Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking: A Life Skill

Knowing Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking Meaning

Creative thinking is a way of looking at situations, problems, or any condition from a new perspective. It suggests unusual, unique, and unorthodox solutions. The solutions might look unsettling in the beginning. However, they prove to be one of the most fruitful in the end. 

This shows the importance of creative thinking. Moreover, it can be stimulated by:

  • A structured process such as lateral thinking
  • An unstructured process such as brainstorming

What is creative thinking?

Have you always wondered why your friend got more marks in projects? Why did your teacher give you a crossword puzzle for the assessment? How can that blogger write such creative content? How can your mother decorate the house so beautifully on Diwali? What makes your painting different from the ones displayed in galleries?  How can some people come up with great ideas while others can’t?

There is one common thing in all the questions. The similarity is that the answer to all of them is the same. Creative thinking is what makes all of this possible!

Creative thinking allows thinking out of the box and picking the most different ideas. This ability means to look at the current scenario and find new alternatives. The uncommon and unconventional ideas can help us in solving a problem.

However, it is important to note that creative thinking can be useful beyond creative professions. Musicians, dancers, writers, designers require creativity. But a lot of other people and even professions can benefit from it. 


Creative Thinking With Examples

Creativity Education Field

An idea that can spark change can further bring improvements and revolutions in every field. For example, teachers today give many projects or work to students that need them to brainstorm. It includes oral presentations, maintaining journals, a certain project, etc. 

Such creative assessment strategies can be very helpful. Students are forced to think beyond the textbooks. As a result, a pool of unique ideas will be generated. This simple change in a method of evaluation can have a list of benefits.

Teachers can test several skills like application, self-awareness, problem-solving, etc. Additionally, it gives an idea of student value and attitudes. Educators can receive important feedback about their current teaching methods. This can help them alter their lesson plan. 

While students will be able to learn according to their needs. Moreover, this can benefit the entire learning process.

Creative thinking is the ability to create something new for what is presented.

This means providing fresh perspectives and new angles to a situation. As a result, we can obtain a solution that was absent earlier, or its need wasn’t even realized.

The assessment strategy example can explain the same. Earlier, teachers did not adopt such creative methods. A few years ago, the education system did not recognize this need for new techniques. Traditional ways of assessment included the typical tests, summative assessments. This made it very difficult for a teacher to completely understand a student and his progress. Moreover, it just tested their memory. 

A new curriculum was adopted. It was a result of the ever-changing world that demands different skills from its human resource. Eventually, the need for more creative methods of evaluation emerged. Today teachers and the education systems have become creative. This will have numerous benefits for the youth in making. 

Creative Thinking

Creativity in Leadership

Being a leader is a difficult job. Additionally, a leader sets an example for all his teammates. This makes the job all the more difficult.

However, one can creatively use this responsibility. A leader can get the best results from the team by conducting open meetings. Along with this, a personal touch can be added. The meeting can be business-related but it can start with some relaxing personal questions. 

An important message is delivered with this new step. This message is the fact that they care about the employee. As a result, it increases the employee’s sense of loyalty, value, and drive to work and succeed. Appreciation becomes easy and contagious. 

The team is bound to feel more positive. All members will be able to express themselves freely. Moreover, the team will be efficient and more likely to give better results. The creative approach which is unusual in this case can become very critical for an organization.

Creativity in Sales

Personal attention can play a significant role and drive better results. As shown in the leadership example, this can apply to sales too. Customers are more likely to be impressed if the salesperson remembers their birthday or any important personal data.

Different methods can be used to establish a personal connection. If a customer is a big cricket fan then the conversation can revolve around the same. One can ask them about the last game or the upcoming cricket season.

A more interesting and interactive conversation will lead to a greater positive impression. The same can be easily converted to sales. Moreover, a customer is more likely to interact with a creative salesman in the future than someone who cares only about his profit.

Creativity at Home

Creativity has no bounds. It should never be limited to professional purposes. Gaining profit and success are important but not the only thing that matters.

