November 5, 2014
Turn up the heat on your creativity & productivity
*PLEASE NOTE – iMindMap and DropTask are now the web-based software, Ayoa. Ayoa is an all-in-one whiteboard tool that combines mind mapping, task management and team collaboration features. Discover Ayoa and achieve your best work.*
The nights are drawing in, the temperature’s dropping and everyone’s delving to the bottom of the cupboard to dig out last year’s winter warmers… Sounds gloomy, right?
Wrong! It’s almost time for bonfires to be lit, skies to come alive and Guy Fawkes effigies to be burnt…
Remember, Remember the 5th November!
Known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, it was on 5th November 1605 that Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament in London with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Had the cellar not have been stormed by authorities and Guy Fawkes caught, the plot may have succeeded and the King of England ruling at the time would have been set alight along with Parliament.
Since this day a tradition has been set and each year on November 5th, families and friends across Britain celebrate the King’s survival with a day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Celebrations include burning bonfires and fireworks being set off into the night…
4 Steps to ensure your project isn’t a failure
Although some failures, like the one above, are definitely worth celebrating, most of the time we want to be celebrating our project’s success. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan and what may have worked well in the past no longer fits the bill. We need new ideas and solutions to succeed; two of the ways we can achieve this are through continued creativity and productivity in our work.
Below are 4 simple steps to follow if you would like to see your creativity and productivity sparkle:
1. Problem solving for your projects
Bonfire night may only come round once a year, but those problems that need solving and the decisions that need making are far more frequent than that when working on your projects.
To be successful and enhance your business’ potential you need to be able to find creative solutions to your challenges. Investing time to define your problem is crucial because how you define your problem will influence the direction of your solution finding efforts.
Instead of condensing your problem into one plain statement, you need to define it on a much wider scale. By using the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How to define your problems, you will gain a much broader picture. You will have taken any recurring themes, weaknesses and strengths into consideration and your problems will have been looked at from every angle meaning you get a complete view of them.
2. Idea Generation
Once you have your problems clearly defined, you need to consider creative ideas as solutions to your problems. Let sparks fly and release the bundle of ideas you may have built up inside by brainstorming.
When brainstorming it’s a good idea to collaborate with your team. By gathering a group of people together you are drawing on a wealth of knowledge, diverse experiences and perspectives of a range of individuals to develop new ideas and solutions to problems.
Now you’ve spent time brainstorming with your team, you’re likely to be sat on an array of ideas and possible solutions to your problem. The question is, which one do you choose? The ‘3S Analysis system’ for evaluation allows you to direct your attention positively for constructive analysis of your ideas:
Sort – Your ideas need to be shortlisted to between 3 and 6 ideas. If you have too many you may find yourself rocketing out of control with endless possibilities.
Screen – The shortlisted ideas need to be evaluated. Using a scale of 1-10 rate each idea based on what your heart (emotions) and your head (logic) are saying. Similarly draw up a list of pros and cons for each idea.
Select – After evaluating your shortlisted ideas, you’ll notice that one or two of them shine brighter than the rest. You need to pick the idea that you believe is going to be the ‘best’ creative solution and you need to verify that it will help you achieve your goals.
Now you’ve defined your problems, generated ideas and evaluated possibilities, it’s time to put your selected idea into action and bring it to life!
To get the most from your idea and implement it successfully you need to come up with a suitable action plan. This plan is a schedule of all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. It will act as a framework and will be useful for you to consider what needs to be done, where, when and by whom.
By developing an action plan you will have a guide and set of instructions which will help prevent you getting lost or confused and will help you progress with the work. If you do not follow a plan, then things are likely to take much longer and you may find yourself going back and reworking different sections.
Using DropTask and iMindMap [now Ayoa] for your planning will help you to maximize on productivity and make efficient running of your life and work. You’ll be able to get a good grasp on what your priorities are, so you don’t waste time on trivial ‘to-dos’ or get stressed out by the sheer number of tasks ahead. DropTask will let you communicate your plan by sharing it with others and allows you to assign members to particular tasks so they know exactly what they’re doing…Along with a whole range of other productivity-boosting features that can be found here.
Now it’s time to explore your teams’ creativity and bring your ideas to life! By following these 4 simple steps in your work, your day-to-day actions will be in line with your goals and productivity can soar…