Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.

Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. It is important to start with a clear definition of what we mean by creativity, as there are two completely different types. The first is technical creativity, where people create new theories, technologies or ideas. This is the type of creativity we discuss here. The second is artistic creativity, which is more born of skill, technique and self-expression. Artistic creativity is beyond the scope of these articles.

Anyone can learn to be technically creative, and use these tools. They are designed to help you devise creative and imaginative solutions to problems, and help you to spot opportunities that you might otherwise miss.

There are two main strands to technical creativity: programmed thinking and lateral thinking. Programmed thinking relies on logical or structured ways of creating a new product or service. Examples of this approach are Morphological Analysis Add to My

Personal Learning Plan and the Reframing Matrix Add to My Personal Learning Plan.

The other main strand uses 'Lateral Thinking'. Examples of this are Brainstorming Add to My Personal Learning Plan, Random Input Add to My Personal Learning Plan and Provocation.

Lateral thinking recognizes that our brains are pattern recognition systems, and that they do not function like computers. It takes years of training before we learn to do simple arithmetic – something that computers do very easily. On the other hand, we can instantly recognize patterns such as faces, language, and handwriting. The only computers that begin to be able to do these things do it by modeling the way that human brain cells work. Even then, computers will need to become more powerful before they approach our ability to handle patterns.

The benefit of good pattern recognition is that we can recognize objects and situations very quickly. Imagine how much time would be wasted if you had to do a full analysis every time you came across a cylindrical canister of effervescent fluid. Most people would just open their can of fizzy drink. Without pattern recognition we would starve or be eaten. We could not cross the road safely.

Lateral thinking techniques help us to come up with startling, brilliant and original solutions to problems and opportunities. It is important to point out that each type of approach has its strength. Logical, disciplined thinki The Creative Frame of Mindng is enormously effective in making products and services better. It can, however, only go so far before all practical improvements have been carried out. Lateral thinking can generate completely new concepts and ideas, and brilliant improvements to existing systems. In the wrong place, however, it can be sterile or unnecessarily disruptive. Unfortunately, we get stuck in our patterns. We tend to think within them. Solutions we develop are based on previous solutions to similar problems. Normally it does not occur to us to use solutions belonging to other patterns. We use lateral thinking techniques to break out of this patterned way of thinking.

Often the only difference between creative and uncreative people is self-perception. Creative people see themselves as creative and give themselves the freedom to create. Uncreative people do not think about creativity and do not give themselves the opportunity to create anything new.

Being creative may just be a matter of setting aside the time needed to take a step back and allow yourself to ask yourself if there is a better way of doing something. Great Creative people say this as a 'Creative Pause'. They suggests that this should be a short break of maybe only 30 seconds, but that this should be a habitual part of thinking. This needs self-discipline, as it is easy to forget. Another important attitude-shift is to view problems as opportunities for improvement. While this is something of a cliché, it is true. Whenever you solve a problem, you have a better product or service to offer afterwards.

Innovation is the lifeblood for anyone to be successful today. For many companies, however, the pursuit of innovative ideas is missing a key element (something typically not associated with business professionals): creativity.

Nurturing your creative self is the only way to truly unlock your strategic mind and bring your business skills to bear in new, meaningful ways that can benefit your entire organization. Here are 10 tips to help you unlock your creativity at work:

1. Get visual. Regardless of your role, industry or responsibilities, visualizing data and ideas is an incredibly powerful tool to get your team thinking. Get off the phone, go in a room together (a virtual room will work, too) and use a whiteboard until your hand hurts.

2. Throw out the rule book. The next time you get your team together to brainstorm, create and enforce a “no holds barred” idea session. Nothing is off the table; nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Avoid words and phrases like “but,” “how would we” and “we can’t.” If necessary, designate someone to police those phrases and keep everyone honest.

3. Work backward. Figure the goal or ideal scenario 10 to 15 years down the road. Start there and work your way backward. Don’t worry about the “how.” Focus on the “what.” Your road map will literally unfold itself.

>4. Make a game of it. At the start of your next meeting try a game to get the creative juices flowing. Have everyone write a random idea down, crumple it up and toss it onto the center of the table. Pick one idea at random and build it out. Or switch roles. Ask those assembled, “If you were me, how would you tackle this problem?”

5. Write down absolutely everything. No thought is too small, and no idea is too “out there.” Anything can potentially have value to your business. You never know what word or phrase is going to spark the next word or phrase, which could then lead to your next big idea. Get it all down on paper. Find somewhere prominent to keep ideas displayed, such as an idea board or whiteboard.

6. Take mental breaks. A lot of business leaders view social media and other distraction sites as time-wasters, instead of recognizing them for what they really are: mental breaks. It’s practically impossible to nurture creativity in a tired, burned-out brain. Encouraging mental breaks is the key to developing employees’ creative side and boosting morale

7. Take a trip to happy hour. We tend to spend our workdays chained to our coffee mugs. But did you know that a little bit of alcohol/Wine can help with brainstorming too? A single beer/Wine can relax your brain, making you less focused on the negatives, and less likely to squash your good ideas. The next time you need a good brainstorm, find the nearest happy hour and get to wor


8. Get physical. Engaging in a physical activity can help unlock your creative mind, particularly if your job is primarily sedentary. Go outside for a run, walk, bike ride or whatever activity suits you. (I’m a motocross guy, myself.) This will relax your mind, and afterward you can attack a problem or idea with a fresh brain. Inspiration might even strike mid-stride.

9. Play to your strengths. It’s a common misconception that creativity exists only in people with specifically “creative” roles and skills and that the more analytical among us are too dull and logical. In fact, any skill can be used creatively. Are you an Excel wizard? Throw your ideas into a spreadsheet to categorize and dissect them and watch the brainstorm develop.

10. Get the words out. The hardest part of any brainstorming session, alone or in a group, is getting the ball rolling. The easiest solution? Just talk. Or write. Start getting words out or down on paper, even if they’re borderline nonsensical at first. It’s all about getting over that initial hurdle, so the ideas can start flowing.