Thinking creatively

Creative thinking is the process by which individuals come up with new ideas or new approaches to business. New ideas could result in a new product - for example, a games console. They could also result in a new process that cuts costs or improves quality - for example, a bagless vacuum cleaner.

Fresh ideas give businesses a competitive advantage and help make their goods or services stand out in the market place.

Entrepreneurs can make use of several different thinking techniques to improve their creativity:

  • Lateral thinking or thinking outside the box. An example of this would be breaking down the steps taken to serve coffee in a café and asking 'why' at each step to see if a better process can be created.
  • Deliberate creativity uses thinking techniques to spark off new ideas. For example, putting on different thinking hats to tackle problems from different angles. 'White-hat' thinking looks at facts and 'black-hat' thinking looks at drawbacks.
  • Blue-sky thinking involves a group of people looking at an opportunity with fresh eyes. As many ideas as possible are generated in an ideas generation session, where no ideas are rejected as silly.
Entrepreneurs can use lateral thinking, deliberate creativity and blue-sky thinking techniques for generating new ideas and solutions

Part of the process of thinking creatively and coming up with a new business idea is to ask the right questions. For example, looking at a successful product and asking - why, why not, how, where, when, what, what if?