Cultivating Creativity in Working Adults

Creativity is actually more habit than happenstance and there are methods to go about in coming up with new ideas or solutions to problems.

Over the years we have come to acknowledge that creativity isn’t something you inherit. Creativity is something you can cultivate at any age and we will show you how.

Creativity is a much-prized trait that most employers look for in candidates. In the race to advance into Industrie 4.0 or to introduce the next innovation to the world, we pin our hopes on creative thinking and individuals who are adept at it.

There’s a misconception among many that creativity is random, like a flurry of good ideas rushing about in your head or mere coincidence. Creativity is actually more habit than happenstance and there are methods to go about in coming up with new ideas or solutions to problems.

Some no-frills techniques to boost employees in creative thinking

  1. Brainstorming: You would have heard this before and chances are this is the first step most people take when coming up with new ideas. It was developed by Alex Osborn co-founder of the advertising agency, BBDO.
  2. Mind Mapping: A visual tool that helps organise information, revealing relationships and connections between ideas for someone to understand things better at a quicker pace.
  3. Checklists: Creating a list of questions with: ‘Why, Where, When, Who, What and How’ an answering them is one of the most fundamental ways to gather information that helps in problem-solving
  4. 6 Thinking Hats: Edward de Bono (also the father of Lateral Thinking) invented the hats a popular technique that is used to teach students creative writing. The 6 Hats and their (Roles) are: White (Facts), Red (Emotions), Black (Judgment), Yellow (Logic), Green (Creativity) and Blue (Control). The ‘Hats’ are associated with a different direction of thinking. It can be used to help problem solve, coming up with new ideas, overcoming a roadblock or assisting you to make an optimal decision
  5. S.C.A.M.P.E.R: Created by Bob Eberle, the acronym stands for: Substitute. Combine. Adapt. Modify. Put to another Use. Eliminate. Reverse. S.C.A.M.P.E.R is used for ‘thinking out of the box’ situations. If you observed, it’s a collection of thinking techniques that we usually employ subconsciously
  6. S.W.O.T Analysis: Strength. Weakness. Opportunities. Threats. This is a strategic planning technique found most commonly in business textbooks and most used in a corporate setting. It doesn’t have to be only used when starting a business/new service. You can use the matrix during a brainstorming session too.
  7. Lateral Thinking: Problems are mostly solved in a linear fashion (effect and cause). This is where Lateral Thinking steps in to re-examine the issue ‘sideways’ in an unconventional angle.

You could even change your surroundings to promote creativity. Get out, go out, take a break and come back to the table. There are plenty of other methods you can use to solve problems innovatively and systematically. These techniques can also be used to nurture collaboration in teams.

In the process of creative thinking, we tend to discover new ways of doing things that enhance productivity and connectivity.

While we’re familiar that new ways of thinking lead us on to better work processes, ‘connectivity’ may come across a bit vague to most people.

Connectivity is a by-product of network thinking. Using the principle of how connectivity works, network thinking complements creative thinking by helping us recognise patterns of connections to navigate across networks in a nonlinear manner.

We ask our Associate Director Experience Design, Jan Pautsch in our Cogs Berlin office on his take on why creativity is necessary in our world today.

Jan Pautsch


“We shape our future actively and creatively, it’s not something that we passively expect – and yet there is not one possible future, but many. We face wicked problems in all spheres of our business-lives (A terminology from design – which can be applied to all areas were interdependent factors making problems seem impossible to solve. Click here to read more.). When these challenges can no longer be solved with conventional methods and processes. Creativity and Network Thinking becomes key.”

Creativity is a differentiator and this is why it’s a valuable asset to companies that operate in today’s competitive global market.

Does being creativity equal to innovation?

So if you hire natural-born creative talents are you going to be the next Apple, Google, Tencent or Space X?

Creativity is not innovation.

While they both involve new ideas, they’re different despite being used interchangeably in conversations. Drew Marshall draws the line here.

Creativity is ideation and Innovation is implementation.

Some people attribute creativity as the foundation for innovation. This surprises others that associate innovation with the fields of science, technology and engineering. As we have uncovered above, creative thinking has structure and is anything but chaos. Logic, reason, rationality and curiosity are characteristics that fuel creative thinking and key to scientific success.

A scientist in history once said, “The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skills. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”

That scientist is no other than Albert Einstein.

Still, think that creativity is limited to creative talents?


If you’re looking for a creative job, click here. You may also reach out to any of our Cogs consultants specialising in creative talent search:

London: Beth Harries, Claire Sadler, Loris Shala, Matt Woods, George Neale, Thomas Burgess

Berlin: Jan PautschAnna Pokhylko

Hong Kong: Charlotte Cheung, Emily Chan

China: Karen Zhou

Singapore: Amreen Rahman, Felicia Ng

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