Getting Creative On A Shoestring Budget

When thinking about using Creativity in business many people think about expensive workshops or employees spending time doing abstract things or gazing into the distance. There are useful things that you can do to enhance your Creativity and that of your colleagues whilst spending very little.

When you are playing around with ideas it always pays to have somewhere to scribble something down. In fact, if you can write your ideas and problems down in a place that is visible to others you can easily get others to contribute, add or even provide solutions to your problems.

One of the keys is location (see my next point) and the other is cost. Get a cheap whiteboard or better still do what I did and use any white gloss painted surface e.g. a door. Use it for ideas, problems, solutions. For a while I used the back of a door in my spare bedroom at home. I have worked with businesses who have painted whole walls, and in some cases, the ceilings.

Identify a social space where people can chat and exchange ideas. Think watercooler (or coffee machine) plus! Have some notepads and pens handy or even your cheap whiteboard. People, or more specifically, the ideas that they have, need room to combine, modify and explore. It is possible that individuals can work on their own but good (or even great) ideas come from working with others.

If we think or act in the same way every day then it is very likely that our outputs will remain unaltered also. This is not good, even if you do think your role is mundane or repetitive. How on earth will you spot opportunities or formulate improvements if you mind is stuck on a treadmill? Try doing something different each day e.g. a different route to work, a different sandwich, a different newspaper. You never know what you might discover, even if it is a better source of sandwiches!

When out of the office capture interesting things on your smartphone to act as springboards for ideas for new products or services. These need not necessarily be things that you would like to see copied, they could act as a catalyst for another idea. If you were an author and came across some beautiful gardens then your senses may suggest a scratch and sniff book, using pop-ups or perhaps a new method of illustration.

And lastly, when faced with a tough problem, focus on it really hard for a while then distract yourself with music, a change of scenery or even lunch. You are preparing for one of those Eureka moments! It will happen, just don’t try too hard.

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Derek Cheshire