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Creative Thinking : Thinking Outside The Box

Creative Thinking is about exploring solutions that stand out from the norm. It is about using imagination to innovate and overcome obstacles. Creative thinking has often been associated with artistic endeavours like painting and writing. It has been looked at as a concept that has no impact on our day to day life. Contrary to common opinion, creative thinking has always played a significant role in our experiences.

Creative Thinking: Impact on Our Daily Lives

From scientists to artists, we all have an advantage when it comes to making sure that our solutions are not just limited by the norms set by society. Creative solutions are always welcomed in most situations. Even the simplest of our tasks in our daily routine can be tweaked and made easier using creative ideas. This is where creative thinking helps us innovate and make our lives a little easier.

Whenever we are presented with a problem that seems to have no logical solution, that's when most of us deviate to the path of creative solutions. We start to think outside the box to get over an unexpected problem. For most people, this is the push that we need to step outside our comfort zone and tread into the realm of innovation and creativity. For people involved in creative endeavours, this comes more naturally to them. They have been used to creating and innovating every day that their brain is finely tuned to look for more innovative solutions.

Impact of Creative Thinking on Students

In the research article "Fostering students’ creative thinking skills by means of a one-year creativity training program" by Simone M. Ritter, Xiaojing Gu, Maurice Crijns and Peter Biekens. The group looked to test the effectiveness of a one-year creativity training program for higher education.

In their year-long research, they came to the conclusion that creativity training increased students’ ideation skills and, more importantly, their cognitive flexibility. They also insisted that in most educational settings little attention is paid on developing students’ creative thinking skills. They also emphasised on the need for creative thinking training to improve academic development.

Problem Solving

We all face problems in our day to day life. From designing a sports car to building your own shed, there will be problems with our task. When we find creative solutions to simple tasks it can create a sense of satisfaction and achievement. You can train your brain to be more consistently inventive and create better resolutions to known obstacles.

Lateral Thinking

Another aspect of creative thinking is lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is a set of processes developed by Dr Edward de Bono, a Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor, philosopher and consultant who originated the term Lateral Thinking. Lateral thinking provides a methodical process of thinking creatively that results in innovation. According to Dr Edward de Bono, lateral thinking helps a person to take an idea and create a new idea from it rather than copying it.

Dr. Edward de Bono is the world's leading authority on conceptual thinking as the driver of organizational innovation, strategic leadership, individual creativity, and problem solving. Since 1970 his exclusive tools and methods have brought astonishing results to organizations large and small worldwide and to individuals from a wide range of cultures, educational backgrounds, occupations, and age groups. Dr. de Bono delivers the advanced training solutions that are greatly needed for success in these challenging times.

He talks about four main tools that can be an aid in lateral thinking.

  1. Idea-Generating Tools: This to break all the traditional thinking patterns and methods that you are used to.

  2. Focus Tools: This encourages you to your mind to be open for new possibilities and to explore outside your comfort zone.

  3. Harvest Tools: Helps you to evaluate the ideas and their outputs.

  4. Treatment Tools: How you can gather all your creative ideas and fine-tune them for real-life resources and constraints.

Lateral thinking gives us a set process that can be repeated in different scenarios to find creative solutions.

How to Improve Your Creative Thinking Abilities

Try to create something daily: Write an article, visualise and draw or sketch. Practice makes it perfect. Let your imagination and creative mind work daily.

  1. Make a list of your original ideas: Whatever ideas that come to your mind, keep a list of it and see how you can improve and implement these ideas.

  2. Take risks: Creativity is about stepping outside your comfort zone venturing into the unknown. You must be prepared to take risks and let your mind be open to unconventional and creative solutions.

  3. Daydreaming: Daydreaming is about visualising and letting our imagination roam free. It is important for our creative thinking as imagination fuels creativity.

  4. Attending Creative Training: There are various creative thinking courses online and offline that engages participants in a creative journey. This will help you instil creative values in your routine.

Creative Thinking has become a focus for many educators and employees. Most firms and institutions have understood the value of creative ideas and have made it a necessity for their students and employees to not just be capable but also to provide innovative solutions to the problems that persist in their environment.


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