Nearly all great ideas follow a similar creative process and this article explains how this process works.
Understanding this is important because creative thinking is one of the most useful skills you can possess.
Nearly every problem you face in work and in life can benefit from creative solutions, lateral thinking and innovative ideas.
This is the practice of connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated ideas.
It is the art of pulling inspiration and insight from one area and applying it to something completely different.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, believes so passionately in this idea of associating that he made it part of the company DNA.
Branson impresses the acronym ABCD for Always Be Connecting Dots
In her book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Maria Konnikova emphasizes the importance of observing our surroundings on a deeper level.
To illustrate the power of observation, she recounts the story of when Holmes asks his partner Watson how many stairs lead from one room
of the house to another (a path they have both walked thousands of times). When Watson announces he doesn’t know, Holmes replies:
You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.
This isnit just about expanding your LinkedIn connections or the Rolodex of business cards on your desk.
Networking involves expanding your bubble to involve individuals and ideas from all walks of life.
Creative individuals don’t stick to just their area of expertise. They are constantly trying new things.
In order to drum up unique ideas, you have to venture outside of your comfort zone and experiment with new ideas and ways of working.
Google pioneered a concept of 80/20 time” that allowed engineers to tinker for 20% of their work time.
The concept has since spread to other companies like LinkedIn and Apple. These companies understand that creativity doesn’t just happen.
It takes work. It’s not enough to just want to be creative, you have to actively pursue it.