As writer G. K. Chesteron noted, “There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” By actively listening, you can find valuable information to inspire new ideas.
International design firm IDEO created a four-part podcast series on Creative Listening. In a total of 30 minutes, you can learn key habits for better listening, which include:
How to utilize your intuition: Sometimes too much information is just that. It can be overwhelming and logic can only get you so far. That’s when you need to trust your gut and ask, “What’s really important here?” “What’s going on behind the surface, the unsaid versus the said?”
How to hone your interpretation skills: Industry jargon and wordy explanations often mask the true value of something. Learning how to distill a message down to its essence, into simple, understandable language isn’t “dumbing it down,” it’s giving it wings.
How to find inspiration in unexpected places: Looking outside your normal, go-to sources can be a great creativity boost. For instance, one of our teams was working on new membership program for a credit card company. Instead of looking at the competition, they spent time with a rabbi who encouraged people thinking about changing religions to experience different types of synagogues to find the right “fit.” That extreme, analogous experience helped the team turn the corner.
How to amp up your curiosity: Curiosity pushes us beyond what we know and challenges us to look at long-held beliefs in a new light. Staying curious—always asking “Why?” like an earnest preschooler—is a critical muscle that needs to be continuously flexed if you want to have new, game-changing ideas.
Creative listening is a great tool to help you solve tough problems at work. The podcasts are rich in examples where innovative ideas have come to light because they listened to more than what was being said. Best of all, the course is free to download on iTunes.