best solution; you want the solution that addresses the cause of the problem. This is perhaps the most important step. A thorough understanding of the problem will provide insights into the best solution.
  • Now, you’re going to evaluate the ideas. With an understanding of the issue’s cause, you can take the solutions you’ve already generated and evaluate them. As part of the creative process, select criteria for evaluation solutions. What factors will you use to deem an idea successful? What factors will lead to tossing an idea out? Once you identify the best solution, think through the process: What could go wrong? What consequences could arise? What financial repercussions could there be?
  • The final step in the process involves moving from thinking to doing, essentially, elaborating on how to get the solution implemented. A good innovator won’t stop at coming up with an idea. You’ll need to move toward making these ideas come to life. In this step, come up with a plan to manage the change or solution.

Don’t wait for creativity to hit you. Make it happen by following this five-step process. Your newfound innovation will impress colleagues and higher ups and put you on the fast-track to success.