There are certain phrases we all grow up hearing: “You can be anything you want to be.” “Anything is possible.” “The only limit is your imagination.” They sound great until you’re in the throes of a major project and your creativity is failing you, or you find out your dream job is incredibly difficult to get.
So who’s right: dreamers or skeptics? In particular, is there a limit to innovation and creativity, or are the possibilities endless?
Creativity and Innovation: Is There a Limit?
In the battle of dreamers vs. skeptics, the truth is somewhere in the middle. There’s not a finite number of creative ideas getting used up every day. In that way, there’s no hard stop “limit” to creativity and innovation.
Truth be told, though, there are roadblocks and challenges that stand in your way. There might not be enough funding to find out if an innovation is practical, for example. Maybe you don’t have time for exploring different, more creative avenues.
Then there’s the biggie: human energy. Between all our responsibilities and stresses in life or at work, it’s easy to just run out of the mental energy you need to unleash your inner creative.
Tips for Sparking Innovation and Creativity
I’ll be the first to admit to some crippling periods of writer’s block, and it’s happened to all of us. You have a project that demands true ingenuity but your creativity just isn’t flowing. These are my top tips for breaking through and empowering the innovation you know is there.
Get Inspired by Others
Creative people have a way of infecting you with their energy and innovation, so use it! Follow creative Instagram accounts that pique your inner artist or inventor. Schedule a coffee date with those friends who are always working on something cool, inspiring you to do the same.
Change the Scenery
I’ve been known to shatter a writer’s block or two with a bathroom break or walk around the block. Sitting in one place too long can stagnate your mind, so switch it up. It could be surprising how easily you can create innovation and spark great work by getting into the mindset of doing something different.
Be Ready to Jump
Great ideas always strike at the least convenient times. It’s the bane of every creative’s existence. That is, until you combat this universal cruelty by finding easy ways to capture ideas on the go.
Note-taking apps on smartphones have helped, but I always used to forget about them because I didn’t use those apps otherwise. By the time I happened upon the note I took while I was out and about, it was useless.
Instead, try a cloud-based storage drive for innovation management. Make sure it has a mobile app too or mobile-friendly user experience features. Use this as your storage drive for anything project-related including on-the-go notes so everything’s in one place and great ideas never slip through the cracks again.
Research What’s Been Done
Trying to innovate a particular type of product or service? Dig into what already exists. Do a deep dive to see what tools or products exist and what needs they serve. Most importantly, figure out what they’re lacking. That’s a perfect springboard to finding creative ways to fill in those gaps and leap over your competitors’ shoulders.
Unleashing Your Creativity and Innovation
In the technical sense, there’s no limit to your spectacular innovation and creativity. There are, however, potholes that will make for rocky progress at any step of the way. Instead of beating yourself up any time you stumble, use my tricks above to stand back up and find a way around them.