Tech mistake |Managers are often called upon to make critical decisions that determine the direction of a project or product. Solving difficult or tricky problems is par for the course when coming up with solutions. In these situations managers must dig deep by tapping into a well of creativity.

Creativity is a concept that few managers learn how to completely embrace. This is because there is a misconception that creativity tends to be reckless and not very serious. However, creativity is a powerful idea developer that can make the task of problem solving so much easier. This is why the best managers use creative management techniques to stimulate innovation and positive organizational change.

Five Creative Management Techniques

1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a simple concept that requires participants to let go of the status quo mentality. Effective brainstorming at its core is like playing a free word association game. A word or phrase is written out and random ideas are listed as they come to mind. Anyone can speak or write an idea without fear of criticism. There is no right or wrong with this exercise. The purpose is to get as many ideas as possible. The big list of ideas is then whittled down to the few standouts.

2. Attribute Listing

A popular creativity tool used by many R&D departments is attribute listing. Start by taking a product, service or organized system and break it down into separate attributes. Think of everything that it does and any benefits or features. Place all the attributes into categories. Next, brainstorm ways that each attribute can be modified or improved.

3. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a fantastic visual technique that allows you to see at a glance all of the new ideas stemming from a core concept. You can learn mind mapping by doing an  NJIT online MBA in management information systems. The end results look similar to a road map. Begin by placing the main topic in the center. You can circle it to make it more prominent. Use multiple colored markets to draw separate lines outward from the center topic. Each line represents a different subtopic that is related to the main one.

Each subtopic can have its own subtopics with corresponding lines. Imagine the typical family tree diagram. A mind map is like adding on more members to a family of interconnected ideas. Mind maps are a fun way to look at all angles.

4. Provocations

Provocations are silly statements made about common things that everyone knows are not true. For example, a typical provocation may be “Computers are no longer allowed for creating presentations.” This gets everyone thinking outside the box. What alternatives can be used for presentations?

Answers to these types of questions lead to creative ideas.

5. Reversal

Everyone has assumptions about how things should work. This makes it difficult to be creative. Therefore, use the reversal technique to challenge those assumptions. Take the opposite position. Flip a problem or solution on its head and see it in another light.

Your company has a great new product idea. What could go wrong with it?

Start thinking. Maybe you can put to use one of these Five Creative Management Techniques yourself?