Whether you are a healthcare executive working your way through the uncertainty of how to run your business in an ever-changing healthcare arena, or an architect attempting to solve complex problems of space and buildings, we all benefit from being creative beings. But what do you do when you’re feeling stumped, and there seems to be a wall between you and the creative solutions you seek?
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
This quote from Maya Angelou reminds us how important it is to employ our creativity, because in the very use of it, we expand it. This isn’t always easy, since it is human nature to want to avoid risk and to fall back on tried and true ideas or solutions. Famous philosopher John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) notes, “Nothing will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” Obviously, to benefit from creative solutions, we have to embrace the possibility of being wrong.
Just in time thinking
I have a technique that works well for me. A common term in business circles in recent years has been Just In Time Manufacturing, which is sometimes related to Just In Time Inventory. This notion may have been somewhere in the deep reaches of my mind once when I was on a walk around the block, when suddenly something important that I needed to attend to on a particular project came to me, something I had not considered before. The project wasn’t even something I was thinking about at the time. I shared this later with a friend and we termed it Just In Time Thinking, which we decided was a higher level of cognitive activity (of course!) where by simply moving on to other things and allowing our minds to work on their own, the answers we needed or the creative solutions we could use would suddenly appear, just in time. Mind you, this is just a theory, and no properly structured scientific tests have been done to determine if this actually happens, but it’s true that sometimes the best way to get around a creative block is to move on to something else and let your mind work on it on its own (without your conscious effort).
Try it and see if it works for you.