When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

How often do you take time out from your day-to-day pressures and tedious meetings to glance out of the window and dream? How often do you deviate from the mundane routine and let your imagination run wild?

Unless you break free from ‘short-term’ and ‘shortcut,’ your thinking will not deepen. Unless you set your mind free to dream and ideate, your creativity will not blossom.

So to start with, take time out to understand what is creative thinking and why is it important.

What is creative thinking?

Creativity is the ability to generate a thought or an idea that is completely new, appealing, and useful. Creative thinking is a skill that enables you to come up with original and unconventional ideas.

Creative thinking expresses itself in a multitude of ways. A graphic artist creates a brilliant logo. A lawyer discovers an out-of-the-box strategy to defend her client. A photographer captures an extraordinary frame when out in the field. A product designer solves a problem with his innovative product.

Who says creative thinking is limited only to the artists, painters, designers, or writers? Creative skills give an edge to all professionals. It drives innovation and progress in almost every field. The eureka moment of cracking an idea can be experienced by anyone and everyone.

It is clear that exceptionally creative people are found in STEM fields—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—as well. Designing an app, assembling a robot, creating an Artificial Intelligence application, and developing an online social network requires high levels of creative thinking.

Types of Creative Thinking

The celebrated author and psychologist Edward de Bono has said that creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. What are these different ways? Let’s go a little deeper.

  • Divergent Thinking: Exploring multiple perspectives with flexibility, fluency, and originality to find a solution for a problem.

  • Lateral Thinking: Exploring new ideas, thinking outside the box, avoiding clichés

  • Aesthetic Thinking: Visual or spatial thinking with the use of structure, colors, composition to achieve aesthetic beauty

  • Systems Thinking: Identifying an interrelation between things and viewing them from a 360-degree perspective

  • Inspirational Thinking: Lightbulb moments inspired by great personalities or insightful thoughts

  • Abstract Thinking: Thinking in terms of objects, principles and experiences that may not be physically or materially present

  • Design Thinking: Applying strategy, problem-solving and decision-making to the process of design

Once you know what is creative thinking, you can stay a step ahead by applying that knowledge to the way you carry out your communications. Research indicates that the companies that believe in fostering creative thinking outperform their competitors in every functional area.

Creativity is one of the most in-demand skills in the world. Have you seen those superhero movies with great VFX technology? The visuals are spectacular. The technology is state-of-the-art. But without a powerful creative concept and storyboard, the entire movie can be a flop show. That’s where creative thinking plays a role.

A person who knows the importance of creative thinking is open-minded in approach. Their assumptions are unbiased, they possess the problem-solving ability, and are impactful verbal and written communicators.  They are able to analyze a brief and distill it to its essence.

Harappa Education’s  Unleashing Creativity course explains how to cultivate a creative mindset. It acquaints you with creative approaches to problem-solving. Through the course, you will also learn how to exercise your creativity in groups.

The importance of creative thinking

  • It is indispensable

The world has taken a technological leap. Today, robots click photographs. Yet, some photographs stand out because they reflect the mind and intent of a talented professional.

Jobs in many industries have been replaced by automation. Still, creative thinkers are in high demand because originality is irreplaceable. Creative thinking is indispensable.

  • It gives you freedom

You must have noticed how a child’s imagination soars boundlessly. Children are naturally creative thinkers because they haven’t been bound by the ways of the world just yet.  Creative thinking thrives when individuals and groups are free of artificially-imposed constraints.

Set your mind free to explore other perspectives, ‘the other side’. Then, deploy your ideas into your endeavors and see the difference. You must have heard how famous filmmakers and music directors go to hill stations or remote places to brainstorm, write and compose. To get work done, many writers prefer the quiet of country-side living to the clutter of cities.

  • It improves the problem-solving process

Sunil was his boss’s favorite assistant because he was an efficient problem-solver. With his creative thinking skills, he always found a solution to any unforeseen problem.

The importance of creative thinking in problem-solving is crucial. It enables you to face a challenge and think about it from all angles.

  • It adds to leadership qualities

Throughout history, inspiring leaders from various walks of life have been included in creative thinker examples. They achieve the highest level of excellence on the back of extraordinary ideas that have the potential to change the course of history, art, or a nation.

Take, for instance, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Mahatma Gandhi, JRD Tata, Swami Vivekanand, Satyajit Ray. These creative minds have left indelible imprints in their chosen area of work.

  • It boosts productivity

Steve Jobs is considered one of the striking creative thinker examples. The Apple co-founder had a vision that transformed people’s lives with several mini-revolutions: beginning with the personal computer and then going on to the iPod and, later, the iPhone.

Steven Spielberg’s work heralded a new era in filmmaking. Albert Einstein pushed the boundaries of accepted thinking with his own ideas.  ‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere,’ he said.

A workplace that encourages creativity is a productive workplace. Encouraging creativity leads to more innovative ideas, less fear of failure, and greater emotional investment.

  • It makes people happier

Giving people a free hand to apply their creative thinking makes them happy. It gives them a sense of being unshackled from barriers.  Such liberation yields more constructive results in the workplace. You must have noticed that you work better in a place where you are appreciated and valued.

Filmmaker Walt Disney chased his dream to make people happy through entertainment.  He came up with a word that typifies his vision: Imagineering, that is imagination plus engineering. For Disney, it was fun to attempt the impossible. Yet another one of the fascinating creative thinker examples!

  • It leads to personal growth

Those who have bigger dreams and long-term goals should never underestimate the importance of creative thinking. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and transports you into a creative zone.

The more you create, the more you grow in terms of mindset as well as skill sets. Also, when you commit time to pursue your passions, the quality of your life goes up.

All creative thinker examples prove that such ability empowers and elevates your career graph. In the process, you obtain valuable insights about yourself.

You discover your habits, dreams, desires, and impulses. You learn to value yourself and express it in your creative output.

For it to be a high-reward endeavor, build your creative skills systematically. It’s true that some people are born with inherent creative strengths. But it’s also true that creativity can be sown and nurtured with strategy and practice.

How to enhance your creative thinking?

  • Pay attention to your strengths and try to incorporate more of them in your life

  • Tap into your inner child and explore the qualities of freshness, purity of thought and spontaneity of expression

  • Do not restrict yourself to a habitual pattern. Think differently. Take a different route to communicate your thoughts. Never go by stereotypes

  • Enjoy yourself in natural settings and set your imagination free to explore and experiment

  • Be curious and inquisitive about your surroundings

  • Don’t hesitate to take risks to further your abilities

  • Get rid of the negative attitudes that are blocking your creativity

  • Indulge in brainstorming to inspire new ideas

  • Accept that a problem can have multiple solutions and explore every possibility

Harappa’s Unleashing Creativity course equips you with the Design Thinking framework that encourages thinking about the end-user while developing products and services.

Through the course, you will also gain the confidence to find solutions, drive innovation, and use an iterative approach to generate, test and refine new ideas.

Yes, the creative woods are lovely, dark, and deep. So get ready for a long and wonderful journey of many, many miles!

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Think habit such as What is Critical ThinkingDesign Thinking & What is an Argument.