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Everyday I do the same routine task or assigned work, but in an effort to feel more energetic and enthusiastic, I would like to do the same routine stuff in a more interesting or innovative way.

I am eager to start practicing this, but I don't know what to start with.

I will appreciate if you can share your views/ideas/suggestions for innovative thinking about regular work.

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How can you do the work faster or more accurately? That's what I use as motivation. To try to find a better way. Maybe you could give an example of your case? –  Jeanne Boyarsky Oct 20 '13 at 19:10
    
I strive for doing something creative and interesting which can be helpful for others in work like I can automate a script but exactly what it should be, that I can't figure out. Sometimes, work gets boring and want a way out to make it interesting! –  npatel Oct 20 '13 at 19:24
    
If you've found an answer useful, please consider accepting one. –  dwwilson66 Oct 29 '13 at 12:11
    
This video may be interesting. John Cleese, Monty Python Icon, on How to Be Creative: vimeo.com/58918963 –  alex Feb 10 at 2:28
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9 Answers

For me, I find that the more creative people and ideas with which I surround myself, the more I'm able to think outside of the proverbial box. Beyond that's it's the discipline of listening to the ideas that I have and allowing myself to explore them instead of listening to the negative self-talk of "oh, that idea sucks" or "no one's going to like that".

A big part of that is being in an environment that nurtures creative thinking and allows the flexibility and encouragement to do so. Without that, you'll need to develop creative ways to put yourself into a mindset that nurtures your creativity. That may involve getting involved in some more creative activities (writing, painting, photography) outside of the workplace, and letting that style of thinking carry over to the workplace.

I am a contractor who works in media. While I have experience in film production, the marketplace wants web developers right now, so I use my technical background to manage web media and content. The creative and the mundane are always battling, but because I maintain a balance, I've always got a creative idea lurking somewhere.

I answered a question about creativity here a while back; that may include some ideas and tools for you as well.

Good luck!

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What works for me is symbiotic relationships - think of 2 things near you. Now think how you would combine the two to make something better and more useful. Did you think of at least 1 improvement? Good, write it down in an "idea notebook". Do this as much as less as you want to.

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When you do not feel any source of energy within you to work, and you just don't feel like working, think that your work is the only prick in your life - just get it done somehow and your life would seem so much easier, cuz no matter what, work once neglected creates a lot of trouble later on. Now you may say that you don't want to regard your work as a sort of compulsion, then try your best to develop a liking for your work. Its your work which brings you money; it's your work you keeps you engaged in life. Without work, you would have been seriously bored and frustrated with life. It's solely work which takes away your time. It's work which gives you something to think of - something which fills in the gap when you just don't have anything to do or think. Don't see your work as something to put you down. Think what would happen (what would you do all day) had your work not been there!

In this manner, try to extract the positive aspect of your work. And I'm sure you will find that lost energy to do your work.

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You could start by making everyday tasks into games. For example say you have to put away your clean laundry. Time yourself and see how many cloths you can put away in 5 minutes neatly. Or if you have to write a report for work you could pretend in your head to be someone else writing it (and this might not always be a good idea). For one report try writing in the style of Hemingway and another in the style of Mark Twain.

It's not about the specific way you find innovative ways to go throughout your day, it's about the ability to be innovative and creative. Figuring out new ways to channel all that energy you have. You have to let go of your inhibitions, but not your common sense, and be a little impulsive. Let the first ideas that come to you flow. Of course exercise prudence and good judgment. Being too impulsive will get you into trouble. Anyway, that's how my creative process works.

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I just read an article on the Entrepreneur.com about being more innovative and productive by thinking like, well, an entrepreneur. When I read your question I got to thinking about a few things from the article.

1) Feel like a kid again Nurture the kid within. When we all were little we let our imagination flow in all different ways. When we grow older we seem to forget how to imagine to see things that aren't there, yet. To be more innovative in the everyday life, either work or personal stuff, imagine more. "What if...", "if this happens what's next", "what if I do this or that...". Etc etc.

