Soft Skills for Business Analysts: Creative Thinking

"Idea light bulb Businessman" by Feelart/

"Idea light bulb Businessman" by Feelart/

Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted — George Kneller.

According to Palgrave, Creative thinking is about coming up with innovative solutions by adopting an unrestricted, unstructured and relaxed approach to thinking that involves:

  • Looking for multiple approaches to solving a problem or exploiting an opportunity without considering its merit/feasibility at the idea generation stage.
  • Letting go of conventional norms and embracing as many ideas as possible.

How Creative Thinking Helps

Creative thinking can be applied with impressive results in numerous activities. Here are some examples:

  • Coming up with new ideas.
  • Reinventing an old product or solution to make it more effective and acceptable in the market.
  • Finding a different way to set a product or company apart from competition.
  • Reinventing or repackaging the product/service to ensure it appeals to the right market.

There are 3 major kinds of thinking in business analysis: analytical, critical and creative. Each of these has its merits. Let’s examine a practical example of how creative thinking can be applied in business.

Creative Thinking in Business

Creative approaches can be used for emphasising the uniqueness of your products or services. Let’s say you have just come up with the business model of a product you conducted ample research on, and you know that the product should have a high demand but you need to identify ways to market it effectively. Determining what is best would involve analysing what consumers are looking for and packaging your product or service to be the answer to their problems, while giving them something “more” (see Applying the Kano Analysis Model to Requirements Identification & Prioritization).

Here's another example: Let's assume your clients are clamouring for a web-based solution. You decide to go beyond fulfilling their expectations to delivering a sleek interface that is extremely intuitive and easy to use - even on mobile devices.

Creative thinking allows you to explore other angles to customers’ requirements that you may not discover if you only target their expressed desires. With creative thinking, you will be empowered to deliver more than your clients have specified and they will benefit from superior value.