Creativity may come naturally to some people, but even if you're not naturally inclined to exercise creativity easily, there are ways to develop habits to improve your abilities to brainstorm, create, and innovate.
There are few things you can do to allow creativity to flow in your daily life. Once you develop some habits it won't take as much work getting warmed up to the creative process. Here are some ideas that may help developing creativity:
Always have some way to record your ideas wherever you might be. Capturing ideas can be half the battle at times. You can create an old-school analog system or go with tech. Either way, have a way to jot down or record ideas when they are fresh, and revisit them often.
Whenever you are practicing a new skill or talent, you need time to practice. Schedule some focused and purposeful time to brainstorm, create, or innovate. You can schedule a meeting with a group or team, or just time alone. Either way, set aside some time and stick to it. Consider setting "idea quotas" for yourself. (Michalko, pg. 12) For example, set a creativity goal like: "Jot down 5 new ideas every day." This can be free-form or based on a theme.
Before you go off on a search for the best and greatest app to help with note taking or brainstorming, start with the basics and learn how to be creative with the traditional paper / pen or marker / whiteboard. There are times when technology can truly enhance our productivity. However:
Ask a number of people whether or not brainstorming can be performed alone or if it should be a group activity, you'll likely get different answers. Technically, brainstorming is a group activity. However, in a pinch you can certainly spend time reflecting on a topic or question by yourself and jot down notes like you would with a group. To make the most of the brainstorming process you should consider including other people in the process and possibly also have someone else, preferably with experience, facilitate the process.
At the very least you should have a pad of paper (or a white board) and something to write with. You might also want to have flipcharts, butcher paper, Post-it notes, or index cards. Consider color-coding ideas by using different colors for paper or pens / markers.
Before starting to brainstorm, establish some rules so that everyone involved knows what to expect. Here are some tried-and-true brainstorming ground rules:
Grab some paper, a journal, a planner, index cards, or some post-it notes. Just get your ideas on paper.
Please see the note regarding technology and creativity...
You probably already have apps on your own phone or other devices that you can use to record notes. Check out the apps included, or try one of these: