How To Think Differently And Be More Creative


Having recently changed jobs (and country)  I’m now able to see health and healthcare through a new prism. What I’m learning is that what works in one context may not be successful in a new one.

Consequently, I'm always challenging my thinking as I’m forced to come up with fresh ideas. Here are seven questions that will help you to think differently and be more creative.


1. Happiness Drives Success – Not The Other Way Round

Psychologists understand the power of a positive mindset.[note]If you make a purchase using the link on this page I will receive a small reward at no extra cost to yourself. Feel free to Google the link instead.[/note] People who have these mindsets are always on the look-out for new opportunities – and they are far more likely to benefit from them. These are individuals with a growth mindset, not a fixed one. Such people are far more liable to be successful.

What are you doing to cultivate your happiness?

2. Ask Better Questions

Instead of asking your team to drive increased efficiency – instead, ask them how great would look. Great isn’t usually more of the same, just faster. “Great” begins in a different place. It starts with open not closed questions. Henry Ford’s original customers said what they wanted was a faster horse. He didn’t make a car by training horses to run faster.

Do the questions you ask raise expectations?

3. If You Want Originality – Produce More

According to Adam Grant, to increase your chances of coming up with something original you should produce more. Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach are best known for a small number of pieces. Each of them was highly productive. Here are their numbers:

  • Mozart composed 600 pieces before his death at 35.
  • Beethoven composed 650.
  • Bach composed over a thousand.

If you want to be original – be productive. Then you increase your odds of coming up with something great.

How can you be more productive?

4.    Go Upstream For Solutions

At the top of the mountain, springs, rainwater, and snow-melt mingle to create little streams and brooks. By the time these have merged into a huge river pouring into the ocean they have become an unstoppable force. Healthcare’s highlands are the early years, maternal health, smoking, sugar, diet, and exercise. Like leaders in healthcare, if you wait until the river is pouring into the ocean –  you’ll eventually be swept out to sea.

How much of your attention is focused upstream from today?

5.    Innovative Not Administrative

If you fail to open the door to experimentation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship you are saying – let’s do more of the same. Create a climate where innovation is a standard operating principle. Release the innovative potential of your people.

How can you unlock the innovation in your team?

6.    Discipline Yourself To Manage Your Energy And Attention

Managing your time and energy is the new currency of real leadership. What you choose to focus these two resources on will define what you achieve. The edges of work and not-work are becoming ever more blurred and with it the hazard of burn-out and reduced productivity. Create a boundary between your job and home and make sure you have it well guarded.

Are you making time to recharge and restore your energy?

7.    Be Curious And Your Humility Will Show

Allow yourself to learn by being curious and become practised at asking thoughtful questions – gently as Edgar Schein suggests. When you put a question this way, you are making yourself momentarily vulnerable by acknowledging what you don’t yet understand. You are showing humility and inviting other people to share what they already know. Curiosity will increase your intellectual capacity. Your humility will ensure that sharing knowledge and building understanding becomes the norm.

Are you willing to be vulnerable? 


How do you keep your thinking fresh?