Creative thinking techniques for every role and business

Creative thinking techniques for every role and business

How to shift your mindset from ‘just surviving’ to ‘looking for opportunities to grow’

BY Business Chicks, 5 min READ

Proudly brought to you by NSW Treasury

What if you could re-think your offering under current constraints, to remain competitive? 

What if you could create better experiences and new products for your customers?  

 In our recent Masterclass Online, Fiona Triaca and Olga Cuesta from Naked Ambition gave us the tools to turn those ‘what ifs’ into ‘can dos. That is, by applying creative thinking techniques and building a culture of innovation. To celebrate NSW Small Business Month, we’re bringing you a recap of  their insights to help small businesses move from places of fear to places of possibility. 

We’ll break it to you early. 

There’s no magic secret.  

To move to a state of business transformation you need to be thinking outside of your comfort zone. This can be intimidating, particularly as a risk-adverse small businessso Fiona and Olga shared strategies to switch gears into thinking creatively and exponentially. They outlined three key mindsets that business owners should aim to work through with their teams. 

  1. Empathy 
  2. Optimism  
  3. Experimentation 


Empathy is more than just jumping into someone else’s shoes. It’s about thinking from their perspective to solve a problem or provide an opportunity. Empathy sets the stage for teams to explore characters and problems within a situation. It does not constrain to one problem to solve, nor leave it too broad resulting in trouble finding tangible solutions. 

So, how do you put empathetic thinking into action? 

  • Lead your team with open-ended questions and remember that there are no right or wrong answers. 
  • Ask yourself, are there other things you could give your customers that you’re not already? 
  • Ask yourself, what do your customers need (and they don’t even know it)?  

 Once you’re grounded in understanding what your customers want, you’ll find that more opportunities present themselves. Answering these questions is one thing, but being brave, bold and optimistic is the next step. 


A business owner should set the space for their team to be optimistic, and Fiona and Olga referred to a quote by the late Ken Robinson to demonstrate this. 

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” 

There are three ways to set the space for optimism. 

1. Reframe the problem into an opportunity 

You can reframe a potential challenge with the how-might-we technique. Rather than dwelling on the limitations of a situation, reframe your thoughts and brainstorm creative solutions without being held back by ifs and buts. 

2. Create the space 

Many creatives (including Business Chicks favourite, Elizabeth Gilbert), talk about the concept of “the hour of power.” Creativity is a muscle, so setting a regular time to work it will make it stronger. Consider scheduling regular creative brainstorms with your team to build the habit of thinking outside the box. 

3. Build psychological safety 

Once you’ve created a creative space for your team, leaders need to hold that space so that the team feel welcome to come with ideas. Build a culture of no bad ideas to demonstrate and role model a culture of freedom and confidence. 

So you’ve got creative ideas to solve problems for your audience. Now to put them out there… 


Cast your mind back to March 2020. The first question most businesses asked was, “how can we survive?. The companies that acted quickly in getting new products and services to market came out on top. So rather than being risk adverse, consider launching an minimal viable product (MVP) to test your new ideas and prioritise getting a new idea out there rather than focusing on the granular detail. The sooner you get feedback, the sooner you can start perfecting your new product. 


NSW Small Business Month is a festival held in October that brings together all levels of government and industry leaders to support the small business community. Subscribe to stay in the loop about upcoming news on the NSW Small Business Month festival in 2021. 


©2020 Business Chicks

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