One should be creative at home too. This can include doing the simplest of stuff. One can find a pile of old stuff after cleaning. Craftwork can be a good way of using this old material.

Cooking generates a lot of waste. The waste can be segregated to different bins based on their biodegradability. Manure can be made for the garden from the biodegradable waste. Such creative waste management techniques can also reduce the expense of gardening.   

Creative steps at home can include developing a hobby and working on it. Starting a new business or solving the problem of shelter for your pet. Moreover, a creative element in every activity can lead to several benefits.

How does creative thinking work?

One can’t find a clear formula to be creative and produce creative results. The opportunity for creative thought varies in every field and situation. However, something creative is usually something unusual, unique, or out of the box. 

A few cases of creativity and how creative thinking works can be demonstrated through the given examples: 

creative thinking

This is an act of innovation. How? A creative problem-solver will think beyond the usually expected solutions. The approach will be creative as it will involve something new. In a professional space, it can mean finding ways to reduce costs, energy use; etc. Whereas in a personal environment, one can find better ways to interact and maintain relations.

An artistic approach is not limited to the work of an artist.

A shop can adopt the same. The manager of a showroom can work on display of retail to generate greater impact. A list of works that demand artistic creativity is writing advertisement copy, designing logos, creating the packaging of a retail item; etc.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

Usually, this is considered as a field that is just technical. It is also counted as the opposite of art and creative fields. However, a careful inspection of the field will prove this wrong.

Why do many scientific projects fail? Chances are people who use the same assumptions, tricks, and habits. Whereas successful projects have some new elements or thinking attached to it.

In simpler words, designing a car or a rocket, writing a new computer program and many others require a creative approach. Moreover, STEM fields can grow more if creativity is emphasized.


What are creative thinking skills?

Creative thinking skills are the techniques used to view and inspect issues from creative and different angles. 

Some methods can be effective in order to come up with new ideas. These can be tested in new environments and people can give input. The last step can make it more innovative. 


Characteristics of Creative Thinkers

  1. Efficient Communicators
    Communication and listening are two ways of expressing creativity and confidence. This makes creative thinkers efficient communicators.
    Collaboration forms a major part of creative thinking. Moreover, communication is important for working in a team.
  2. Open-Minded
    An open-minded person welcomes criticism, works on new and unique ideas. Additionally, such people are not afraid of evaluating ideas.
    Moreover, they are willing to learn from success and mistakes. They have a growth-oriented approach.
  3. Risk-Takers
    Risk-taking is the first step to exploring fresh ideas and strategies. It should be viewed as a willingness to face challenges and accept them as well.
    Creative thinkers have this quality of resilience. They are well aware of the fact that bravery is essential for exploring new ways of thinking. Along with this, they know that a brave and innovative approach can lead to success.
    Quitting your comfort zone is very difficult for humans. However, risk-takers cum creative thinkers are ready to face the unexplored!
  4. Great Source of Knowledge
    One needs a thorough understanding of concepts before investigating and working on it. This source of concept and related information is knowledge.
    We know creative thinkers connect dots or put all the pieces together. Hence, they can see the full picture. It is this knowledge about the field that allows them to do so.
    Moreover, they are experts in their sectors or fields. This is possible because ‘learning forever’ is their mantra! 
  5. Extremely Flexible
    The ability to think beyond the usual and adjust to changes is a key part of the creative thinking process. This makes flexibility a typical trait of creative thinkers.
    In simpler words, such people are not unwilling to change their method of work. In addition to this, they are good at collaborations.

Importance of Creative Thinking

Many people do not care about innovations or different perspectives. This is the point! Searching ‘shortcuts’ is very natural for humans.

The entire world is advancing at an extraordinary pace. This calls for us to enhance our abilities to adapt to the trends. Responding to the challenges with self-confidence and a new way of thinking can help us achieve our goals. 

The ability to be creative, unique, and innovation has become a typical feature of the successful population today. Additionally, it applies to both digital and non-digital spaces. Problem-solving and critical thinking have emerged as two important skills for a successful career. Along with this, creative thinking techniques have become a necessity too.

