A dose of creativity stimulation
to ignite fresh thinking
I have been loving the Netflix series, Abstract – The Art of Design.
If you’ve got a Netflix account, I highly recommend this series for inspiring expansive thinking and exploring new fields and perspectives (especially if your background is in the field of management and finance like mine!) It has done wonders for ‘filling up my creative tank.’ The series invites you to ‘step inside the minds of the most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines and learn how design impacts every aspect of life.’
One particular designer in the series really blew me away and it’s what I learned from this person that I want to share with you today. She is such an inspirational person, that one of the engineers in her team said of her:
“One conversation with her changed the course of my career.”
The engineer had been on a path to becoming an architect but after one...
Three years into the US war with Vietnam, the US had suffered terrible losses of pilots and fighter planes. 644 pilots were killed, missing, or taken as prisoners of war. They had also lost 532 aircraft in combat.
In 1968, 33-year old lieutenant commander Dan Pedersen was assigned to create a new fighter school at the Navy's Miramar Air Station near San Diego to help stop the loss of all these pilots and planes. An extensive study, called the Ault Report, was done into the reasons for the losses. The report showed that were problems with the aircraft missile systems and that the pilots were not following the rigorous technical specs for the missiles. In essence, the pilots were not following the rules. The directive given to the young lieutenant was he needed to enforce the rules and teach the pilots to be more disciplined and stick to textbook laws of tactics.
When the young Lieutenant Pedersen took over, he applied more expansive, creative thinking. When he examined the report, he...
'Am I creative?' you may be asking? I’ll answer that with another question: ‘Are you human?’ If your answer is ‘yes’, then my response to you is, ‘Well then, you are creative.’
If you don't feel particularly creative, don't fear. You are not alone. Studies show that as we get older, discipline, the pressures of life, fears and societal norms tend to make us ask fewer questions, laugh less, and display less creativity than we were as young children. In fact, our education system has historically favored knowledge and critical thinking over imagination and creative thinking to serve businesses in the industrial age. Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Do schools kill creativity?” is the most watched TED talk of all time. It has been viewed over 70 million times. The subject of creativity in education is clearly of interest to a great number of people.
Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk...
Sometimes something is so simple that we miss it.
I am someone who inadvertently tends to overcomplicate things. Making something simple is not easy. Charlie Chaplin said: “Simplicity is not a simple thing.”
So, you can imagine my joy when I heard one of the fundamental principles of creativity summarised in a beautifully simple way by creativity expert, Dave Birss, in his ‘How to have fresh ideas’* course. The basic premise of this principle is: To be more creative, change your diet.
My diet? I hear you say.
Yup, but possibly not the diet you are thinking of. Let me rewind a little.
First, let’s clear something up. Creativity is not binary. It’s not like an idea is either creative or not. It’s not a light switch that is either on or off. It’s not as if some people are creative and some are not.
This is nonsense.
Creativity is the use of imagination to produce something that is...
From MEH to WOW in 3 easy steps? If you’re into Wordle right now, your brain is no-doubt whirring into action. No, the answer is not
But I like the way you think!
The formula I’m going to give you combines three incredibly powerful creativity catalysts. So, make sure you get out your goggles and protective lab coat for this.
Time required: This exercise will take 10-15 minutes.
Here are your ingredients:
The starting point of any creative endeavour is a creative mindset. Your mindset is the environment in which your creative experiment takes place. Think of your mindset like a chemistry lab. You can’t test the vapour pressure of gas if it is baking hot inside the lab or if a gale is howling through the open...
It’s a Golden Rule. I love its universality and its simplicity. In our recent Insights Discovery workshop in India*, with delegates from a mixed bag of faiths and traditions, this rule stood its ground and resonated with everyone.
However, when it comes to communication, we need to take this rule a step further.
Improve on the Golden Rule!? I hear you gasp. Don’t worry. I’m not talking about changing the essence of the rule, just its application. Stay with me. Our different personality preferences cause us to want different things out of our interactions. People who are action-oriented, extroverted, and direct want you to speak up, cut the fluff and get to the point. People who are analytical, precise, and reserved would rather you send them an email with all the detail laid out in a logical manner.
So, the tweak to the rule is, “Do to others as they would have done to them.”
Celia and I have recently returned from an exciting and eye-opening trip to Hyderabad, India. We were invited by My Choices Foundation to deliver training to their team of 60 leaders as part of their 10-Year Anniversary celebrations. My Choices Foundation (MCF) is an NGO that aims to give women, children and families choices to live lives free from violence, abuse and exploitation.
We thought we were going to share our creative thinking, innovation and Insights Discovery learning with the leaders of MCF.
But we were wrong.
We were going to learn from them.
Here are three of the many lessons in creative thinking that we’ve learned over the past two weeks in India that you can apply to any problems you may be trying to solve.
(If you are wondering how My Choices Foundation (MCF) works and how we ended up in India, read...
If we look at statistics, it is probable that you will stay in your comfort zone. Most people follow a similar and predictable path. When they try something new, there are typically lots of challenges and setbacks. These tend to discourage another try. Given these probabilities, it is more likely that you will remain in your comfort zone. It’s logical.
Friend, I was lingering there for a long time.
But then I decided to leap out into the lights.
Something that helped me to take that leap, was learning the difference between probability and possibility. I learned this from my mentor and friend, Lisa Linfield, author of Deep Grooves: Overcoming Patterns That Keep You Stuck.
Lisa explained that we tend to get stuck on whether or not something is probable. Is it probable that I will build a thriving business/...
The first time I received a personality profile report, I was amazed at how accurate it was. Before completing the assessment, I was concerned about having my personality "boxed". Having worked with personality profiling for many years now, I understand better that, far from putting us in a box, a personality profile is a tool with broad-stroke themes to help us to get out of our self-created boxes. There is much value to be gained in holding up a mirror to our preferences, decision making tendencies and personal style.
Personality profiles can help us understand ourselves, understand others, and make the most of the relationships that affect us at work and at home.
They also help us understand our potential creative strengths and weaknesses.
Your creativity plays out through the lens of your personality. So, the better you understand your personality, the better you will understand your potential creative strengths,...
If you're asking this, you're not alone. It's a good question.
In answer, let me tell you a (true) story.
Nope. It's not about the cute little construction worker below. That's my daughter, a few years ago, getting ready to fix/ break something (we are never sure. I don't think she is either.)
My story is about a group of workers (many in hard hats) who were facing layoffs before creative thinking saved the day.
A small municipality in Orange County California was struggling. There were issues everywhere and not enough funds to resolve them (sound familiar, Joburgers?) The city manager realised that the problems weren't being solved by committees in board rooms. He wanted to involve more staff in finding solutions. He wanted workers from every deparment involved, from Roadworks to Parks & Recreation, from Police to Human Resources. The idea was to get those closest to the problems to apply their own thinking to the solutions.
So, the city manager put 173 employees...
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