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Get Creative, Be Innovative

Excerpt from Leadership Moments:  This is an inspired newsletter, written by a fantastic team  of military Veterans.

In today’s business environment, creativity is more important than ever because businesses must be able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape that requires innovation and flexibility. The lifecycle of many products and services is much shorter than it used to be. Remember Blockbuster Video? Many of us have fond memories of renting movies there but their lack of creativity and innovation caused them to be left in the dust by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Without creative leaders, businesses are destined for mediocrity at best and extinction at worst. Just like you would practice your golf swing to become a better golfer, science has shown us the importance of exercising our brain to become more creative. A study on identical twins by George Land in 1968 found that as we get older, we learn noncreative behavior that decreases our creativity. To combat that, we need to actively exercise our creative brain. Here are some things you can do to help spur your creative side:

Get away from your desk. Go for a walk, ride a bike. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that we think more creatively when we are distracted, such as when exercising. This is due to increased dopamine levels in our brain and the distraction factor allow us to stop ruminating on ineffective solutions. How about a walking meeting?

Break your routine. Do you stop at the same coffee shop every morning or sit in the same seat on the metro every day? Changing your routine can help provide you with different perspectives and expose you to different people.

Collaborate with others. Not only does this help bring more ideas to the table, but it also allows you the opportunity to inspire creative thoughts in others.

Make some noise. In this article titled “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition,” researchers discovered that mild levels of ambient noise led to more creativity in individuals by activating our abstract cognition.

Play with toys. Believe it or not, many creative design companies encourage their employees to have toys at their desks. I found the value in this first-hand through experiencing the impact playing with playdough had on my creative process during a recent executive education course.


by Patrick Nelson, a great team member and contributor to the Lead Star Group.  Read more articles by Patrick >

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