2) No boundaries Really, everything is possible. Everything and anything. Everytime you think that something isn't possible or doable the innovation within your souls just dies a little bit. Feel no boundaries, assume nothing, know what you need to get going. Hate the word "realistic", it's just a way of killing good spirit, isn't it?

Good luck!

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If find that article again, it would be useful if you could add the link. –  0x6d64 Jan 26 at 21:35
    
Here is the link: entrepreneur.com/article/228136. Please, give me your insights as well after reading it and perhaps I too can get some new ideas! –  Erik Börjesson Jan 27 at 17:22
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I'm working as product manager and one of my duty is to generate ideas for our products.

In order to do that I read a lot of articles about my subject area. I have "thinking" group for every product and we exchange links every day. It could be articles, videos, etc.

Due to the nature of our products (it's web and mobile applications) we have to constantly study other applications - not just competitors, but any other cool, new, fun apps which has became famous due to some innovations in UI or functionality.

But this is our specific of course.

To boost innovative thinking I would also recommend:

  1. to read a lot - not just professional literature, but fiction too
  2. to talk to people with different occupations
  3. to start creating something with your own hands/brain - get some new hobby (some ideas here)
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When I want to change a my personal behavior I start dedicating a small amount of time every day (e.g. 45min/day) trying to be the way I want.

E.g., last month I decided to be a kind of man who project more, so I started dedicating 45min every day to develop some of the projects I had in mind and never developed. The first days I did this I failed. ...I couldn't find a way to project something!

Time gone on and I began to make more and more projecting thoughts. Now I'm starting to make such a kind of thoughts also outside the 45min window.

This is just my personal experience, as you may have learnt here, different people need different methods, hope you find the one that suit you!

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Be critical (in your mind). Most things have rough edges and "things that make you go 'hmm'." Every time you think,"I wish I didn't have to do x," where x is any sort of activity where you routinely spend time doing manual tasks, you have identified an opportunity to innovate.

This is the moment when you go from "I don't have any ideas that I would be able to turn into a company," to "I have too many ideas, how do I manage them?" That is when you understand what people mean when they say that ideas are cheap. Keep a broad focus when identifying "opportunities" and then narrow your focus when you have found your target.

Improvement of existing products and methods is the first step to innovation. As you identify ideas you want to pursue, you may have to learn new skills. It may be something as simple as VLOOKUP in Excel, but whatever it is, it's building your toolkit.

Initially, you may want to limit the size of your innovations so that you can complete them in an evening or a weekend. You'll train yourself to be better at estimating and you'll develop (and innovate!) your own process for innovation.

It's rewarding and a lot of fun and is the main reason I fell into the "serial entrepreneur" trap.

Good luck!

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There are two things to keep in mind if you want to be innovative

Understand the constraints.

"If you have $20 in your pocket and need to travel 300 miles because you HAVE to be in New York City by midnight, you will get pretty creative." (paraphrasing David Allen-Getting Things Done Fast)

Constraints are the material, financial or social restrictions imposed on us by the outside world. Bypassing constraints are far and away the best way to innovate. It may be the only way. If we can't acquire a particular material can we use another? If we don't have enough money to do something, can we find a cheaper way to get the same thing done for less? How can we get social buy in for something is not yet accepted or understood? Wikipedia defines innovation as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs and existing market needs. Understanding constraints is a way of understanding what better means.

Recognize inefficiency and technological advancement.

These are two drivers that provide opportunities for bypassing constraints. Perhaps they are one but they appear to me as two sides of the same coin. At some point any venture that ever existed was mapped out by individuals to the best of their ability. The venture functioned at an acceptable level and it worked. Because it works it gains momentum and there is no reason to change how it works. Over time though new technology is developed that makes the old venture more and more obsolete. It takes creativity to recognize what are now new constraints and find better ways of accomplishing the goals of the original venture.

Welcome any and all ideas.

When brainstorming, don't be afraid of a bad idea. In fact encourage bad ideas because you need to fearlessly free up your brain in order to come up with a good idea. Of course it takes skill and wisdom to be able to recognize the good ideas from the bad. That wisdom comes from exposure to observations of the world that are outside the sphere of your own comfort zone.

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