Stephen Odzer Shares How to Drive Innovation in a Competitive Environment Using Free-thinking

Stephen Odzer is the CEO of US-based ADVIA Industries, a leading supplier of maintenance, janitorial and foodservice products. Adiva provides a broad range of products and value-added services to thousands of professional customers in hospitality, schools, industrial and retail sectors.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires determination, passion, and a remarkable level of innovation. Anybody that heads up a small or large business knows that entrepreneurship requires a lot of courage as well as a little bit of madness. Regardless, the key ingredient to becoming a successful entrepreneur is creativity, also known as free-thinking.

By using one’s free-thinking skills, he or she can assess problems and situations from a new perspective. Most people comprehend free-thinking skills as “thinking outside the box,” which means staying away from the orthodox solution and thinking of fresh ways to tackle an issue.

Some entrepreneurs use their free-thinking skills to see patterns that aren’t visible to others. That allows these entrepreneurs to make connections between concepts, solutions, and people that everybody else overlooked.

Using Free-thinking Skills

Entrepreneurs must learn how to think outside of the box to stay successful. By using their free-thinking skills, entrepreneurs help society avoid cultural homogeneity, which would happen if we all worked for the same big corporations that utilize similar values. Most corporate employees are rewarded when they put in many hours and avoid questioning the way the company works. On the other hand, small businesses do better when they focus on ongoing learning for their employees, which comes from innovative thinking, new concepts, and creative ways to solve problems.

Small business owners tend to be very visible at their workplaces and often immerse themselves in their employee’s needs. By being in touch with their employees, these small business owners listen to workers voice their concerns. Since small business owners tend to remain in close contact with their workers, they understand better than a corporate executive how workers need a balance between life and work to remain productive and efficient. So, small business owners tend to be better at understanding how workers struggle with their job performances when their quality of life is slipping.

Anybody Can Be Creative

The key to free-thinking skills is creativity. Some people feel intimidated by creativity, assuming that individuals are either born with creativity or without it. Fortunately, that assumption is incorrect. People can learn how to be creative, and everybody has the potential to bolster his or her creativity along with free-thinking skills. Successful entrepreneurs learn how to harness their creativity and strengthen it so that they develop effective free-thinking skills.

A person can work on becoming more creative by fostering new neural connections, which will, in turn, improve an individual’s free-thinking skills. A few ways you can approach this is by taking up a new hobby, practicing a new challenge, or learning a new form of art. All of these concepts are effective ways to bolster your creativity and problem-solving skills, which will effectively allow you to think “outside the box” more effectively. Developing your creativity and free-thinking skills will be very valuable when you are running your business.

How to Apply Creativity and Free-thinking in Business

If you are serious about developing your creativity and free-thinking skills so that you can apply them to your own small business, then consider the following approaches.

#1 Use Your Thinking Hat

Creativity and free-thinking mean combining both convergent and divergent thinking. When a person uses divergent thinking, he or she attempts to find several answers to the same problem. Typically, when utilizing divergent thinking, an individual relies on brainstorming and mind mapping to find new connections and patterns that offer innovative solutions.

On the other hand, when a person uses convergent thinking, he or she attempts to discover the best answer to a problem. De Bono’s six thinking hats offers one technique when an individual or several team members have clearly defined roles (also known as hats) that can then be swapped with others to see if others look at the same situation from a different point of view and discover something innovative.

An image of a brain as a concept of thinking

DeBono’s six thinking hats offer an effective parallel thinking technique that works well in both corporations and small businesses when a new solution needs to be discovered.

#2 Use Iterate Thinking

Free-thinking approaches require people to use a non-linear process and instead tend to be cyclical. That requires a certain amount of flexibility so that one can adapt to the problem and avoid forcing a solution. Iterative thinking can result in unpredictable patterns, but the material can be adapted at any time during the process. So, individuals need to remain open-minded to possibilities when using iterate thinking.

#3 Remain Positive

Staying positive helps your imagination network better, and opens up your imagination, which is found inside your temporal lobe and pre-frontal cortex. By staying upbeat, you can better inspire your creative process and bolster your ability to use your free-thinking skills.

#4 Don’t Be Afraid to Daydream

Daydreaming can be a very effective way to bolster your free-thinking skills. While you may have been scolded for daydreaming in the past because many believe that you are wasting time or not being productive, the opposite is the truth. Daydreaming allows you to incubate your ideas, which is the impetus for creativity.

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