Encouraging Creative Thought in your Partnership

Community groups in particular have a real knack of thinking creatively and finding unorthodox answers to problems.

And it is little wonder they are able to do so, given all the challenges faced by community groups – and, linked to them, community business partnerships - not only to achieve their goals, but simply to exist.

Some organisations or partnerships are lucky enough to have a leader who is able to think laterally or "outside the box". In other situations, it may be the entire committee, leadership group or key partnership drivers who harness their creativity through tossing ideas around the room.

Many believe thinking creatively cannot be taught – that you just have to have the "knack" of doing it. But often all that people need to think creatively is a supportive environment and a little encouragement.

  • Keep a fresh and active mind by having other interests outside your work or partnership (family, friends, hobbies, exercise or relaxation, etc).
  • Write down good ideas as they come to you.
    • Keep a notepad or an ideas journal handy to jot any ideas down.
  • Create a situation where people feel confident enough to express creative ideas.
    • Who's to know if the idea that will solve your partnership's problem will come from what may initially seems to be a "crazy" thought?
    • Encourage people to put forward these left-field ideas by:
      • Taking note of them.
      • Not deriding the idea, or the person who thought of it, because of its "craziness". Often the craziest idea opens the door to a line of thinking that can lead to an appropriate solution.
    • Going through and seriously considering the idea as you would those that are more straight down the line.
  • Take in as much information on a subject as you can.
  • Challenge your creative thinking by setting goals for any brain storming sessions you may have (such as a set number of ideas or a set timeframe within which to find a solution).
  • Establish some guidelines to judge the success of your creative thinking or ideas.
    • Do the ideas provide a solution? Is it a realistic solution? Do we have the resources or the money to be able to use that solution?
  • In considering each issue start with exercises, like answering the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
  • Then gather some other people together and put several brains on the problem and see if you can find an improved solution.