The requirement of these skills applies to a graphic designer, front- end developer, fashion designer, or everyone in every profession. This is because such skills are essential to develop real potential and overcome problems.

A teacher’s work affects the entire new generation. Hence, they would be benefited majorly from such skills in the non-digital world. Educators play a key role in transferring the skill to students. In addition to this, they can motivate students to be creative.

On the other hand, the same skill can prove great even in business. Managers, analysts, marketers, and industry professionals can introduce creative processes in the corporate sphere. A fresh approach can help them separate from their competitors in the market. 


Benefits of Creative Thinking

The Perfect Employee

Employers search for creative thinkers while recruiting. This is because such people can be an incredible asset. Usually, companies that promote and foster creativity tend to see good revenue growth. Hence, positioning as a creative thinker can turn favorable for a job candidate or even for promotion in an organization.

While applying for a position, think about how your creative thinking skills have been beneficial in the past. As a result, you will be able to think the same for the position you are seeking. 

Resumes and cover letters should include the keyword supporting the same. A candidate can elaborate on past experiences that might have added value to the past organization. It can include how you helped in cost-cutting, devised a new efficient filing system; etc.

One should also be prepared for the interview with some examples of creativity demonstrated in the past. However, this is most essential if creative thinking is a mentioned requirement. 

If you’re looking for creative opportunities as a means of personal fulfillment, you can find satisfaction in surprising places. Any job that allows you to put your own spin on your work will end up developing and enhancing your creativity.

creative thinking

Personal Satisfaction

Creative thinking can be put to use in any sphere of life. This can generate interesting and fruitful results. This progress will satisfy any person.

Solving  Problems Efficiently

Creative thinking will allow a new perspective altogether. Multiple problems can be easily solved. Moreover, an efficient way of problem-solving can be devised with creative thinking.

Gain Freedom

Creativity comes with permission to create. It implies an opportunity to interact with the world without judging ourselves. The person is transported to their childhood. In simpler words, they can be as creative and carefree, like a little child.

Increase in Self-Awareness

An authentic approach is developed while we use our own beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. As a result, certain biases can develop. However, this is again an opportunity to give up those biases and work on self.

Earn and Increase in Respect

A different perspective is often valuable. The success of such ideas can result in the progress of an individual and company. Hence, the respect of the creative thinker increases.

Emergence of an Innovator 

All this promotes the idea of being an innovator. Moreover, creative thinking as a thought process is appreciated by the self and the organization.

Create a Difference

 The impressive results derived from this new approach can make an immense difference to an individual or position of an individual. Additionally, the organization will also benefit from a creative employee.

More Confidence  in Your Ideas

In many spaces, people are not putting up their original ideas, or the ideas are not recognized. Adding creative thinking to the thought process can lead to confidence in those ideas. Moreover, it can result in increased participation of an individual in the group and the entire working process at large.

Increase in Self-Confidence

Creative thinking can result in increased freedom, self- awareness, and respect. This can lead to more satisfaction and success (or vice versa).

Overall Success 

All these factors and benefits clearly lead to the overall success and well-being of the creative thinker.


Critical and Creative Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability that allows one to think rationally and clearly. Additionally, one is able to understand the logical connection and link between ideas and concepts.

Greek philosophers like Plato and Socrates have debated about critical thinking. The discussion continues until today. In the modern setting, critical thinking can be employed for many important tasks. This includes recognizing heavily circulated fake news.

Along with this, critical thinking is seen as the ability to reflect and think independently. It forces one to utilize their reasoning ability. Moreover, it demands being an active learner and not a passive learner who just collects information.

Critical thinkers challenge assumptions and question frequently, instead of receiving things at face value. They always work to find out whether the arguments, findings, ideas manage to form the complete picture. 

The major difference between a critical thinker and others is the way they work. They recognize, analyze, and crack problems in a systematic manner. Whereas others work on an irrational instinct.

