The Boy Scouts know what they’re talking about when they say to “be prepared.”
It should be your motto, too.
Athletes are a perfect example of practicing to be prepared.
They know that if they don’t put in the blood, sweat and tears, they’ll never be ready for the big leagues.
Why would it be any different for you in your pursuit of creativity and innovation?
These are disciplines that you can practice and here are some the ways you can prepare yourself.
Your brain is hardwired to attempt to solve problems.
Once you think you have an answer, you stop looking for viable solutions and stick to what you think you know.
But, what if the first answer you landed on isn’t the best one?
Have the mindset that any idea can be tossed for a better one and keep an open mind.
That’s what drives creativity and innovation.
People tend to gravitate to those who are like them.
When you’re not engaging with anyone who’s different from you, you’re stifling innovation and narrowing the pool ideas that you can draw from.
Make it a habit to build relationships with a variety of people.
Take a step out of your comfort zone and check out a department in your company with which you don’t normally work.
Attend a conference that’s on a topic you don’t know much about.
When you’re expanding your experiences, you’ll also be opening up your opportunities for creativity.
Considering new ideas without shutting them down outright is a great way to prepare for innovation.
A good method for processing new ideas is to briefly think it over and then put it out of your mind for a day or so.
When you come back to the idea, it will seem more familiar, making it easier for you to consider.
You’re training your brain for innovation!
Part of the practice of being creative is to ditch the stigma you may have attached to asking questions.
It shows that you care, that you’re open-minded and that you’re willing to learn.
One way you can practice creativity is to ask friends, colleagues or LinkedIn group connections how they would handle a certain situation. Getting advice from a diverse group of people will help you see a problem in a new light and come up with a solution.
While the idea of preparing to be innovative and creative sounds like an oxymoron, just the opposite is true.
Each of these practices can help to train your mind to be open to new ways of looking at problems and fresh ways of coming up with solutions.
Michael Jordan surely tried more than one method to hit a three-pointer, right?
The next time you’re faced with a decision, use one of these ideas to broaden your perspective.