By Lien Potgieter, Founder of Lien Potgieter Creativity Consultancy and life skills educator.
Creativity means different things to different people. Whether you define it as the ability to make beautiful things, connect the dots or dream up brilliant ideas, it is a skill that will stand you in good stead if you are an intrapreneur. In fact, the World Economic Forum has rated it as one of the top ten work skills for 2025.
I believe creativity is how you act, react, and feel, and what you think and believe when faced with a challenge. In fact, you start the process of creation from the moment you open your eyes and choose how you will tackle the day.
However, I think we have the wrong idea of what it means to create. Also, we have associated creativity with artistry for the longest time and that is why so few people believe they are creative and that creativity cannot be taught.
Improve your creative intelligence
The good news is that you can increase your creative intelligence if you are willing to take a chance on creativity. Even if you think that you do not have a creative bone in your body, I can assure you that you too can learn to be more creative for progress and success in business and life.
One of the characteristics of a creative person is that they are not risk averse. Intrapreneurs are encouraged to take these novel chances to reach their creative potential.
7 Risks women intrapreneurs can take to unlock their creative potential:
- Take a physical risk.
Research by Prof Juliet Zhu at China-focused Leadership and Business Analysis has found that dim light, classical or instrumental music, warmer temperatures and specific colours are best to ignite that creative spark. Exercise and healthy food also impact your brain and thought processes positively.
Risk: When you feel creatively stuck, take stock of your space and do something as simple as moving the furniture around or painting one wall a different colour. Also, get your body moving, eat something healthy and then get back to work.
- Gamble on your emotions
Numbness kills creativity. You must feel creative. in fact, you must feel good to solve problems. The ability to name and manage your emotions is a critical yet underrated component of creativity, according to research by ScienceDirect. The more self-aware you become, the more you can use your positive emotions to create. Yet, so many people battle to put a name to their emotions.
Risk: Write down your negative and positive emotions, ponder them and become aware of how they affect your ability to create.
- Venture into the untapped mental realm
The ability to come up with ideas and then judge whether they will work or how to make them work is a critical component of creativity. An article on critical thinking and creativity on Gettingsmart.com states that “our grasp of creativity and critical thinking is improved when we see them in a symbiotic relationship with one another.”
Risk: Assess your way of seeing, thinking and believing often and make sure you feed your mind with information that makes you slightly uncomfortable at first.
- Take a chance on curiosity
Einstein famously said that he had no special talent beyond being passionately curious. In other words, to cultivate creativity you must be curious about life, about people, about things, about experiences. According to the American author Elizabeth Gilbert curiosity is the key to an interesting and creative life. When you are curious, you embrace uncertainty with a positive attitude.
Risk: Visit a bookstore, pick a novel in a section that you never visit and start reading!
- Bet on your unique expression
It is essential that you find your kind of creativity and express it. It is good for your mental health too! We are all born creative, but not in the same way. Whether you sing, paint, cook, bake, teach, consult, manage or lead – find your unique creative outlet and live it.
Risk: It starts with self-belief. Convince yourself that you are a creative being and take up a hobby to get the creative ball rolling.
- Trust your intuition
Yes, that elusive, unreliable and unscientific sixth sense! Yet, the US navy introduced a program to study how troops use their intuition. Sophy Burnham, the bestselling author of The Art of Intuition, writes that creative people are highly intuitive, which in easy terms means they know without knowing why or how. And just like you can increase creative intelligence you can learn to listen to your inner voice.
Risk: Learn to trust your gut more by meditating, spending more time in nature, and letting your mind rest.
- Dare to dream, including daydreaming
National Geographic recently reported that a new study suggests that dreaming could boost your creativity. Findings on mind wandering, or more commonly known as daydreaming, “suggest that people who regularly daydream have a higher intellectual and creative ability than those who don’t regularly zone out.”
Risk: Make time to dream during the day. Also, write down your dreams the moment you wake up in the morning. You never know, it might just unblock your creativity!
These risks may well take you out of your comfort zone, but in the end, you will become more confident in your creative abilities and grow the career that dreams are made of.
*Lien Potgieter is an entrepreneur, life skills educator, and the founder of Lien Potgieter Creativity Consultancy. She created the Creative Leadership Makeover Plan.