Better ideas come with the art of paying attention.

During an Innovation postgraduate course this year, our group spent valuable time talking about creativity. Can we learn to be creative? What unleashes creativity or what are enemies of creativity?

I have learned that the answer to these questions are: Yes, you can learn to be creative. Observation, paying attention and being interested helps to unleash creativity. Fears, rules and rigidness are some of the enemies of creativity.

I recently read a very interesting article written by Bill Taylor from HBR. I would like to share some very significant points.

We live in a world where we are looking for insights that allow us to amaze our customers, re-imagine products and differentiate ourselves or our business from the crowd.

But it is hard to see things if you don’t know how to pay attention or how to cut through the endless distractions of daily routine or business tasks. When you really listen and observe you begin to understand what is happening in the world that truly matters to you and your organisation.

Bill Taylor describes in his article four unconventional ways to get better at the art of noticing:

  1. Organise a business field trip:

People from different fields can notice things that internal personnel or management miss. “Searching for inspiring acts of great service or head-scratching episodes of bureaucracy and indifference.” Bill Taylor

2. Swap jobs with a counterpart from different company:

” Sometimes the most creative ideas in your field are ideas that are already working elsewhere. The challenge, of course, is to notice them.” Bill Taylor

3. If you can,t swap jobs, change hats.

” The sheer act of being free to think like somebody else gives you permission to generate ideas that you might not get to otherwise.” Bill Taylor

4. To change what you see, change how and to whom you listen. ” Reverse mentoring”

” By spending time with colleagues several decades their junior, senior leaders get a very different perspective on technology, culture and work – and hear and see things they never would have noticed on their own.” Bill Taylor

Present ideas, spot connections, get real world inspiration, be interested and practice paying attention, you will be surprised on how creative you can be.

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