Finding the solution to a problem or need that is cost effective and good enough for the purpose requires creativity of the highest order. No person should be an island in creativity exercises as each one of us has different levels of creativity, as well as ideas. Starting on the creative problem-solving journey requires as many ideas as possible so that the solution arrived at is the best available solution.
There are techniques that will make the journey to the eureka stage and beyond much more efficient, effective and quick. Use any one of them or in combination for best results.
THE 5 BASIC STEPS TO CREATIVITY:
Knowledge ⇨ Thinking ⇨ Incubation ⇨ Eureka ! ⇨ Development
Knowledge of the world around you through your 5 senses of taste, smell, sound, feel and sight form the starting point for developing your creativity. You need ideas - the more knowledge you have, the more ideas you can have. Explore areas outside your work or hobby - the less restrictive you are with your knowledge, the better.
"Knowledge is being applied to knowledge itself. It is now fast becoming the one factor in production, sidelining both capital and labour."
- Peter Drucker
The first step to creativity: Acquire as much knowledge as you can.
Here's where you're using your mind to start thinking deeply and thoroughly about a problem that you would like to solve. Just set out your problem clearly. You are now looking for ideas that could be possible solutions, and you will want to think of all angles for those ideas. Some ideas will be unworkable (too expensive or not practical), some will be ridiculous, and some will seem unlikely to ever be a solution, but that is not your concern at this stage. You may be able to form connections between one idea and the next to come up with a possible third solution that is the answer to all your problems! If you have a team of like-minded people, you can leverage on their knowledge and come up with even more possible solutions. Thinking long and hard about the problem is the key to solving it - put 100% of your mind power into thinking!
"Sometimes searching for ideas is like being a mosquito in a nudist colony. You know what you want to do, but don't know where to begin."
- Michael Michalko
The second step to creativity: Think deep and long about the problem and its possible solutions.
Here's the stage where you have been thinking long and hard about the possible solutions to your problems but you're unable to come to any solution. Here's when you relax. Go for a walk. Try sleeping for a while. Do something totally unrelated to what you've been working on. You don't know it, but your subconscious mind will continue to work on the problem. This background work will sometimes produce ideas and solutions that you'll never think of when you're actively working on the problem!
The third step to creativity: Let your subconscious mind help you think about your problem and possible solutions.
The epitome of all your hard work and efforts. You've shifted through all the possible solutions, made connections with unrelated ideas, thought about it deep and long, incubated it for a while, and now you've got the solution! Saviour the moment. It doesn’t normally get any better than this!
"I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me."
- Charles Darwin
The fourth step to creativity: Discovering the solution!
If you've set out on your creativity journey with the intention of benefiting everybody who has a need for it as well as make a profit, then here's where you come to the hardest part of your solution - making it functional, useful, cost-effective and profitable. Developing your solution further so that it will be a "hit" with the public requires time, effort and money. You may need experts in manufacturing, financing, marketing and promotion. In short, you will want your solution to be known and available to everybody at a price that they can pay while feeling that they've got a good deal. If you can do this, you've achieved your goal. The profits will certainly follow. And it all started off with an idea in your head !
The fifth step to creativity and profits: Further developing and refining the solution