"Innovation is taking things that exist and putting them together in a new way."
– Tom Freston.
Design thinking has flowed through creativity for over half a century.
It was initially born on the grounds of Stanford University and was initially associated with product design, yet its influence now stretches further beyond. This method has become an integral tool for sparking innovation across various domains, including the vast realms of coaching and psychology. Design thinking is used for personal development and in organisations and is fundamentally human-centred, placing human experience at its heart.
You might find it intriguing how design thinking shares common threads with other realms of thought and practice like Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioral approaches, and humanistic perspectives. This kinship is not coincidental; it underscores the profound influence of design thinking. Its principles extend to the pursuit of work-life balance and fostering positive transformations.
The evidence, curated by Stanford University, speaks volumes – these concepts work when put into practice.
Coincidentally, psychologist Ira Progoff, known for his work in therapeutic journaling, embarked on a parallel journey. He delved into the lives of creative luminaries: poets, writers, painters, philosophers, and artists. What he uncovered was the notion of an "unfolding process" in their lives – an encounter with their work as if it possessed a life of its own. Creative souls, he noted, burned with a passionate fire for their projects.
This fire, a wellspring of energy and drive, sustained them even when the world failed to rally behind their work or ideas.
Five Sparks to Ignite Your Creative Flame
The flames of design thinking resonate with the following insights. They're like beacons of creativity.
1. Awareness of Trends
Great ideas are often born from the fertile soil of existing ones. Stay abreast of trends in your field of interest and dissect what captivates people. There's a hidden gem in each trend, waiting to be unearthed. The more you immerse yourself in your niche, the more fertile the ground for your ideas to grow. In the interconnected web of knowledge, you'll find the strands that lead you to your breakthrough.
2. Daily Adventures
Every day, embark on a new adventure far removed from your routine. Expand your experiences, for within them lies the essence of creativity. Life from a different vantage point can be a wellspring of inspiration. If each day is an echo of the last, your creative reservoir may run dry. Novel experiences, on the other hand, are the rain that replenishes it.
3. Solo Endeavors First
Before seeking the wisdom of a group, embark on solitary exploration. Allow your mind to roam freely, weaving its own tapestry of ideas. Research and ponder independently before turning to others. Solo reflection often leads to the purest gems of creativity.
4. Embrace the Break
Innovation seldom emerges through force. It's often in the quiet moments, away from the grind, that "Ah-ha!" moments strike. Step away from the problem, granting your mind the space to breathe. Take more than a day if needed. Catch up on sleep, try new activities, and return to your challenge with fresh eyes.
5. Craft Strategies
Creativity thrives within constraints. Develop a roadmap for your ideas, setting clear boundaries and objectives. Consider a top product company – they identify their audience and the problem they aim to solve before diving into product development. Constraints guide innovation; without them, creativity might meander aimlessly. Remember, change is inevitable, and innovative thinking is the compass that points the way. Embrace novelty, take risks, and venture beyond the norm.
Crafting Your Vision: Prototyping and Testing
Bring your idea to life through prototyping. It's akin to sculpting your creative vision into a tangible form. Mind maps, vision boards, sculptures, practical items – these are the canvases for your ideas. By creating a prototype, you gain clarity on how your concept will manifest and operate. It's a chance to revel in the creative process, bridging the gap between imagination and reality.
Testing Your Idea: The Crucible of Reality
Don't be an island in your creative voyage. Engage with those who embody the essence of what you aspire to achieve. Seek wisdom from those living the dream you're contemplating. Learn how they forged their path, gaining expertise along the way. Gain your own experiences and forge your unique route. Your journey of self-discovery and creative expression awaits.
Like the sparks that ignite a roaring fire, Ideas spark creativity!
It thrives in the unknown, the unexplored, and the unconventional. So, embrace the wilderness of your mind, let your ideas run wild, and set your creativity on fire!