LEADERSHIP IN TIMES OF DIGITALIZATION

How to be more creative in an unusual yet simple way

As you may have experienced yourself, achieving lateral thinking is difficult. Yet it is much needed. We reveal to you an unusual yet simple technique that could help you overcome your personal struggles with creativity.

 

It's needless to say that thinking outside the box has become one of the ultimate ways to stand out as a company. In fact, more than 1500 CEOs stated in a global IBM survey that creativity is the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future (IBM 2010 Global CEO Study). Creative leaders are considered to be more comfortable with ambiguity, and are therefore more capable of changing the current company for the better and to encourage innovation. But despite its necessity, being creative is easier said than done.

So here is one unusual yet simple creativity technique that could help you overcome your personal struggles with creativity: dreamstorming.

Dreamstorming: tapping into the brain´s hidden creativity

The term brainstorming is one we're mostly familiar with, but did you ever hear of dreamstorming? As dreams help you process daily life experiences in a rather unconventional way, they also facilitate lateral thinking. Therefore, if you want to solve a specific issue, think of it just before you go to sleep.

The steps are the following:

Think of the current status. Keep in mind that you shouldn't try to solve it right away, just think of it.

Set up an alarm to wake up in a 90 minutes cycle (i.e. after 90, 180, 270… minutes), that's when your sleep is on REM (Rapid Eye Movement) mode. During this stage, you are dreaming intensively, and your brain often consumes more oxygen (in other terms, energy) than during times where you actively think of a problem!

 

Immediately after waking up, write down all you have dreamt about, regardless of how absurd your dream seemed at first. You will be surprised that some elements of the issue appear in some form or another, becoming aware of connections your dream made without you ever thinking about them!

 

Thomas Edison for instance practiced dreamstorming when he wanted to come up with fresh ideas. He did it by simply holding weighs in his hands, making himself comfortable in a chair, and slowly falling asleep. The sound of the weighs falling on the floor would abruptly wake him up from his semi sleep state, allowing him to connect with his thought. This would result in immediate inspiration sparked by the ideas he got.

The power of dreams was no mystery for Thomas Edison!

While dreamstorming is an efficient creativity technique, there are plenty more. As recent studies show, mind-wandering has also been proved beneficial to divergent thinking. In general, drifting off is actually a good way to take distance from a specific thought, to think of other things that can actually turn out to be helpful or insightful in regards to your initial thought.

So if you're struggling coming up with fresh ideas and perspectives in regards to a specific issue of yours, let's give it a shot and tap into your subconscious for new insights!

 

About the author: Stella Veneziano

Currently doing her Masters at EMLyon Business School, Stella Veneziano is a curious and open-minded person who is particularly passionnate about social innovation. As Global Operations Manager at the NGO Ampion for instance, she fully organized the "Venture Bus" tours through several African regions, a 7-day incubation program for entrepreneurs. Today, she is responsible for the Future of Leadership Initiative, whose aim to foster inspiring leadership.

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