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Creative Thinking

| On 20, Feb 2008

Praveen Gupta

Recently, I asked a group of students to raise their hands if they thought they were creative. I saw about 20% raising their hands that they were creative. To validate my understanding I asked them to write at least one creative idea. Again, I discovered that about 20% of them wrote create ideas. I wondered what happened to my understanding that everyone is creative. Looking at their body language, I felt that they just could not try hard enough to think. I did confirm that ‘thinking’ appears to be the hardest thing to do, and we do not think naturally productively unless we force ourselves to think. Once we get used to thinking, we become fast thinkers otherwise simply thinking is tough thing to do.

Then, I listed the following steps for thinking creatively:

  1. Force yourself to think

  2. Observe objects and things around you for their uniqueness and creativity

  3. Combine two or more things into a new idea

Again, gave them 5 minutes to write one creative idea. I asked participants again to raise their hand if they had written a creative idea. This time, about 90% of them raised their hands. Without evaluating extent of their creativity, it showed to me that they took the first step towards thinking creatively, i.e., just think.

I feel that we do not like to think unless we really have to. In order to force ourselves to think, everyone needs to create a setting that makes one think and try to go into that setting frequently. Going into that setting could be any or many factors such as challenge, fun, necessity, marching order, care, learning, or curiosity.

Once a person learns to think creatively, then the next challenge is to think creatively fast. It takes a lot of ideas to filter it down to one that scores a home run. It means one needs to practice combining many many things into unique way, and evaluate for their utility and perceived value. Thinking continually and fast are first symptoms of a person becoming an innovative person.

If anyone can think of some simple way to think creatively, I would love to learn more about it. Tell us!