Creativity is necessary to be successful in business, both because so many companies want a slice of the market share pie, and because what consumers want is always dynamic. Creativity is not, however, something that's necessarily present by default. Sometimes you have to consciously make an effort to up your level of innovation and get outside the box. If your creativity needs a boost, these more unusual methods might help.
1. Mentally destroy stuff, including your company
In the 1990s, Jack Welch came up with an exercise called "Destroy Your Business.com". He asked managers to come up with as many ways to kill their projects and companies as possible. Then he turned the exercise around and asked the managers to counter the destructive concepts they had envisioned. The result was that the managers switched from the traditional, more offensive stance--that is, aggressively trying to attack competitors' weak points--to a defensive stance--that is, identifying weaknesses in their own business models so those models could be reconstructed before problems actually arose. You can use the same exercise to see your projects from multiple angles and make them as strong as possible.
2. Make like Janus
Janus was a god of ancient Rome who had two faces looking in the opposite direction. Thus, in "Janusian thinking", you put together multiple concepts that appear contradictory to arrive at a new, integrated and original whole. Once you've juxtaposed in this manner and come up with a paradox, try to establish an analogy for the paradox. The analogy often will hold the solution to whatever issue you're having. For example, if you need material for a product that's both strong and flexible, you might consider bamboo.
3. Apply the rule of minus one
Most people, business leaders included, get used to doing things a certain way with the same tools or sequence. Spur your creativity by subtracting one of the elements you normally take for granted. For instance, think about how you would design a microwave if you didn't have the hands to push the buttons on the controls.
New Methods, Lasting Business
One classic definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Thus, if you want to see a change in business creativity and keep your business around, try new strategies. You might just wow yourself with what happens.