You need creative ideas to improve your business. People perform many activities by sheer habit. A habit is second nature as a habit if not resisted soon become necessity.
Habits develop over a time. Some times we continue doing an activity as a routine but the reason for doing so is no longer exits. Creativity is breaking away from habitually doing things and finding a better and easier way of doing the same.
For generating creative ideas you have to be inquisitive. A questioning attitude towards each and every activity helps you to find better and creative ways of doing things. When you see something is done some one in your office or work please ask yourself to probe;
a) What is he doing?
b) Why is it necessary and what for it is done?
c) When is it done and can it be done at a different time?
d) Where is it done and should it be done there?
e) How is it done and can it be done in any other way?
f) Who does it and can it be done by some one else?
g) How much does it cost can the cost be saved by finding a different way?
The above listed mind probing questions will lead to thoughts of finding better ways of doing things by simplifying and improving the ways of doing things, discarding activities that serve no useful purpose but done as a habit and be easily avoided, changing the place of doing it for effectiveness and finding cost saving alternative etc.
By developing such analytical thinking you mind will help you to create and innovate better methods. The application of creative thinking will help you to be more result oriented than task oriented in conducting your business. Thereby, you will begin to think of different ways of achieving same results.
You will always look for simplifying or combining work for better results. You may proceed to automate time consuming manual tasks by using software programs, electronic devises etc., for speedier and better results of course. This investigative approach will also lead to the elimination of irrelevant activities without affecting the results.
Your objective analysis may also lead you to observe whether operations can be improved by rhythmic motion that ensures a smooth, symmetrical, convenient, stress free way of doing things. Your creative thinking will also lead to find out whether the efficiency of an activity is improved by making the posture of the one performing comfortable, by better lighting, by better seating, by using better equipments and tools etc.
You can similarly review analytically whether your business filing system in use and storage systems can be improved, can color coding be used where necessary for easier identification of items.
Also such thinking will guide you to evaluate whether the things frequently used are located near the point of use, can the time for searching things be shortened, can unusable things be thrown away saving space and time, can items used like paper, pens, materials etc., be changed to less costly ones, can items used be recycled at low cost for repeated use, whether the stocks of items are adequate or excessive, can the skill levels of your staff and workers be improved etc.
The same creative thinking for improvement can be instilled in your subordinates too. Then they will also suggest improvements. You can encourage them by introducing a suggestion scheme so that they can propose innovative improvements. You can award prizes to the best implemented suggestions. A suggestion has to be implemented to be of value.
This system of continuous improvement through innovative focus is very effective in practice. It is used by the Japanese and their industrial success bears testimony to its success. This methodology of looking for results through continuous improvement is called Kaizen.
The practice of Kaizen by the participation of you and your staff, helps to improve your business on a continuous basis step by step will certainly lead to enhanced productivity and higher efficiency and significant cost savings.