We sometimes assume that creative geniuses are born, not made. However, according to The Creativity Formula author, Dr Amantha Imber, the idea that you can only be creative if you were born that way is a myth.She says hundreds of scientific research studies have demonstrated that creativity is a skill that can be built up very easily, showing that only 30 per cent of creativity is genetically predetermined, with the remaining 70 per cent up to you.
Below Dr Imber outlines six research-based creativity boosters to help you on your way.
Look for the odd one out
Enhancing our ability to create new solutions to problems can be as simple as staring at an image for a couple of minutes. One study compared the ideas generated by people looking at a poster depicting an ‘odd one out’ image versus people seeing an image representing conformity. The ‘odd one out’ viewers came up with significantly more ideas, and were judged as being 25% more creative.
Clench your left hand
Psychology Professor Nicola Baumann set up an experiment where one group of people had to squeeze a ball with their left hand while the other group had to squeeze a ball with their right. It was found that this simple act of squeezing one’s left hand activated a brain circuit associated with thinking holistically and intuitively, and thus more creatively.
Turn up the volume
While silence is great for many different types of work, when it comes to innovation, research suggests you should turn up the volume. Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that 70 decibels (the sound level of a busy café or city street) is the optimal noise level for creativity. It leads to a greater amount of distraction compared to lower noise levels, and some distraction is important for creativity.
Participating in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise has been found to increase our ability to think creatively. And, our increased creative ability lasts for up to two hours post exercise.
Raise your eyebrows
Researchers at the University of Maryland theorised that facial expressions associated with widening and narrowing our visual perception affected creativity. They thought that broadening your visual field, such as raising your eyebrows, could increase performance on a creative thinking task. Participants in the study were asked to hold one of these expressions for two minutes, while completing a creative thinking task. The eyebrow-raising group generated significantly more original ideas and a greater quantity of ideas.
Wait until the morning before making decisions
Research suggests that we make far better decisions in the morning, when we have strong cognitive resources available to us. These resources deteriorate throughout the day with each decision we make. So the earlier in the day you make decisions, the better those decisions will be.
About the Author: Dr Amantha Imber
Dr Imber says that whether you see yourself as a highly creative thinker or someone who doesn’t have a creative bone in your body, by incorporating these simple changes you can turbo charge your creative thoughts. Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of innovation consultancy Inventium.