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Productivity / Problem solving

Problem solving skills: Ten ways to stimulate creativity

Business at its most simple level is about solving a customer's problem, which takes creativity. So we need to keep our creative mind alive to develop our problem solving skills.

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Creativity can simply be seeing a problem in a brand new light, finding a brand new opportunity, resolving an issue or finding an often unlooked for answer or idea.

We fail to appreciate that our busy work lives can often be blocking and hindering the flow of our creative juices that is the life blood for problem solving in any business.

I am sure we have all had those moments where we have been struck suddenly with an answer or idea that suddenly seems so obvious that only five minutes earlier was as elusive as the meaning of life.

Have you ever wondered why an answer to a question suddenly appears from no where many hours after you originally needed the answer? Or have you ever woken up in the middle of the night or in the morning and got the solution to something you couldn’t solve the previous day?

Keeping this pretty simple, the brain actually uses different parts for different types of thought processing.

The ‘now’ brain

One part of our brain does a fantastic job busily working away on all of our current  tasks, but this is not always the best with coming up with new ideas or problem solving.

"Have you ever wondered why an answer to a question suddenly appears from no where many hours after you originally needed the answer?"

Creative brain

Another part of the brain processes the more complicated or creative thoughts and this tends to process away without any conscious effort. So without realising it, our brain is actually working hard for us on all sorts of ideas. All we need to do is take the time to listen.

The real key to creative thinking is to find ways to turn down the busy ‘now’ processing part of the brain, which tends to shout over and block the creative part of the brain. This explains why so many of our problem solving ideas come at rather random moments.

Want more articles like this? Check out the problem solving section.

Following below are some quick tips that I use to listen to my creative brain.

1. Take a shower

Don’t rush, but let the hot water wash away any limitations to thinking freely. This is where I get all my best ideas.

2. Go for a long run or walk

Go at a steady pace and let your mind do the rest.

3. Get a massage

Close your eyes and let your imagination float while your “quiet” massage therapist works away.

4. Yoga

This really stretches and relaxes the body but is really good for unwinding the mind.

5. Talk, talk, talk

Talking things through can be a great way to untangle the knots inside your head. Find a great listener.

6. Listen

Take time out and just listen to other people. This can be at work, in the street or anywhere. Ideas are often found floating on the wind.

7. Stop!

Just stop what you are doing, leave it and go do something completely different for a while.

8. Meditate

Great for turning off the world and opening yourself to new possibilities.

9. Go for a long swim

The repetitive nature is really great for freeing the mind.

10. Go home and sleep on it

A new day with new energy and new ideas.

There are plenty more, of course. Feel free to share your creative approaches for problem solving and finding fresh new ideas.

Justin Zachan

runs Jazz Design, a digital consultancy that specialises in providing creative thinking to develop innovative online and digital strategies and solutions. Justin also has a strong interest in health and lifestyle.

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