Education & Career Trends: 5 Hacks to Train Your Brain to be More Innovative

4 min read

Edition: August 1st, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

As you try to open yourself up to new ways of thinking, you will find it easier to generate ideas for your business. (Image Credit: Canva)
  • Excerpts from article by Robert Finlay, published on

No matter what your job is, innovative thinking is often what is needed to take your business to the next level. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut. If you’re not careful, this stagnation can easily cause your business to flounder.

If you need help thinking creatively so you can achieve better results for your brand, the solution may come down to retraining your brain. By reshaping your thinking process, you’ll be able to generate innovative ideas that make a real impact.

Here are 5 psychology-backed hacks that train your brain to be more innovative:

1. Read a book

  • The time you spend reading and writing is always going to improve your creative thinking.
  • Studies have confirmed that habitual readers and those who have a positive attitude toward reading in general are going to have greater creative thinking abilities than their peers.
  • While entrepreneurs are often tempted to only read business books, it’s worth noting that reading fiction has been found to be especially effective in connecting your creative right brain and analytical left brain.

2. Let yourself run wild with brainstorming

  • When it comes to improving your innovative capabilities, think of your brain as a muscle.
  • Just like you would lift weights at the gym to strengthen your arms or legs, you should also “work out” your brain to enhance your creative thinking abilities.
  • One of the best ways to do this is to let yourself truly run wild with brainstorming.
  • Consider periodically challenging yourself to come up with as many ideas related to a particular problem all at once.
  • Write down everything that comes to mind — no crossing out ideas because they seem too outrageous or unfeasible.
  • The main idea is that you get into the practice of writing down as many ideas as possible.
  • This will help you become open to a wider range of ideas in the future, allowing for more creative thinking when it’s time to solve problems for your business.

3. Value lateral learning opportunities

  • Many business owners pride themselves on being true specialists in their niche and there’s nothing wrong with developing specialised knowledge that helps you deliver better results to your customers.
  • But to enhance creative thinking, you need to embrace lateral learning.
  • Lateral learning essentially means that you try to learn more about a wide variety of topics — including those outside of your chosen profession.
  • The idea is that you will expand your knowledge to the point where you at least have a solid understanding.
  • Broadening your knowledge base gives you a wider range of facts and experiences to draw from when trying to come up with solutions.
  • Increasing your thirst for knowledge will make you more innovative and help you make new discoveries.

4. Learn how to manage distractions

  • Distractions and creativity have a unique relationship.
  • Highly creative people have been found to be more easily distracted than their peers, being more likely to pay attention to irrelevant information rather than filtering it out.
  • Though this seems like a disadvantage, it means they are actually taking in more information — more resources that can be used to generate ideas and solutions.
  • This subsequently makes creative thinkers more likely to think of a variety of potential solutions, rather than just the obvious one.

5. Don’t be afraid to take breaks

  • Taking a break may feel like giving in to potential distractions entirely, but smart breaks can provide a massive innovative boost.
  • To fuel innovation, taking a break can often come in the form of switching tasks.
  • Task switching has been found to improve cognitive flexibility, making you better able to adapt to different situations.
  • Mindful task switching can fuel innovation without hurting your productivity.
  • Switching tasks forces you to change the way you are thinking, allowing you to return to the original problem with a fresh perspective.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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