Creativity is one of the most important soft skills for an Engineer. Engineers must always think of creative ways to come up with a solution, and they need to use their creativity to envision future innovations. Like any skill, creativity can be trained and improved.
Be open to new ideas to analyse them later
Enginers should never focus only on one idea or solution. Instead, it is important to free your spirit and stay open to other ideas, methods, or point of view to be a better innovator. Use divergent thinking and give time to reflection to let new ideas come in.
Once you gathered enough ideas, the next step is to write them down to analyse them. Keep a critical eye on your ideas to better sort them, and try not to label any ideas as ‘bad’. Chances are, those ideas are just not the right one for the specific project you are working on. That does not mean they are bad.
To sort your ideas, always keep your main objective in mind, otherwise, you may stay stuck on your creative process and get overwhelmed.
See problems as challenges, not difficulties
A good engineer is a problem solver at heart! To keep a creative mind, try to focus only on the solutions hidden behind the difficulties you will encounter. Stimulate your mind by challenging yourself to come up with various solutions to any kind of problem.
Above all, difficulties represent great opportunities to test your problem-solving skills and to prove to your colleagues that you can think fast even under pressure.
When looking for a solution, try not to forget that the most obvious one is often the best. Ask yourself ‘What’s the most obvious solution that I have not thought of yet?’. Do not hesitate to expose your issue to a child, or to someone who is not an engineer to get a fresh, unbiased perspective.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to be different
To be a true visionary, you should not be afraid to take risks and to think differently. Engineers need to learn to trust themselves with their ideas and to accept being a free spirit. By not thinking like everybody else, you will come up with innovative ideas. An innovator is someone who sees further than others and that is brave enough to experience behind limits.
Stay mad, keep having fun, stay true to the child within you. It is the best way to keep an open mind to ideas that other people might reject immediately.
Even though you should not act solely on the rush of a new idea, it is important to follow your intuition first and to not judge your ideas. Let your creative flow get wild first, and take time to analyse your ideas later.