When it comes to creativity, sometimes it feels like you either have it, or you don’t. There are the Elon Musks and the Steve Jobs’ of the world who have a gift for sparking up innovation…and then there are the rest of us who, although trying, end up believing that, “I’m just not a creative person.”
But this brings us to an interesting question, smart hustlers. Is creativity an innate ability or a learned skill? Perhaps our understanding of this initial premise is wrong. Perhaps we can train ourselves to be creative, but we have given up without a fair chance.
That is the perspective of my latest podcast guest, Ford Saeks, who believes that everyone can be creative and there are ways to build your skills. Ford is the CEO of Prime Concepts Group, as well as a speaker and consultant. He knows a lot about creativity because he’s been practicing it since he started his first business at the age of 15.
In our interview, Ford shared some practical tips for how all of us can spark creativity in our businesses and lives. I’ll share some highlights below, but as always, if you want the full story and greater insight, you’ll have to listen to the full interview below.
7 Ways to Spark Creativity in Your Business and Life
Small business owners can use creativity to work through problems with products, marketing, sales, operations, and more. But first you have to develop your creativity...and to do that, Ford offers the following techniques.
1. Work on Your Mindset
Our mindset typically holds us back from creativity. As we mentioned earlier, many people simply think they are ‘not creative, ’ and this self-defeating thought becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You have to BELIEVE it is possible! Believe that there is a better way to do things. Be curious about the world and have a different perspective. If you can’t change your mindset, nothing you learn in seminars, podcasts, or training can help you.
2. Change Your Environment and Behavior
If you want to jump-start the process of changing mindset, try changing your environment or behavior. Wear your watch on the opposite hand. Eat a meal with your non-dominant hand. Listen to a different type of music. Read a different kind of book. Drive an alternative route to work. Most of our behavior is conditioned as we set ourselves on ‘autopilot.’ If you want to change your mindset, start doing things differently, no matter how small.
3. Discover the Art of Questioning
Creativity requires critical thinking; to improve it, you have to start asking better questions. Don’t take the world or your business for granted. Start questioning how things work and why things happen as they do.
4. Start an Idea Journal
The next thing you can do is start capturing your creative ideas so you can revisit them later. Sparks of creativity can happen at any moment, so be prepared. There are many ways to capture your ideas, including writing them down in a journal or notepad, audio recording with your phone, calling your own voicemail, or using an app.
5. Practice Brainstorming
So now you have ideas, but it should never stop there. Pick an idea and take some time to think about it at a deeper level. Let your mind take you in all the various directions to gain new insight and discover new possibilities.
6. Try Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a more focused form of brainstorming where you begin with one main idea, then rip it apart by asking every question you can think to understand it at a deeper level.
In the interview, Ford gives the idea of starting a radio show. To mind map it, we would start by asking ourselves what cities? Who are the competitors? What industries are we speaking to? What influencers should we target? Where do those influencers congregate? And on and on until the idea is fully mapped out in all possible directions.
7. Try SCAMPER
The final creativity technique that Ford shared is a problem-solving tool called SCAMPER.
- SUBSTITUTE: What could I substitute here?
- COMBINE: How could I combine this with other things?
- ADAPT: How could I adapt this into something else?
- MODIFY: What can I change?
- PUT TO ANOTHER USE: Could this be used in a different way or for a different purpose?
- ELIMINATE: What can I get rid of?
- REVERSE: What would happen if I reversed things?
You can use SCAMPER to help solve any problem that happens in your business, including hiring, marketing, management and more.
This list gives you plenty of ways to develop your creativity and become a better problem solver in your business. Gain even more insight by listening to the full interview above, then get started with these creativity techniques today!