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Why you need to prioritize ‘innovation’ at work: 10 exercises to boost your creativity

There’s a reason why the long-standing myth of ‘left-brain’ vs. ‘right-brain’ is deeply rooted in popular culture. The belief that one’s way of thinking is dominated by either the left side of the brain (which is responsible for analytical reasoning and thought) or the right (which is responsible for creative and holistic thought) is a nice metaphor that captures two very different yet both essential mindsets in order for us to properly function in our everyday lives. So, where does innovation fit in?

In today’s society, there is pressure to choose one side of the brain over the other as students are in a rush to decide majors and career paths. What many people don’t realize is that both “sides” work together and the “right” and “left” should not be considered as separate entities.

 

Innovative ideas are not only a function of the mind but a function of behavior

“Igniting an Artistic Mindset for Innovative Leaders” was an event held this week hosted by one of the top global business schools, IE Business School, at co-working space Impact HUB Tokyo. Attendees learn from IE Professor and entrepreneur Nir Hindi as well as Masa Hasegawa, business advisor of strategic design about why business leaders need to unleash creativity in their employees to generate more innovative business ideas.

 

Anyone can be innovative

Hindi and Hasegawa come from non-humanities disciplines, both proving the point to us that anyone has the ability to unleash their creative talent. In fact, Hasegawa started his career in the finance industry. He first saw the connection between USD net value and oil prices and then saw the connection between economy and the design of products, which then lead him to brand marketing for businesses.

 

Creativity and innovation are competitive advantages

Hindi, Founder of The Artian, shares a different story. He himself was rooted in the world of technology and business but always had a powerful affinity with art. Hindi says the most innovative companies such as Google, Airbnb and Apple have a tremendous ‘devotion to beauty’. The leaders of these companies know that creativity is a competitive advantage. Their respective design philosophies have revolutionized the way we perceive tech products today.

 

Ten exercises to boost your innovation skills

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk wassily kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky, the painter of sound & vision (image: Reuters)

1. Try to ‘see’ the music you listen to

Enhance your creative abilities by imagining how a certain song would look like in real life.

 

2. Daydream

Imagination allows you to shape what you really want in life. What you can imagine determines what you can do.

 

3. Get out of your comfort zone

In order to learn something, you need to take risks and try new things.

 

4. Connect dots that are seemingly irrelevant

Always thinking in a logical sequence can sometimes limit possibilities. Hasegawa asks, “Why is Tel Aviv continuously generating ideas and startups? What’s their secret?”

 
The secret is they focus on possibilities.

 

5. Practice intuitive thinking

The intuitive mind “helps us create expectations, connect the dots, flag inconsistencies and warn us of potential problems”.

 

6. Focus on asking different questions, not answering them

Simply answering questions doesn’t open any new doors or allow any alternative solutions to a problem.

 

7. Creative “doing”

In addition to creative ‘thinking’, immerse yourself in creative hobbies.

 

8. Challenge the status-quo

Be original in your work. Don’t copy what’s been done before and try something new.

 

9. Observe what’s happening around you

Observing is a skill. The right decisions can’t be made unless you’ve observed what’s around you.

 

10. Harmonize your role

Make it a habit to implement creativity and innovation in your role at work

 

 

Making an innovative impact

“Managers can’t expect original ideas from employees if they aren’t trained to use innovative tools. Employees need the artistic mindset to use those tools. Remember, people are the ones driving innovation, not tools”, Hindi concludes.

 

What can you do today at work to boost your creativity?