Thinking outside the box and coming up with new, fresh ideas can be scary, often requiring people to take chances.
“Bravery is really important,” Gert Garman, director of the Collaborative Design Center at Valencia College, told attendees during Wednesday’s keynote address at the CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference. “The opposite of bravery is not cowardice. It’s conformity. So go be brave.”
When facing a task that requires an innovative approach, she advised attendees, consider:
• Borrowing ideas from others and applying them to your own issue. For example, if you’re looking for a creepy feel at a Halloween-themed event, ask psychiatrists, cemetery workers, or jailers for their input.
• Listing the rules surrounding your challenge. Ask “what if” questions and then break—or bend—those rules to come up with a solution.
• Asking kids. Kids are creative and think about things in different ways. Ask them how they would approach your challenge.
• Asking yourself, “What would we never do or what would we get fired for?” Then take that idea and mold it to fit your challenge in a way that allows you to keep your job.
• Finding a creative space to distract your brain. Give yourself time to think through your problem.
This could take place in a quiet space in your office, while going for a run, or before you fall asleep at night. Some of the best ideas come to us during the moments when our brains are relaxed.
Having unplanned conversations with strangers. Talk to the person next to you on an airplane or subway. You never know what will result.
“Anytime you’re about to do something innovative, you get butterflies,” said Garman, a former credit union marketer. “That’s your gut telling you to be brave.”
But if those butterflies in your stomach make you feel uncomfortable instead of brave, Garman suggested four tips to be brave: