Creativity is not just an ability to draw a picture or compose music. In the business world creativity is being used in problem solving, product design, process development, branding, marketing, etc. Companies have to produce new tactics and solutions faster than ever, and therefore creative thinking has become a valuable talent. Keep reading and I’ll give you examples on how to increase your own creativity to become a more valued worker!
Why does creativity feel hard?
In extreme cases, you may have never had an example to follow, so you don’t know how to be creative or innovative. The reason may also be fear of judgement or failure. There was an article in Forbes (Why successful people seem to always have unique ideas (But Maybe You Don’t)) stating that people have more unique ideas than they give themselves credit for. Sadly, people don’t speak up, and therefore their ideas are left unexecuted.
Like any skill, creativity needs practice. If you have never tried to design a logo for a company, you’ll probably first find it hard to design a memorable and strong logo. If you have never given a sales pitch, you’ll probably find it hard to engage the audience.
But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it!
In my own experience, creativity needs both discipline and boredom in right balance. Of course, the balance can be different for different people and at different times. However, the idea is that sometimes you need to start working on something even if you don’t “feel like it”. Often, the work flow will emerge by itself as you continue concentrating on something. Having said that, I also believe that it’s good for you to keep breaks and “forget” the task. Your brain won’t really forget it and many times you notice you come up with new ideas and perspectives in the oddest places when your mind has started to wonder.
In addition, in my opinion, creativity increases significantly, when we learn new skills, meet new people, travel, have hobbies, etc. All of these things make you think and see situations from different angles, which helps you to think more creatively. Even harder life events, such as sickness and divorce, offer us new perspectives. I don’t think there is a limit on how creative a person could become, so let’s dive into the examples of different online sources we have for increasing our creativity!
Mindfulness and improvisation exercises for increased creativity
In one of my posts (How to start exploring mindfulness -and why?), I talked about mindfulness. There I mentioned that business schools have incorporated mindfulness in their study programs. One of these schools is Miami University’s Farmer School of Business in Oxford, Ohio. The difference, however, is that at Farmer School of Business mindfulness is more than “just” better concentration. An article on BizEd (On Course for Creativity) describes, how Dr. Puligadda uses different improvisation and mindfulness exercises in business school classroom. I highly recommend reading the article in order to better understand the variety of exercises that can be used. Not every exercise suit every situation, but the article gets you inspired to search the best ones for your needs. There has also been an article in Harvard Business Review (Can 10 Minutes of Meditation Make You More Creative?) already a few years ago describing how a short meditation can result in a wider range of ideas during a brainstorming session. Of course, not all ideas generated are always useful as is. However, the goal is to be able to come up with unique ideas and solutions, and therefore even unusable options are a part of the creative process.
Where to find online creativity courses?
I think I have to start by mentioning Skillshare. On Skillshare you can find online classes on multiple topics such as graphic design, web development, marketing, creative writing, etc. You can watch some of the videos for free or you can go premium (a paid membership) and have access to more classes ad-free -thousands of them. If you aren’t familiar with Skillshare, I recommend browsing their options! It’s a great place to expand your creativity!
If you are looking for a more traditional course, there is an interesting one on edX called Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success. It’s an introductory-level course where you will learn about creative thinking techniques and how to systematically use them. The course starts with the very basics and moves then to the different techniques and their application. I myself learned a ton of tips on this course and I think this is a great course for anyone seeking more info on creativity!
In case you are searching even more information on organizational creativity, you might be interested in Making creativity and innovation happen on OpenLearn. While the courses/classes mentioned above mostly concentrate on individual creativity, this course addresses both the individual and organizational creativity. I did not take this course online and therefore I cannot review it here. Instead, there is a possibility to download the material for use offline, so I downloaded the material in pdf and read it in my own pace. Having said that, I found the material interesting and comprehensive -yet in a compact form! Highly recommend at least reading it!
These are by no means all of your options for online creativity courses. Just keep fun exploring the options! I’m pretty sure you’ll find new interesting tools and approaches, but always remember that no creativity course is going to make you creative, if you don’t practice! Put your mind to it and you’ll be surprised by the results!
Disclaimer: I am writing from my own experience as an online learner and from my own point of view. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and therefore subjective. The courses and programs mentioned in this post were available at the time this was written, but I cannot guarantee they will be available in the future.