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Article Contributed by Haley Kieser

Innovation and creativity are the heart-and-soul of successful entrepreneurship. In today’s hyper-information marketplace, success and overcoming competitors is often about developing creative, thoughtful or out-of-the-box solutions to a problem. For example, ride share services like Lyft and Uber go against everything we were taught as children, but they’re among the most creative and groundbreaking solutions to an ancient dilemma: how to get from point A to point B.

It’s easy to find what the “best practices” are for any given industry. But what do you do when those methods and ideas fall short of your goal? You can plummet to the ground and watch your business or idea fail. Or, you can foster creativity and try something new. Even if that new idea fails, you still tried to explore what possible solutions arise and that might lead to a new insight.

But what if you’re simply not a creative person and your mind is hard and robotic? How can you foster these industry-leading ideas and make yourself, your company or project flourish? Fostering creativity is all about finding the necessary change to be made in your current processes.

Here are five ways entrepreneurs can boost their creative juices and discover new solutions.

  1. Surround Yourself with Diversity

Creative thoughts are often molded by looking at a problem with a different mindset. The best way to create a new mindset is literally with a new mind. After all, as the idiom goes, two heads are better than one. Lone creative geniuses are largely a myth and truly great ideas often come from teams. To be creative, surround yourself with people who share your values and motivations but have differing skills, talents and backgrounds. This might mean exploring online forums, visiting local Meetup groups, or even working in a shared office space.

  1. Use Time Wisely

Deadlines are both ripe with benefits and fraught with drawbacks. Setting a deadline itself makes you block out extraneous distractions and focus solely on the task at hand. But, you’re more closed off to ideas and solutions that you might find helpful. The rule of thumb is to avoid shirking deadlines in the name of creativity.

After all, completing a task is often a better outcome than trying to achieve perfection and never hitting the goal. So, reduce your stress levels and give yourself more time to think about problems, research the facts and come up with creative solutions. Keep your deadline and give yourself a healthy margin to meet it.

  1. Embrace Failure

Truly great moments of inspiration and creativity don’t happen with an “aha” moment, but a “that’s funny” reaction to an unforeseen problem. Failure, in appropriate doses, is a good thing. It allows you to analyze what you’re trying and discover how and why that attempt failed. Creativity is grown in an environment where failure is encouraged. Reward yourself when you fail at a task or a new idea.

If you’re uncomfortable with failing, don’t worry, you can teach yourself to both embrace it, while having fun. Consider looking for local deals to try new tasks or activities you’ve never done before. For example, take a pottery class or learn how to swing dance. You likely won’t be good at them right off the bat, but by doing something fun and interactive you can teach yourself to fail in a stress-free environment.

  1. Travel to New Places

Seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and trying new activities are among the best opportunities to get your creative juices flowing. Travel broadens your breadth of knowledge and empowers you to solve problems in new and unfamiliar situations.

If you have the money and the desire, consider taking a sabbatical year to backpack around Europe or Southeast Asia to show yourself new ways of approaching life and its problems. Simply by experiencing these different mindsets, it allows you to find new ways to tackle your own issues.

If budget or time is an issue, traveling to a neighboring state or city you’ve never been to before can also open new waves of creativity.

  1. Leave Your Comfort Zone

Creativity, by its very nature, forces us to consider new opportunities and leave our comfort zone. If what was comfortable and natural to us worked, we wouldn’t need a creative solution. But the more comfortable you become with discomfort, the easier it is to enter those moments of clarity where trying something new presents a new solution.

These leaps and bounds away from your comfort levels don’t have to be very big. The new event simply must be different enough to make your mind consider new possibilities and jog a tangential link between what you’re doing and the problem at hand.


 
 
 

 
 

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