A discussion I stumbled upon on a site called Applied Improvisation Network helped in the formulation of these tips. So here goes:
- Think within the box: Much has been made of thinking out of the box but how productive is such thinking? Setting mental boundaries within which to tackle a problem may just bring home the results. But don't let the leaders set them -- self set-boundaries tend to be more productive than externally imposed ones. Concentrated thinking centred on a specific area may not have been considered 'creative thinking' traditionally but this just might be a 'creative' way of thinking that is worth a go at.
- Ask your four-year-old: Children aren't set in their ways of thinking so they might just see that vital component you are missing. The challenge here: communicating the problem to your child in four-year- old terms. But that in itself can help you focus more clearly on the problem -- and possible solutions.
- I wonder what he's thinking: Try thinking like some one else. Imagine how your role-model or that colleague who seems to have all the answers might tackle an issue. Trying to predict someone else's pattern of thought will help you break out of set ways of thinking.
- Get some air: Simply take a walk or even hold a meeting out in the open for that bright inspiration.
- Switch places: Encourage your employees to sit in a different place for a day. A mere change of seat can go a long way in breaking the mould.
- Take pressure out of the equation: A writer's block almost always occurs just as you inch closer to the deadline. It's inevitable that the closer you inch towards a deadline, the more fuzzy your thinking can become. So ease off the pressure. This doesn't mean removing goals or measurable outcomes. It just means that you set long term goals and do away with frequent assessments for a particular project.