Great Ideas: Fire up your creative juices

Written by ProfitGuide

Where do you get your best ideas? In the car? At the office? The answer’s unimportant, because it doesn’t matter where you get your ideas — only that you actively cultivate them, says Cy Charney, president of Charney & Associates, a management consulting firm in Oakville, Ont.: “The future of your firm largely rests on your ability to innovate and change.”

Still, conjuring up new ideas is a challenge. All too often CEOs and their employees get wrapped up in day-to-day operations, leaving little time to reflect on the future. Focussing on the creative process is critical, says Charney, if companies want to move ahead.

In his book, The Portable Mentor, Charney offers the following strategies to help you and your staff fire up your creative juices.

  • Look for new ideas constantly. Read books and magazines and search the Internet. Attend workshops and trade shows.
  • If you work with critical or pessimistic people, keep your ideas hush until you’ve had the opportunity to flesh them out fully. (I.e. think about the benefits, drawbacks and costs involved in implementing your idea.) Consider possible objections and solutions.
  • Look for ideas in unexpected places. Allow your mind to wander, especially in places you normally wouldn’t visit. Keep a pen and paper handy to jot down new ideas.
  • Have tools of creativity freely available in your work environment. A flip chart to post new ideas, for example. Colored markers and crayons, toys and games can all encourage playful expression and boost creativity.
  • Budgeting for experimentation, including time and materials, will send a strong signal that you are serious about innovating.
Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com