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Create a discipline to become more creative

Sharing thoughts with our clients Nicolas and Christophe the other day, we discussed the very interesting topic of how to find time, as an entrepreneur, to be creative. We had invited Christophe and Nicolas offsite for a Design Thinking session and Christophe said the mere fact of being offsite and walking through the city with Nicolas allowed them to think and discuss, what is normally hard to do in their daily routines.

I then realized that we had set up a creativity booster in our IntoTheMinds routine: we visit once a month a new city, in a different country, to spot new trends, interview entrepreneurs and get inspired by them. It has now become so anchored in our habits that we don’t question the necessity of it anymore; we prepare the visits, research the places where something new has been seen or can be seen, we search about new concepts worth the visit, contact entrepreneurs to set up meeting to share experiences.

We are always amazed to see how positive entrepreneurs’ reactions might be when someone comes from far away to learn from them. This is really what we do. All those guys have wonderful stories to tell. These stories are not always positive; they also recount the hurdles of the entrepreneurial process. But all of them are enriching and help us literally boost our creative potential.

A 1 or 2-hour discussion with an entrepreneur forces you to go beyond what you see. Suddenly you’re getting explanations for what you see; suddenly it becomes obvious why things are how they are. The discussion forces you to dig deeper and this is what most people DON’T do.

Most people see things, may be amazed by what they see, but it stops there. They lack the discipline to think about what they have seen and to question themselves about why things are like they are.

Advice to be more creative

Being curious is certainly one pre-requisite for being creative. You need to be willing to see and learn a lot to get a chance to be creative. Yet, creativity is not a gift. I believe it’s a discipline.

Your routine should include moments to fuel your creativity. It may take the form of a monthly trip to attend conferences in your field, to have meetings with your pairs abroad, to get off with your partner to discuss upcoming issues and opportunities. Your routine can also include filling up your idle moments of the week by reflecting on your thoughts and the new things you came across. This is actually what I’m doing right now. The 5000 monthly readers of our blog are an external force that pushes me to reflect and push forward my thoughts. If I’m doing it, you can do it too. It’s not only good for your SEO (honestly I don’t really care); but it’s also a therapy and amazing way to progress on a personal viewpoint. I’m convinced that writing can become a catalyst to make you a better professional and a better individual.

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Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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