Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, is credited with being one of the earliest creative thinkers. Little is known about his early life and education, but he was known as the weeping philosopher.
He often said that delving into our own knowledge and intuition was a perfect way to gain insight. If you compare this with the modern education systems, there is probably little opportunity for reflection or to gain insights. Students usually have to gulp down a lot of information and regurgitate it back out onto paper at the examinations.
As a result of this process, people believe that the best ideas are those provided from someone else, rather than your own unique thoughts and musings.
Heraclitus believed that there are many good ideas in people's heads — if you are willing to delve into the recesses of your brain, you can with practice, develop your own innovation style.
Here are six ways that you can delve into your inner recesses to access your creativity and innovation skills.
1. Pay attention to the details
Have you ever gotten up early on a cool morning and noticed the beauty of a spider’s web as it glistens in the early morning sun? Or what about the precision with which ants leave their nest and return carrying a load of plunder from hours of foraging outside? How do they know where to go to find the food and then how do they remember to get back, often precisely retracing their steps back to the nest?
I used to do this from natural wonder; now I ponder the detail and use this talent to observe detail in problems or challenges I face.
2. Become detached
The best way to free up ideas is to let the best ones go. That’s right! Often times, people come up with a good idea, which they want to use no matter what.
Sometimes the path to enlightenment is rocky and you have to let go. Leave that beloved idea to one side and explore other ideas. Only after you let go, do you sometimes find what you were searching for all along.
3. Find your blind spot
The creators of the Johari Window, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, created a four-quadrant model about relationship awareness. In one of the quadrants — the Blind Spot — the two descriptors include that which is known to others, but not to ourselves.
Sometimes, you are looking at a challenge and just can’t see a solution. In times like these, you may need to think of the Johari Window and ask what it is that they can see but you can’t. Looking at someone else’s challenge with fresh eyes is often enlightening and the blindingly obvious stands out so clearly.
4. The pressure cooker approach
The quickest way to cook root vegetables on a kitchen stovetop is to use a pressure cooker. It gets them cooked in half the time and makes the job easy. If you are faced with a problem or challenge, applying the pressure cooker theory may work. That is, set a short deadline and work hard and fast toward creating the perfect solution by the looming deadline.
This process works well with a group of people and the challenge to perform is often met.
5. Handle rejection
Depending on the creative process being used, your ideas may be rejected out of hand by your work colleagues. Be brave and let your ideas be tested, challenged and even rejected by others. As part of the creative process, ideas need to be challenged — remember the best ideas often come out of a discarded idea.
6. Harness your ego
One of the worst errors you can make when you are searching for creative or innovative ideas is to let your ego interfere. “It’s your idea, so it must be good, it’s your idea, so of course it will work. It’s your idea, so of course you have considered all the alternatives.” I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying.
Let go of your ego, remain calm and go with the flow. You may be amazed at what happens next.