A person possessing critical thinking skills can do the following: 

  • Find the significance and relevance of ideas and arguments.
  • Realize the connections between ideas.
  • Understand, form, and evaluate statements and arguments.
  • Figure out the misconceptions and mistakes in reasoning.
  • Work on problems in a standardized and consistent way.
  • Evaluate their own arguments, values, and beliefs.

Benefits of Critical Thinking

  1. The World Economic Forum believes critical thinking is one of the most preferable skills to be present in a workforce. This is because it enables: 
  • Analysis of information
  • Thinking different
  • Solve problems 
  • Deriving innovative solutions
  • Plan in an organized manner
  1. Critical thinkers are most likely to make better decisions. This is because the skill enables people to handle daily dilemmas. The thought process assures us independence and prepares people to trust their gut 
  2. Being in touch with yourself is a great feeling. It means a deep awareness. This in turn keeps a person happy. 

Critical Thinking allows a deeper dive within the self. Along with this, one can break free from negative or self-limiting beliefs. 

critical thinking
  1. Critical thinkers are curious about all things. Additionally, they have a broad range of interests. This type of thinking involves asking why, what, who, where, when, and related questions. 
  2. Other benefits include shape better opinions and decisions. This makes them responsible citizens. In addition to this critical thinking improves the relationship, enhances problem-solving skills, allows independence; etc. 
  3. Permits creativity: Critical thinkers tend to be highly creative thinking individuals too. Consequently, they view themselves as endless in terms of possibilities.

Critical Thinking vs Creative Thinking

  1. The prime difference between the two is what they are used for. Creative thinking is related to creating something new and unique. Whereas the other is employed to evaluate ideas that already exist.
  2. As a result, critical thinking is analytical. The other being generative.
  3. Creative thinking is more concerned with possibilities. Additionally, it is divergent. While the other is based on probabilities. Critical thinking is also convergent.
  4. Both the thought processes have a different approach. Refusal of known and widely accepted principles forms the core part of the Creative thinking process. On the other hand, critical thinking focuses on using accepted ideas, concepts, and principles.
  5. The left part of the brain is involved in critical thinking. Whereas creativity flourishes in the right side of the human brain.
  6. Other differences can be classified for both the skills:
  • Creative thinking- Intuitive, Imaginative, Subjective, Fantasy Based, Non-Judgemental, Open Ended
  • Critical thinking – Logical, Sequential, Objective, Reality-Based, Judgmental, Closed Ended

Both skills have emerged as important life skills. Professional spaces demand and appreciate such skills. Creative thinkers are pattern seekers. However, their counterparts are patter users.

Moreover, a modern 21st-century human needs to be both analytical and creative.


Ways to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills 

Mind Mapping 

This unique technique allows people to connect ideas. The process can help link ideas that one never thought can be combined. As a result, one can use creative thinking skills to bring appropriate solutions. 

But what is a mind map? It is a chart where one can input ideas and then connect them. This chart can have the following:

  • Possible solutions to a particular problem
  • Immediate effect and outcome
  • Best actions that can be taken for the same

Additionally, a mind map can help look at a bigger picture. The technique can be carried out individually. 

We humans, are naturally creative. Sometimes we have all the ideas we need but they might not be very clear. All we need to do then is put all of it on paper. In such a case, creating a mind map can help in organizing thoughts and eventually reach conclusions.

A mind map is an info-graphic. People not performing in the technique can also understand it. Moreover, this will also be a reliable documentation.

Brainstorming

The technique can be used for small-scale or large-scale problems that demand a creative solution. This is done by forming a group of people where they give ideas without any interference. 

The main idea behind brainstorming is that it can provide potential solutions. As a result, a team can arrive at an option which will assure the highest level of quality. 

Brainstorming guarantees several advantages which can help in creative thinking skills. These advantages are: 

  • The technique is quite informal. This means it does not require a rigid structure to work. However, professional guidance can make it easier.
  • Physical presence is not essential. Virtual means can also be used.Additionally, ideas can even be compiled in a document. 

