Creativity Skills: Examples and Steps to Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Creativity is a valuable workplace and life skill because it can help you develop new ideas, increase efficiency and devise solutions to complex problems. Practising creativity can help you become more successful personally and professionally. While you can have natural creativity, it's also a skill that you can learn and develop over time, and learning more about this can help you advance your skill set. In this article, we explore what creativity skills are and how you can improve and practice them in your personal and professional lives.

What are creativity skills?

There are several kinds of creativity skills that you can possess. The most common skills are:

1. Curiosity

Being creative often means that you're curious about the world around you and finding new ways of doing things. Being curious also involves formulating and asking questions to learn from people around you. Paying close attention to how people do things and use products or services can help you see how effective the processes are and how well the products function. You can then use this information to come up with creative ways to improve processes, products and services.

2. Problem-solving

Having creativity means you can detect and understand problems and devise and implement successful strategies to solve them. It also means you're able to evaluate the impact that each of your solutions has on different parties and adjust your solutions accordingly. You can build up the practice of good problem solving by volunteering to take on challenging tasks and situations at work and in your personal life.

Related: How to Problem Solve With Steps, Techniques and Skills

3. Keenness to experiment

No matter how unusual an idea might be, a creative person is willing to test it and see if it works. If it doesn't work, they can see failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. To develop experimenting skills, you can practice keeping working on a problem and adjust and rethink your ideas until you find a solution.

4. Open-mindedness

Individuals with an open mind are more willing to communicate with people from various backgrounds and understand their situations and perspectives. This can expose you to new ideas and inspire creative thinking. Talking and working with people who view the world differently can help you gain new perspectives when approaching your work.

Related: Important Soft Skills Employers in Hong Kong Look For

How to improve your creativity

Listed below are nine easy and simple strategies to improve your creativity:

1. Interact and exchange ideas

A good method to improve your creativity is to interact with people from different backgrounds and exchange ideas with them. This can make way for new and better ideas to emerge. Socialising may also make you happier which in turn makes you more creative.

2. Try the circle challenge

The circle challenge is a simple exercise to boost creativity. Draw twenty circles then set a stopwatch for thirty seconds. Make each circle into a unique picture before the timer ends. This exercise encourages you to think about the same thing in different ways. Repeat it periodically to see how your thoughts change over time.

3. Write often

Another good way to practice improving your creativity is to write often. You can try writing down your thoughts in a journal at the end of each day. Or you can choose to write short fiction stories, poems or song lyrics depending on your interests. Regardless of what you write, the act of writing itself can encourage you to think critically about your daily experiences and ideas. Finding ways to apply critical and analytical thinking may be a good way to exercise your mental abilities.

4. Keep an idea notepad or recorder

Creative ideas often come to us when we're busy doing something throughout the day. In such cases, it might be useful to have an idea notebook or a recorder ready to record your creative ideas. Refer back to those ideas at the end of the day or once every week for some creative stimulation.

5. Acquire new knowledge

You acquire new knowledge when you research and learn about new topics and ideas. Doing so can help broaden your horizons and encourage you to think about creative ways to solve problems and help others. There are many ways to acquire new knowledge such as reading non-fiction books or online articles, watching documentaries and listening to podcasts.

6. Read regularly

Reading is just one way to mentally exercise. For instance, exploring fiction novels can introduce you to interesting creative concepts such as storylines, plot twists and character development. On the other hand, reading newspapers, magazines and non-fiction stories can help you gain more knowledge about the world.

7. Exercise

Taking care of your physical and mental health can help put you in an optimal position to practise and apply creative thinking. Adding regular exercise to your routine, even if just for 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week, is one way to be your best creative self. Taking movement breaks throughout the day can also help increase your creative thinking.

8. Engage in nature

Being in nature may increase creative ways of thinking for some professionals. Spending some time in nature for a few minutes every day can be beneficial for improving your creativity. Consider taking a walk during your break or before work to help you feel more innovative.

9. Take breaks

When you're overwhelmed by tasks and projects at work, it may be difficult for your brain to produce creative ideas. Throughout your workday, you can take short breaks about five to 15 minutes long to help you clear your mind and get back to the task with fresh perspectives and ideas. You can do this by just closing your eyes for a few minutes, going to the window to look at the scenery, taking a short walk during your lunch break or talking to a friendly colleague.

10. Make creativity a routine

You can incorporate all of the strategies mentioned above into your daily, weekly or monthly routine as a way to continuously improve your creativity. You can choose to dedicate a specific period in your day or week to practice one or more of the strategies listed. The more you practice creativity, the more creative you can become.

How to practise creativity in the workplace

Apart from the strategies to improve your creativity, below are some ways that you can practise creativity in the workplace:

1. Make the practice of brainstorming ideas

Brainstorming ideas before starting a task or project is a good way to improve your creativity at work. For instance, if you're a copywriter working on a blog article, you may note down your initial ideas and outline the article before starting to write. The practice of brainstorming ideas can help make sure that your work is authentic and creative. Depending on your personal preference, you may jot down your ideas on a notepad or a board or you may also use online brainstorming tools.

2. Collaborate with others

Collaborating and brainstorming ideas together with your colleagues or team members can help generate several creative ideas, methods and strategies to complete tasks. By working as a team, you learn from each other, develop ideas further, broaden perspectives and inspire new ways to complete your work. You can practice this by setting a regular period once a week or bimonthly to sit down and collaborate with your team members. If your work is primarily remote or online-based, you can collaborate through online tools and applications.

Read more: How to Create Collaborative Work Environment in 7 Steps

3. Change your process

You can also practise creativity by changing the way you normally do things. Perhaps there is a particular task that you have always done a certain way. Ask yourself why you do it that way and if there are other ways to do it that can help you save time and achieve better results.

4. Draw your work

Whatever it is that you're working on, whether a project, idea or a task, you can practise creativity by describing it in a picture or a series of pictures. You don't necessarily need to be artistic to be able to do it. This practice can be especially helpful if you're a visual learner and if you understand concepts better when they are presented visually.

5. Change your work environment

Having a sense of change can help you gain new perspectives and ideas. This might involve reorganising your office space or even moving to a different cubicle or office. If you're limited in how you can rearrange your office space, you can consider decorating and redecorating it. If your workplace offers flexible working policies, you can request to work remotely for a day or two in the week if you're more productive at home.

5. Listen to music

If the situation permits, you can consider playing music while working. A recent study proves that listening to music while working can enhance creativity and promote divergent thinking which also, in turn, lifts your mood and makes you feel happier. You can put on headphones while listening to music at work to avoid distracting your colleagues.

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