• Melanie Rivera

Design Thinking and Five Ways to Spark Creativity

"Innovation is taking things that exist and putting them together in a new way."

- Tom Freston

Design thinking is a form of creative thinking and is about 54 years old. It began as a program to do with product design at Stanford University and is the place where it was first invented. Design thinking is an application and a method for innovation. It is usually applied to products and services, For example, banks and big organisations. It is fundamentally human-centered, which means that the focus is on human experience.

Arguably, many of the skills and ideas resonate with Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioral approaches, and humanistic (due to the focus on human experience). The design method is excellent for making innovative decisions that work well because you are the one that tries and tests them out. The approaches can be helpful in the pursuit of creating work/life balance and for making positive changes. Evidence collated by Stanford University suggests that the concepts work when applied.

Coincidentally Psychologist Ira Progoff' , besides his work relating to therapeutic journaling, also had a passion for studying creative people's lives. He wanted to know what made them creative and studied poets, writers, painters, philosophers, and artists. He found an "unfolding process" in these lives, a sense of encounter with their work, whatever it was, that almost recognised the work as having a life of its own. What was also apparent about creative people was their passion for a project and how it gave them energy and drive to proceed with their work even when others did not support their work or ideas.

Five Ways to Spark Creativity The insights and ideas outlined here are inspired by design thinking. A few online courses related to this topic are referenced in the list at the end.

Become Aware of Different Trends

Most great ideas steam from other great ideas. Always stay current within your field of interest (whatever that might be) and evaluate each new idea and trend people gravitate towards. There is likely something about it that got people interested that can easily translate into a new idea or concept. The more you work within a field of interest and the people associated with it, the more ideas you can develop. And the more information you will obtain to understand your connections or problem fully.

Experience New Things Daily

Try something new each day entirely outside of your usual habit or niche. The more you expand your mind and experiences, the more knowledge you will gain. It is allowing you to see life and things from a different perspective. If each day is the same, it is unlikely to challenge you or boost your creativity as your knowledge and experiences are limited.

Work Alone First

Group-thinking can be beneficial as long as you do it the right way. Therefore, it is worth coming up with your own ideas before you consider working with a group, as it can hinder your creativity. Before you ask for advice from others, give yourself time to think for yourself and do your research.

Give Yourself a Break

Forcing innovation will likely not produce anything worthwhile, and many find their "Ah- ha" moments while relaxing. Walk away from it for more than a day. Get as much sleep as possible, try a few new activities, and then re- visit the problem.

Develop strategies

Create habits that you can follow to develop a new idea, concept, or thing. It is easier to build something new when given guidelines to observe and move you along. For example, think about a top product company creating a new trending product. When they work with their team, they establish their audience and what problem they would like to solve - then get to work developing the new product. Without these constraints, they would likely keep throwing out products instead, ultimately wasting their time, hard work, and revenue. In the end, change is inevitable, and specific change is another reason innovative thinking is so critical. Breakaway from the norm when you can, and don't be afraid to take some risks.

Build a Prototype

Build a model or a visual prop that will allow you to see at-a-glance how an idea will manifest or operate. Building a tangible object that captures the idea or thing is a chance to be creative. Mind maps, Vision boards, mood boards, sculptures, making or building a practical item, anything that creates an idea or thing.

Prototyping by Testing an idea out

Talk to someone who is either doing and living what you're contemplating or has real experience and expertise in an area about which you have questions. Discover how that person got to be doing what they do or got the expertise he has and what it's like to do what they do. Get some experience and find your own way to tailor and test out the right fit for you.

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