Twelve practical tips to unlock your creative thinking

You’ve probably heard businesses talk a lot about ‘innovation’, but what does it really mean? Put simply, you can think of innovation as ‘creativity with a purpose’ – finding new and better ways of doing things.

The future of work and business is on the horizon; AI and robotics are just the start. Tech will change the way we work for the better, but there’s one thing it can’t provide — creativity. Creative thinking is the driving force behind change and will be a crucial trait for future employers.

Organisations big and small will need people who think differently and bring fresh ideas to the table, challenge the status quo and present their ideas in creative ways. It doesn’t matter if you’re still at school or studying at uni, whatever you’re doing, these 12 practical tips will build your creativity for the workplace of the future.

1. Always keep an open mind

You may have to learn, unlearn and relearn what you think you know.

2. Don’t take things for granted

Things don’t have to stay the way they are. Challenge everything.

3. Don’t write something off as boring

You can’t know what possibilities lie behind certain situations until you explore them.

4. See learning as fun

Keep a childlike curiosity and you’ll always enjoy learning, whatever the subject.

5. Watch and read wisely

Explore subjects you’re not familiar with and broaden your horizons.

6. Keep asking questions

How? Why? What if? Intelligent questions stimulate, provoke and inspire. Always dig a little deeper.

7. Try lateral thinking

Attack problems sideways, rather than head-on by playing with what’s possible. Ask yourself, “If assumption X was no longer true, what would we do then?”

8. Use analogies and metaphors

Compare your problem to a fictional story, a random object or another unrelated problem, see what connections you can draw between them to come up with a creative solution.

9. Reframe the issue

It may not change, but our interpretation of it might. For example, instead of asking how we can do this faster, try asking how we would achieve the same goal if I were to start this today from scratch.

10. Use pictures

A picture can paint a thousand words, so try to use them more often. If the problem was visual, how would you draw it? This can help people see from a new angle.

11. Keep a note

Write down the things you learn and experiences that interest you. Refresh and review regularly, and you’ll start to see connections.

12. Take a break

Ever noticed how you have your best ideas in the shower or while on a walk? By making time to relax you’ll be clearing more space in your mind to allow for new ideas to form.

Sound interesting?

People are our most important asset at EY Financial Services, that’s why we nurture them and continually support their development. If you’re interested in joining a global organisation that can help you develop, check out our opportunities page.