Creativity is the ability to view the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things and to find solutions. Your ability to connect the dots in this way is the basis of all human creativity and idea generation. This sort of creativity is important to entrepreneurship! It’s seen often in the history of some of today’s most unique product innovations.
The problem is, many of us don’t think we’re creative people. When we asked our “non-creative” students why they believed they weren’t creative, here’s what they told us.
10 most common challenges to entrepreneurial creativity
- I couldn’t draw in school, so I’m not creative.
- I don’t have time to think, let alone be creative
- Other people’s ideas are so much better than mine.
- I’m right-handed, so I’m logical, analytic, and sequential. Not creative.
- I can’t remember my great ideas.
- I’m supposed to be working, not daydreaming.
- I can only draw stick people.
- I can’t visualize in my head. I need to draw it out on paper.
- My brain just doesn’t think that way.
- I can’t come up with a new business idea. Maybe I could buy an idea?
Sounds familiar, right? For many entrepreneurs, a lack of creativity is associated in their minds with less than positive early childhood experiences — poor drawing skills, criticism by a teacher or mental blocks — that are interpreted today as a lack of personal creativity.
For others, the luxury of personal think time, down time, or daydreaming is simply not available because of hectic personal schedules or other factors. We can all remember a teacher in elementary school scolding a student to “Stop daydreaming and pay attention!”
The creative process needs time to work. According to Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, great ideas don’t typically strike entrepreneurs at random – that while luck is a part of it, inspiration also depends on a perfect storm of creativity and connection with others.
Believing that we’re not creative puts up an immediate roadblock in the process of creativity. On the other hand, believing that we are creative can open up the pathways on which new ideas are delivered.
How can entrepreneurs encourage their creativity?
The way you foster your own creativity depends largely on the sort of person you are, but at GoForth, we like these five ideas:
- Think in opposites
- Have “think time” every day
- Think and act like a kid again
- Write down all your business-related ideas, without judgement
- Practice free association
For more details about these five methods, check out our blog post on how to build business creativity.