Written by Guest Blogger, Mariana C. Gonzalez.
At Schneider Electric, two of our SCOPE company values are embracing challenges and being open to new ideas and approaches. These values regard creative thinking as essential to not only coming up with new ways of delighting our customers, making our processes more efficient, and growing our business, but also of promoting employee well-being and work/life balance. In relocation, this creative thinking comes into play with respect to problem-solving throughout the execution of a move and developing continuous improvement initiatives. Our corporate culture in regards to creative thinking is such that employees are taught, through the multiple learning resources available to them, how to foster their creativity as well as how to make creative ideas take shape into doable and practical courses of action.
Below are some tips based on my experience and on the Schneider Electric e-learning resources that are specifically focused on enabling the emergence of creative ideas by adopting the right state of mind for this purpose. I have found these tips helpful in both my personal creative pursuits and in my professional role:
- Accept the discomfort: When faced with the need to come up with a creative solution, oftentimes we may feel anxious or uncomfortable. This is normal and the key to overcoming this state of mind is to accept it as part of the process. The search for a creative idea may be confusing and we need to accept this temporary confusion so that we are well positioned to explore in a fruitful way the question that the problem is presenting to us.
- Research and prepare: Acquire as much knowledge as you can about the question the problem poses. This will allow you to understand the nature of the challenge thoroughly and establish a framework from which new ideas can emerge. To come up with a new and creative idea, you need to understand what is
- Allow your mind to wander and explore: Do not obsess or worry about the problem and the need to come up with a solution. By having accepted the discomfort mentioned earlier, adopt a “relaxed attentiveness” and allow your unconscious mind to tackle the problem. Most important: trust yourself and your mind’s own creative nature.
- Try new ways of representing and approaching the question: Use a mind map or issue tree to represent from a different standpoint the question and the challenge it is presenting. You may also want to try drawings or picture boards. These means of expressing the question will allow you to see it in a more creative way.
- Be attentive to “whispers” from your unconscious mind: Keep a small notepad with you at all times to write down any ideas that may emerge throughout the day. These can be captured using words and/or drawings, diagrams, charts, symbols etc. Your unconscious mind can gently “whisper” an idea when you are most relaxed and receptive and when you least expect it, including while you are occupied with other tasks such as driving, washing dishes, gardening, cleaning, exercising, cooking etc. Ideas can also emerge during the state between waking and sleeping. The key is to be ready to receive these thoughts so they don’t sink back into the unconscious and you forget them. Do not dismiss any ideas at this stage; write them all down. You can evaluate them later.
At Schneider Electric, embracing challenges and being open to creative ideas for the benefit of our customers, our planet, and our business are part of what we do and who we are. Creative thinking is embedded in our corporate culture in ways which involve fostering the creativity of employees by making available to them relevant learning resources for this purpose as well as by rewarding and valuing their contribution.
About the Author
Mariana C. Gonzalez joined Schneider Electric in 2011. She is a Relocation Counselor and part of the North America Talent Acquisition and Mobility Organization. Since 2011, Marianna has overseen hundreds of relocations, which have included intra-US and intra-Canada moves as well as international relocations between the US and Canada; and from Mexico, China, India, Europe, and the Middle East to the US or Canada. She is a vegan primarily for moral reasons and secondly for environmental reasons. In her free time, Mariana enjoys making art with an animal rights message and engages in creative, abolitionist vegan advocacy. Feel free to check out her artwork at www.facebook.com/mcg.artwork and www.instagram.com/mcg.artwork/
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