Unlocking Innovation: Creative Thinking Exercises for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are idea generators by nature. Seeing problems as opportunities and imagining new products, services, or ways of doing things is what sets entrepreneurs apart. However, constant creativity is not easy. Sometimes entrepreneurs hit mental blocks that stifle innovation. Creative thinking exercises can help break these blocks with out-of-the-box thinking.
What Are Some Creative Thinking Exercises?
Many creative thinking exercises leverage different parts of the brain to shake up normal thought patterns and stimulate fresh connections. Common creative exercises used by entrepreneurs include:
- Brainstorming – Coming up with as many ideas related to a specific problem or opportunity as possible without judgement. This gets ideas flowing freely.
- Mind Mapping – Writing down a core problem or opportunity in the center of a blank page, then branching out ideas that stem from it in loosely associated bubbles around the center. This helps visualize connections.
- Mental Contrasting – Envisioning a desired future outcome, then contrasting current reality with that vision to determine what obstacles stand in the way. This identifies gaps needing creative solutions.
- Random Association – Finding random words, images, or items and making connections between them and a business challenge to inspire lateral thinking. This forces new associations.
- Role Play – Acting out fictional scenarios related to a business idea to conceive possibilities and perspectives. This brings ideas to life through embodied cognition.
While these imagination exercises spark innovation, there is one mistakenly assumed “creative thinking technique” typically not helpful for entrepreneurs…
Procrastination Is Not Productive Percolation
It’s a common misperception that procrastination on meaningful work can lead to creative insight. While taking breaks and time away from challenging problems can allow resting brain states conducive to epiphanies, outright avoidance of important work is typically detrimental.
Procrastination prioritizes urgent tasks, not important goals. This causes entrepreneurs to neglect the meaningful work only they can do – like strategizing, innovating, and developing products or services that underpin entire business models.
Yet, many entrepreneurs rationalize procrastination as “productive percolation” – allowing their subconscious to unpack thorny problems and hopefully gain creative clarity through oxygenation rather than deliberate effort.
Unfortunately research shows this is typically ineffective, eroding motivation, focus, and self-efficacy instead of unveiling innovations. Procrastination simply delays output oriented action essential for bringing ideas to fruition.
The better path is “active percolation” – making steady progress on important entrepreneurial work while also scheduling regular breaks allowing unconscious processing and creative sparks. Pair periods of heads-down output with relaxing activities more likely to welcome epiphanies than distractions.
So while many creative thinking techniques can catalyze innovation, procrastination offers no such benefits. Don’t put off entrepreneurial progress – couple consistent output with activities that refresh and reset an active mind.
Staying Innovative Through Creative Thinking
Creativity powers entrepreneurship by transforming problems into possibilities. Yet constant ideation requires combatting mental fatigue and blocks.
Creative thinking exercises reopen closed perceptions, sparking the innovations underlying viability and sustained differentiation. But misconceptions like productive procrastination can derail progress.
Keep business momentum and impact moving forward through regular creative practice. Combine focused output with activities that spark new connections – allowing innovations to grow while delivering intended outcomes.