In the recent article, “4 Ways to Find Inspiration Everywhere,” Fast Company shared this quote from Christina E. Shalley, Ph.D., organizational behavior professor at Georgia Institute of Technology: “Everybody can be creative in certain ways. You need to find that outlet that brings it out in you.”

At Disney Institute, we, too, believe that everyone is creative. Inspired by Dr. Shalley, we thought we’d share our perspective on the keys to mining inspiration.

  1. Challenge your preconceived notions

We are all creative…the problem is that we spend a great deal of time fostering the left hand side of our brains with things like words and language, logic, numbers, reality-based ideas, and paying strong attention to the details. If we spend some time also fostering the right side of our brain, we move to whole brain thinking which is ultimately more creative. Spend some time with your imagination, using symbols and images rather than language, taking risks, and looking at the “big picture” to nurture your right brain. The two sides together are a pretty powerful tool because they were designed to work together.

Remember that creativity is not always about the “big idea.” The majority of the creative work you can do today just may around incremental improvements that arise from the creativity surrounding the projects you are working on daily.

  1. Plan creativity-stoking sessions

When you are developing new ideas, there are some conditions that must be met in order to achieve the best results. You have to have great raw ingredients, and these include the people that you invite to a creativity session (maybe it’s the unlikely folks who attend) and the information that is provided about the session itself. You must also have great tools to utilize in the creative process. Look for new ways to brainstorm, like “pass the paper” and “pick a card.” Finally, if there isn’t trust within the organization, it’s difficult to come up with the best ideas. Foster trust each day in your organization so when it comes time to have those creative sessions, everyone feels comfortable contributing.

  1. Change up routine regularly

Don’t always invite the same people to ideation sessions. Mix it up! In fact, if you allow people in your organization to self-opt in and out of the creative process, you’ll get ideation sessions where everyone in the room is excited to give ideas. Bring people into your creative process that you’ve never included before; it really builds your organization. Suddenly, you find you have a big group of people who have worked in creative sessions in a cross-functional way learning more about other parts of the organization. When they get back to your department, they are more knowledgeable about what everyone in the organization does and can bring that new expertise to your part of the organization.

  1. Find what creates “mind” space for you 

Ideas from external sources to your organization will provide an environment where you are open to ideas coming from anywhere. This includes social media, other organizations like yours, other industries or trade publications that might not be in your vertical or segment. Sometimes, it might be talking to people. Talk to your customers to get raw feedback about your products and services to inspire you to think differently about what you do every day. 

What inspires you to think differently?

Published on: Feb 4, 2014