10 ways to stimulate creativity in your career
We are now in a situation where we’re working well into our 60s or possibly well into our 70s. For most of us, working full-time means we’ll be working for longer than 50 years. The importance of stimulating creativity must be paid attention to when we’re creating the amount we do, if we are to stay healthy mentally and physically. Here are a number of ways to stimulate our creativity.
Commit, plan, act, review
The Investors in People Standard set out 4 principles, over 20 years ago, regarding what organisations and individuals needed to achieve to improve engagement and performance. The principles are commitment, planning, action and review. This is a cycle that can be continuously used because it’s a great step in assuring that you are stimulating creativity around your.
Think about new things you can try in your current job. It is hard to believe that there isn’t something new today. It might be a new discipline you choose to pursue; it might be a new skill you learn on the job or from a colleague. It might be making a connection with a new person in the organisation; it might be following up about a piece of information. It could be anything connected to our workplace and our curiosity. There is always going to be something new to stimulate us.
Read something new every day
You may want to sign up to a magazine online; you may choose to read a new research paper. It may be that your local bookshop or Amazon has something that interests you. Creativity is often sparked by reading and digesting something that makes you think differently about a certain subject. If you put yourself in a position to try, you can stimulate your creativity by absorbing new information. Old friends and our family at home are not very different to reading. Is there a stimulus that comes from them that can put something new into our heads?
Spend time with a new group of people
It could be a special interests club or society such as a reading group/book club. Alternatively, try linking up with your professional association or attending a career webinar. Carve out the chance to do something new in a different environment.
One of the fundamental challenges for our career is preparing for the unexpected. A ‘what if’ scenario is always going to be predicated on the things we’ve done. What continuously learning does is allow us to answer more clearly. But we must also be able to think, ‘what could I do if I were to undertake this? What changes for me creatively? What might I need to do if that’s what I want?’ Being static takes away our ability to be creative in unexpected scenarios, whilst being proactive adds to this ability.
Look at your future in pictures
Have you ever done this, when you have identified a particular point in the future and put into pictures what the world might look like for you then? How right you are about this, only time will tell. Whether you’re looking 5 or 10 or 25 years ahead, link your ideal images back to now and identify what it is you have to do to give yourself the chance of achieving your goals.
Get into a new project
Quite often we can make it possible by getting ourselves involved in a new project at work. Sometimes these come along naturally; sometimes we might need to have a conversation with our boss to let them know that we would love the opportunity. Many times we learn technical skills such as project management from undertaking new assignments. Away from your work, you may decide to do something in a not-for-profit environment, such as a charity project. Also, learning can be a new project if we commit to it over a period of time, which requires us to be very smart and effective.
Whatever our professional area is, we need to go deeper into that subject and area of learning. We live in a world where there is intense competition for jobs and the more specialised we become in an area, the better. We have to, of course, get this right and recognise what the most valuable activities for us to do are.
Two heads are better than one
To encourage creativity in our career, we must confide in a friend, coach, or maybe more than one individual at times, depending on where we would go.
Change your mindset
Our careers are often affected by how much exploration we have in our daily lives, the interactions we have with people or the type of work we’re doing day to day. We just need to have a mindset that recognises that the opportunity to stimulate our creativity exists every day.
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies.