How do you show creativity

Creativity: 10 tips and 5 no-gos for more ingenuity

Ingenuity and creativity - creativity is an indispensable and important core competence in our time. It is the driving force behind every innovative idea. We have put together ten dos and five donts for you that show you how to promote and train your creativity.

Creativity: What defines ingenuity

Creativity: What defines ingenuity

Creativity is the new in-word. Wherever you look, creativity goes down well. It creates innovations and alternative solutions to problems. Nowadays, specialist knowledge is no longer sufficient in many industries and professions. A creative spirit is more and more in demand - and new ideas and problem solutions should also be unconventional.

Not everyone has the talent to always be one step ahead of the others and to think creatively and exceptionally without interruption. Nevertheless, creativity is a skill that has never been more in demand in professional life than it is today. But how do you get creative?

Creativity (lat. creatio = Creation) describes the ability and quality of a person to think unconventionally, to come up with new and original ideas and to develop problem solutions that are also useful. Creativity as a competence that is demanded and promoted in many professions is practice-related and means the applicability in certain situations, i.e. the ability to use one's creativity in a controlled manner in relation to a certain repertoire of knowledge. The creativity is goal-oriented and follows a certain orientation and direction.

The four creative building blocks

The American scientist Mel Rhodes is one of the most important creativity researchers. As early as the 1960s, he was concerned with the factors that significantly influence our creativity. In doing so, he found four basic elements that make up creativity and which are still valid today:

The creative person: The person encompasses the broad field of personal requirements and character traits. These include personality, intellect, temperament, habits and behaviors, the components of which either promote or inhibit creativity.

The creative process: The process includes the aspects of motivation, learning and thinking skills, perception and the way of communication.

The creative product: The product is also the idea at the same time - a spiritual, immaterial or visible one - and arises in a creative process (creatio). The product is a tangible idea and therefore an invention.

The creative environment: The creative environment includes all factors in the environment that influence creativity. The relationship between the person and their environment plays an important role.

The four elements of creativity show, on the one hand, that the creative spirit is already anchored in us as potential, that is, it is inscribed in our personality. On the other hand, there are many components and possibilities through which we can train and learn creativity as a competence and skill.

10 tips for more ingenuity

The following tips will help you to specifically promote your creativity. If you pay attention to certain things and you are aware of which aspects promote or even inhibit your creativity, you can train, optimize and use your creative energy in a targeted manner.

Get away from the routine

Get away from the routine

Everyday life goes hand in hand with the routine of every person. And routine means that creativity falls by the wayside. To train your creativity, you can start in everyday life. Think about what would optimize your everyday life and look for creative problem solutions.

An example can already be the alarm clock, which grabs your last nerve every morning. Instead of just accepting the routine and letting him ring ten times in a row, whereupon you jump to work under stress and time pressure, you can break it. Find an unconventional solution to the problem that has become a habit in everyday life.

Breaking out of the routine means not going the way you are used to. Don't be a creature of habit anymore. Try to find new possibilities and alternatives. Look for an alarm clock alternative that will prevent you from oversleeping. For example, use a wake-up system that forces you to get up immediately. For example an app that is linked to your radio, television or light switch so that you cannot oversleep. The example shows that many have grappled with the problem and that innovative ideas have already found their way into our everyday lives.

Do: Break out of your usual thinking patterns and be open to new ideas.

Curiosity and enthusiasm

If there is little curiosity and enthusiasm, there is also a lack of motivation to develop something new and original. The key to success for creativity lies above all in enthusiasm. It can also relate to something that has been draining your nerve for a while, as long as it arouses your passion. This creates an intrinsic motivation, i.e. a motivation that grows of its own accord and is based on the matter itself. This ensures the fun factor and personal initiative. In contrast, listlessness and disinterest inhibit the ability to think.

Do: Think about what drives you. Curiosity and enthusiasm are prerequisites for creative thinking.

Accept uncertainty

In contrast to conforming thinking, creative thinking is always insecure. Ambiguity tolerance is the important keyword in this context. This means the ability to accept ambiguities and contradictions. Creative solutions are often developed in processes. Discrepancies and ambiguities are part of this and are often the starting point for new, innovative ideas.

If a system is secure and compliant, there are few opportunities for new creations. If, on the other hand, uncertainties and disruptive factors are created, the potential for variables that enable new and innovative ideas and solutions also increases.

Do: Create uncertainties and disruptive factors. Do not be discouraged by them, but see the numerous possibilities that arise.

Spontaneity and flexibility

Spontaneity and flexibility

In any case, spontaneity is part of creativity. Anyone who sticks to familiar order patterns and clings to regularities and plans inhibits their creativity. If new paths and possibilities arise during the creative process, then take these as an opportunity. The art of improvising can help you come up with an innovative new idea faster than you thought.

Do: Orientate yourself on the results and opportunities that arise during the creative process and be flexible and spontaneous in your approach.

Self-reflection and critical ability

Free thinking is required to be creative. That means to free yourself from fixed thought patterns and to go into yourself. When the mind is stagnant and you are stuck, it often helps to question yourself to find a way out of the block:

  • What is the exact problem I am facing?
  • Are there any other options?
  • What might I have overlooked or done wrong?

Precise self-reflection is usually helpful. A different approach opens up new perspectives. Critical ability is particularly important for this. The eyes of others allow one to see the process from a different angle.

Do: Approach your creative process in a self-reflective manner and see the ability to criticize as an opportunity to learn and change your perspective. After all, four eyes can see more than two.

The morphological box

The morphological box is a tried and tested creativity technique. In doing so, you will find solutions to problems through well-ordered thought structures. It's about breaking down an existing problem into its individual components. Then an ingenious combination is used to see how the individual parts fit together best, so that the problem is eliminated. This includes the following aspects:

  • think about all possible solutions
  • try out new combinations of what already exists
  • create new variables that open up many new possibilities
  • Listing in the form of a table to visualize the possibilities
  • Tables enable various parameters, features or factors to be set up in an orderly manner and thus open up new solutions

The word box stands for the matrix in the form of a table that is developed using the various variables. A systematic approach and clear thinking structures reveal new possible solutions that were previously unthinkable. Even small combinations in the matrix or table can result in various innovative ideas.

Do: The morphological box enables you to control the creative process in a targeted manner. Visualizations through tables help in the development of ideas, since variables and potentialities as well as possible combinations can be shown here.

Free associations: brainstorming

Brainstorming is a well-known creativity technique. Most of them have already gained experience with it at school. The basic idea of ​​brainstorming is to gather all the information on a given topic. The thoughts gush out of you unfiltered and unsorted. This means that there are no limits to creativity. When looking at the thought conglomerate, new creative ideas can arise. The cornucopia of unfiltered associations also enables different, initially unconnected or disjointed thoughts to be combined.

Do: Say goodbye to order and system. Write everything you can think of on your topic, incoherently and unfiltered, on a large piece of white paper.

Mind map: the ordered thoughts

Mind map: the ordered thoughts

There are no limits to the creation of mind maps, whether with colored pencils and felt-tip pens on a large piece of paper or in an online program. Mind maps are a great way to organize and systematize thoughts (of brainstorming). In the end, your mind map should resemble a map - with islands, bridges, different colors and characteristics. The English wordat least means all your thoughts, which are then on the map = Map to be visualized.

What defines a mind map:

  • The main theme is in the middle
  • Part and sub-topics that start from the central point
  • Branches indicate connections
  • Color highlighting
  • Connection of creativity and structure
  • Outlines become visible
  • Important and unimportant topics become apparent (identification by, for example, the thickness and thinness of the branches / connections or the intensity of the color)
  • Images can help visualization and create new associations
  • Network-like knowledge structure

A mind map should never be considered "finished". It can always be expanded as required and leaves no limits to creativity. If you pay attention to all of these points, you will end up with a much clearer picture of your thoughts. There are also ways to create group mind maps. For example, all the things that were collected during the group brainstorming can be systematized in a mind map.

Do: Systematize your unfiltered thoughts (brainstorming) in a mind map. Through the visualization you stimulate your thought process and give your creative thoughts order and system.

Environment: perception and change of location

The environment is an important factor influencing creativity. This has numerous consequences for the promotion and inhibition of creative thinking. Focus on creating or looking for an environment in which you feel comfortable and free. Pay attention to the following:

  • comfortable room temperature
  • the right light
  • appealing room interior / furnishings
  • Noise / volume
  • fresh air and smell

Even when creative thinking takes place in the head, the smallest changes in the environment can have a major impact on us. If you lack ideas and you notice a blockage inside you, then a change of location is exactly the right thing. Researchers have found that it is precisely in phases in which the brain is not focused that creative ideas arise and problem solutions are developed. When we let go and focus on the change of location, the brain works in the subconscious and lets associations run wild. This is where creative thoughts often slumber.

Extreme changes of location often help to stimulate creativity, such as:

  • from the dreary office into the green nature
  • out of the quiet loneliness at the desk into the overcrowded tram
  • Extensive showering is not only balm for the soul, but also promotes the unconscious flow of thoughts and thus boosts creativity
  • A little small talk - especially with strangers - gives wings to the world of thought

Do: Create the right framework for your creativity and change locations more often. Be calm with inner blockages. Consciously create periods of rest. This often solves many problems and opens up new starting points.


Communication is often the driving force behind creative ideas. Exchanging ideas together results in completely new thinking structures: You break out of your usual patterns and discover new paths. This results in new chains of associations. Your colleagues will not only be an asset to you. You too will become a positive influencing factor for your colleagues. Working together on an idea increases motivation all by itself. The feeling of being part of a community supports the drive and initiative.

Do:Diversity is an important keyword. Together it is easier to break out of habitual thought patterns and routines. Consciously create tension in the system. Disturbing factors and lateral thinkers in particular create differences and uncertainties, which encourage rethinking and thinking differently. Heterogeneous groups, which consist of different characters, with different skills and specialist competencies, are more likely to lead to success than homogeneous groups.

5 no-gos that inhibit your creativity

If you follow the tips mentioned above, you can practice and promote your creativity in a targeted manner. But it is also important to know what to avoid. We have put together five mistakes for you that inhibit your creativity and that you can avoid.

Differentiate purposefulness from persistence

Differentiate purposefulness from persistence

If you want to achieve a goal, it is important to be focused and ambitious. In doing so, however, many forget that doggedness inhibits the work process and creativity. You work best when you approach the matter calmly from time to time. Resting phases help the subconscious to process information. This often creates creative ideas all by themselves.

Don’t: Say goodbye to doggedness. Be calm when there are stones in your way.

Beware of group work

Entering a creative process in direct group work can often have an inhibiting effect. Because even before you can make your own thoughts and associations on the topic, all the thoughts and ideas of your colleagues are pounding on you. This will influence you in a certain direction right from the start.

If you miss the moment for independent thought processes, you can no longer return to the point at which you might have developed completely different ideas. It is better to take your time right at the beginning to let your spontaneous ideas run free before you start group work.

Don’t: Do not enter the process of creative discovery directly with your group. First, focus on yourself and your associations and ideas on a particular topic.

Get discouraged

So many geniuses and inventors have always reported that people did not initially believe in them or their idea. If Reich-Ranicki had the power to decide on the Nobel Prize for Literature, would Günter Grass have received one? Hardly likely. Many also doubted the future-changing power of Edison's light bulb and did not consider his invention to be socially acceptable. Edison himself failed many times before his breakthrough. New, innovative and original often find as many skeptics as people who believe in the idea. It is important not to be discouraged and to see the avant-garde in you.

Don’t: Don't get discouraged and believe in yourself and your creative idea. See in yourself the pioneer and do not let yourself be dissuaded from your path.


The pursuit of perfection and the search for the one correct answer are true suppressors of creativity. If there are many possible answers, all the better. The multitude of possible combinations increases the chances of new and original ideas. Don't just look at the one goal, but focus on the process of developing ideas.Let yourself go in new ways, even if there is a risk of failure. See it as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and.

Don’t: Don't be perfectionist. That quickly blinds you to the obvious. Be open to new paths, even if there is a risk of failure. Question the simplest things and see them as an opportunity to find out new things.

time pressure

Many are convinced that they only have the best ideas and can work best when they are short of time. Say goodbye to this myth. Time pressure even inhibits creativity. Innovative ideas take time. Often they are not a flash of inspiration, but rather develop slowly in our subconscious. In addition, immersion in matter is extremely important to the process of invention. And that takes time too.

Don’t: Do not let yourself be pressured. Ideas take time.

Creativity: a question of attitude

Creativity: a question of attitude

The dos and don'ts show that creativity has a lot to do with one's own attitude and attitude. If you are open, positive and believe in your own creativity, it will be much easier for you to open your thoughts. Especially in the framework, i.e. all factors that affect the environment, you have a lot of leeway and opportunities to promote your ingenuity. With all the public and professional pressure for the core competence of creativity, never lose your composure and calm. Relaxation phases and breaks help to process information in the subconscious. Who knows, you might think of your creative problem solving or innovative idea at the next shower or while taking a train ride.

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