The Benefits of Creative Thinking as an Entrepreneur

4 techniques to find great ideas and keep finding them as en entrepreneur

One day a visitor of Henry Ford’s plants expressed his wonder: “it seems almost impossible that a man starting at 25 year old with pratically nothing could accomplish all this” Ford replied: “That’s hardly correct. Every man starts with all there is.’’

Have you ever wanted to start your own business but felt you lacked some really interesting ideas and so postponed your project?

Have you ever thought seriously about a project but couldn’t find the missing piece that would make it truly remarkable and worth the fight?

It is said that having ideas is less important than how you realize them- since everyone has ideas.

This is true in the early stages of a start-up’s development, but what gradually distinguishes one emerging business from another is the weight of innovations and changes it brings to its market.

Just think of companies like Snapchat, Square, or Pixar which have distinguished themselves by their very creative work culture.

If people can have the same idea at the same time, what eventually makes the difference is as much the ability to find a great idea as to persistently find other ones. It is a creative mind always on the lookout for innovations and changes in its processes, marketing, and product.

How can you permanently increase your intellectual creativity?

Creative thinking methods can help you to be open-minded about ideas that you unconsciously develop but never really complete. They can increase your capacity to generate remarkable innovations, those illuminations making all your research seems to have led to only one goal.

Several technical ideation techniques help you strengthen and make your ideation process more efficient. They gradually increase your intellectual creativity to enhance your chances to innovate.

Here are 4 important ones that will put your brain in condition to produce impactful ideas!

1. Making the Familiar Strange

Most ideation techniques are based on methods of intellectual inversion: seeing the things around us and the ideas that go through our heads as not being self-evident, as belonging to strange habits or absurd reality.

Every day you do things and produce ideas that seem trivial to you because they are too familiar, but this prevents you from seeing their discrepancy or originality. It is by training yourself to see your habits as unnatural that you can have attention to what surrounds you and spot remarkable patterns.

Reed Hastings the founder of Netflix, for example, realized that paying penalties to customers for not returning their tapes early enough was absurd, and that’s how he came up with the idea of a service that allows you to rent them permanently.

Train yourself at seeing things as not obvious, as not going without saying, by thinking of unusual questions: why should you eat cereal every morning instead of fruit? Why should you even eat breakfast? What’s the need to eat in the morning?

It is by challenging your preconceptions and habits that you will be on the path to enlightenment.

2. Using Analogies and Figures

We often overlook the power of analogy which picture problems more simply and clearly and leads to unexpected insights.

The whole fashion of biomimicry is inspired, for example, by inventions found in nature, whether it is radars inspired from the sound waves created by bats, or Japanese engineers who shaped the nose of their high-speed train from a bird’s beak.

You might broaden the scope of your analogies, references, and comparisons further, enlarging the frame of your culture and knowledge.

The founder of Honda, for example, when building the first fourth-cylinder motorcycle, realized that its design was not very attractive. After a walk in a Buddhist temple, he was fascinated by the smile of the Buddha statue and based the harmonious appearance of his motorcycles on it.

Each analogy reveals that your problems have already been solved in different ways and that it is up to you to recover these ideas.

3. Twist Your Ideas with The Osborn’s CheckList

Alex Osborn, the creator of modern brainstorming was also a great publicist and had invented a general method for finding innovative ideas from existing ideas.

His Checklist consists of intellectual reflexes helping you turn your ideas around. You need to assimilate them to make your mind more and more elastic:

Eliminate or Add: What can be added or removed to the existing idea to make it better? Sometimes simpler ideas are more effective, or unexpected additions can bring a new vision of things.

Substitute: What elements of this idea could be replaced to make it more effective?

Combine: What ideas could be combined to make a whole new idea?

Adapt: How can you adapt your idea in a better way to the problem we face? Is it even this problem that needs to be solved or another one?

Modify: Is it possible to change the order of one of the components of your ideas and thus change the whole idea?

Put to other uses: Couldn’t your idea be useful for other uses you haven’t thought of yet?

Reverse: Would it be possible to change the order of cause and effect to create a better idea? Like Apple putting technology at the service of design rather than the other way around.

4. Train Your “Deep Mind”

Most of the ideas with explosive potential that you possess are regularly produced by your unconscious mind, which throughout our lives gathers puzzle pieces that are missing the last spark.

Accumulating experiences and intuitions, you constantly develop networks of ideas that only need to be connected to produce great ideas. Your brain is a field of often localized connections, and it is by producing connections between apparently unrelated subjects that you can produce the most unexpected inventions.

Generally, you may focus on projects where you want to make quick discoveries and get somewhere. But you must also let the mind its ideas at its own pace, without judging the paths it follows.

You need to go into more adventurous and unexpected experiments without judging the results too quickly. It is a matter of letting your mind navigate on various subjects and distracting yourself in activities that are not necessarily related to each other.

For example, the chemist Stuart A. Kauffman discovered how carbon atoms in a ring formed the molecule benzene by reading books on Nordic mythology.

By following these paths you may create the most significant and remarkable ideas for your projects.

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