Brainstorming will work well, provided participants are aware of the problem that needs to be addressed. Along with this, they should be familiar with how the brainstorming process works. Moreover, all the ideas should be reported in proper documentation.

Lateral Thinking

The broad idea behind lateral thinking is that sometimes an answer is not in front of it but besides it. As a result, one can form innovative plans and exercise their creative skills. 

The technique involves shifting perspective and focusing on less limited areas. Good results can be achieved if team members work to reverse the situation and adopt a different viewpoint. 

A nice example can be in the case of loss of online sales. Someone would usually work on ads and promotions. However, better and creative solutions can result in higher sales. Like e-mail marketing can be another alternative to reach more customers and increase sales.

The unique aspect of this lateral thinking process is to work on areas which one would usually not think about.

Reframing 

Reframing is another great exercise to boost creative thinking. It shifts the focus to analyze a situation or an issue from a fresh perspective.  The word is self-explanatory. It means changing or shifting frames of things.

Hence, one has to look at a problem in a new different way. This can result in a fresh creative approach. Moreover, this exercise can be employed in several professions.

Role Play

A very practical way to change the way of thinking is employing the technique of roleplaying. Creative thinking is an open-minded process. Consequently, people in this technique are forced to adopt someone else’s position.

creative thinking skills

However, it is a way to reframe one’s thinking process. It helps in moving away from the typical personal method of solving problems. As a result, a new role will help to broaden the expanse of potential solutions.

Welcoming the ‘New’

Two sets of people were compared in a research study. The first were those who lived in their birth country. While the others set included those who moved abroad. The research was to compare and find creativity among both the groups.

A significant observation resulted from this study. People who moved abroad were better creative thinkers when faced with a problem. However, one cannot move abroad to develop creative thinking skills. 

One of the best methods can be moving out of the so-called ‘comfort zone’. In simpler words, it means trying something new that one is not very confident about. It can include the following:

  • Developing a new skill
  • Doing an internship
  • Working in a team
  • Learning a new language
  •  Make use of opportunities available to you

Moreover, this will be challenging and eventually enhance an individual’s creative thinking.

Being Social

Humans tend to bond better with people sharing the same background and views on life. But engaging with such similar beings can make one ‘lazy’. Moreover, it reinforces our opinions and leaves us unchallenged. The creative potential is not utilized.

However, one should engage in meaningful conversation with a diverse set of people in their everyday life. It will result in the following:

  • Challenging old  assumptions
  • Shift in perspective
  • Expansion of knowledge
  • Improvement in communication skills
  • Think more wisely and widely

Challenging Stereotypes and Thinking Beyond the Usual

A study was conducted on revolving stereotypes. When an individual was asked to imagine people who usually did not fit a stereotype (for example a male midwife), they were able to think more creatively. While people who were asked the opposite did not come out this creative.

Something as small as this can demonstrate the impact of a conventional method of thinking on our creative thinking ability.

Moreover, being aware of self assumptions can lead to remarkable results.

The Art, Theatre and Music Factor

Some activities make us more creative. It can include- going to a concert, visiting museums or theatres. Hence, cultural activities are great for creative motivation. This is because they add a new perspective. Moreover, arts can broaden the horizon of people.


Conclusion

Creative thinking has become a fundamental life skill. It can be very helpful in a professional setting to get a job or a promotion. Additionally, success and satisfaction can be replicated in other spheres of life too. 

Hence, one should indulge in this fun process of developing creative thinking skills!


FAQs

How can a person develop creative thinking?

Developing creative thinking requires training. However, it is an interesting process. It will be the same as letting yourself free in the world of fantasy. 
Thought experiments can be one method of doing the same. Albert Einstein used this technique.  He was one of the best thinkers of all time. Thought experiments were his way of seeing beyond the known and usual.
The technique involves imaging or picturing actions in mind. This forms a key element of creative thinking. Additionally, it includes developing questions. 

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