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CREATIVE CAFFEINE

A dose of creativity stimulation

 to ignite fresh thinking

How do we help people unlock creativity?

Uncategorized May 05, 2021

A search that unearthed a surprise

“Arggghhh!” The farmer clenched his fists and cried out in frustration. He’d lost a hammer in his field and was wasting precious time looking for it. Not that the hammer itself was so precious but it was solid enough to do damage to his machinery should it be ridden over. When he rang up a friend with a metal detector, neither of them were aware of the turn the day would take.

The friend set off into the field and began to scan the ground. After some time, the alarm sounded and he started to dig, thinking that he had uncovered the hammer. Instead, he pulled up an ancient gold coin. Wha? More digging. More coins and some jewellery. Flummoxed and thrilled in equal measure, he called the farmer and they dug together. They could not believe their eyes. Could it true? Was this real? What they had unearthed was a true treasure trove!

This is the true story of farmer Peter Whatling and his friend Eric Lawes. In 1992 they found what is...

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Do you have what it takes to lead innovation?

They had what it takes.

One group of leaders took a nation from zero to hero in less than a century. In fact, in the first 30 years of the turnaround, they achieved the industrial growth that took Europe 100 years to achieve.

When I first heard about this country’s transformation, I was amazed. Just over six decades ago, it was one of the poorest nations in the world. Years of war and exploitation left families scarred, separated and destitute. 

Recognise this place? Kayelitsha?

Cities looked like slums. Food was so scarce that people scoured the hills for edible herbs and plants. Their prospects looked pretty bleak!

A country decimated by decades of war

Then came a dazzling national transformation. Under strong, creative leadership, South Korea (you guessed it!) steadily implemented a new vision. In addition to massive infrastructure development and government support for new business growth, the country was opened up to foreign markets with export-oriented policies....

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Creativity in Captivity: Lessons in creativity from an Al Qaeda hostage

With nothing but the clothes on his back, his creativity, and a positive attitude, Stephen McGown managed to survive six years of captivity as a hostage of of Al-Qaeda in the Sahara desert.

In celebration of World Creativity & Innovation Week, we had the privilege of interviewing Stephen and finding out more about what kept him going all those years. He explained how creativity helped him to overcome the physical challenges of living in the harsh environment of the Sahara, as well as the mental challenges of living as a hostage. Here are some excerpts from our interview. 

(For the full story, get your hands on Stephen's fascinating book, Six years with Al Qaeda, which can be ordered on his website.)

 

Taken hostage by Al-Qaeda

Stephen McGown shortly before being kidnapped in Timbuktu, Mali 

From a young age Stephen dreamed of riding a motorcycle across Africa. Though he grew up in Johannesburg, his holidays were spent on a farm where he...

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Why the United Nations prioritised creativity

 

Marci Segal, founder of World Creativity & Innovation Week, 15-21 April

Four years ago, the UN General Assembly recognised creativity development as a global imperative. Here is why.

 

A global movement is born

When the headline, “Canada in Creativity Crisis” appeared in the National Post in 2001, Canadian creativity expert, Marci Segal, decide to take action. Having studied creativity in the 70s at the International Centre for Studies in Creativity, SUNY Buffalo, she understood the power of creative thinking and how it can be developed. She knew that with deliberate effort and training, people can learn to generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes, to solve problems and achieve success.

Watch Marci's full talk here (15 mins) : Marci Segal/World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21

Segal knew she had to think big, so she started a global movemet by founding World Creativity and Innovation Day. She chose April 21, the...

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How to increase your Creativity Quotient

Your Creativity Quotient is a measure of your creative intelligence. Can you increase your creative intelligence? Yes!  Here are three short videos with some helpful advice from experts on how to be more creative. 

 


How burnout makes us less creative | Rahaf Harfoush

The Way We Work, a TED series (5:05 mins) 

It’s understandable that you want to be productive – we all do! But digital anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush says that putting too much pressure on yourself to perform can actually have the opposite of your desired effect.

“We’ve been so obsessed with doing more that we’ve missed the most important thing.”

 

3 key ideas

  • Our idea of productivity is strongly founded in industrial era thinking when output was measured in terms of widgets produced. The knowledge work era has much more abstract outputs like solving problems and strategising.
  • Our self-worth is wrapped up in productivity and we...
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It’s funny how humour boosts creativity

comic relief humour mindset Mar 17, 2021
 

Ooops!

It was late on a Thursday evening when Helen finally finished up her work and got ready to leave the office.  As she made her way out, she found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in her hand.

"Listen," said the CEO "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?"

As a young executive, Helen was eager to be of assistance. "Certainly," she said and she turned the machine on, inserted the paper and pressed the start button.

"Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as her paper disappeared inside the machine. "Thanks for your help. I just need one copy."

The creative origin story of Comic Relief

This Friday, March 19, is Red Nose Day in the UK. It is run by the charity Comic Relief which was launched in 1985 live from a refugee camp in Sudan during the Ethiopian famine. Red Nose Day is a campaign to end child poverty, using humour and grassroots fundraising as the basis of...

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9 areas of your business that could use creativity - Part 2

Businesses are innovating at a rapid pace. What is your business doing to keep up? Don't get left behind.

Ask yourself: Where could I use more creativity in my business?

The Business Model Canvas designed by Alexander Osterwalder is a helpful tool for getting a bird’s eye view of your business. At Creativity Wake-Up, we find this a useful model to share with our clients to spark ideas for applying creative thinking.

In my last blog, we looked at four of the nine blocks in the Business Model Canvas where you could begin to apply creativity.  Let’s take a look at the rest of the blocks.

 

 

5.     Channels

Channels are ways that you communicate with and distribute your value to your customers. Channels serve various functions including raising awareness about your products or services, allowing your customers to evaluate your offerings, enabling them to purchase physically or virtually, delivering the value and providing post-purchase...

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9 areas of your business that could use creativity - Part 1

Imagine you are being interviewed by a reporter for an article about creativity and innovation in your workplace. You are asked: “Where could you use more creativity in your organisation?”

What’s the first thing that springs to mind? Product innovation? Installing a funky ‘thinking room’?

We tend to narrow down the scope of creativity at work to a few areas, typically involving R&D, an innovation team, marketing and/or creative touches to the office.

This narrowing down of the power of creativity is done at our peril. Every employee has the capacity to think creatively and to develop creative solutions to problems. Every area of the business can benefit from creative thinking.

In this two-part blog, I will use the Business Model Canvas to highlight nine areas of your business where you could apply creative thinking for innovation. We'll start with the customer-facing part of the business this week and cover your internal operations next week. 

...
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How do I train my people to be more innovative?

Follow our simple recipe.

Picture the scene:

A blue screen flickers and glows. Faces peer out of little video rectangles. It is the sixth virtual meeting of day. Nineteen pairs of eyes stare wearily at Kevin’s section of the digital vista as he implores his team: “We need to find another way, team. We must make this year work for us. The way we used to do things is just not working any more. We need to think out the box, here. C’mon everyone.” (The eyes blink silently back at him. Sighs are breathed. Tony scratches her head and thinks: How?)

Businesses across the world are under pressure to innovate.

In a study last year, McKinsey concluded that prioritizing innovation today is the key to unlocking postcrisis growth, yet few consider themselves equipped to face the challenge. In addition to the seismic impact of the pandemic, automation is displacing jobs and cutting down on process-oriented tasks. Businesses urgently need to get people thinking creatively to...

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Need to innovate? Copy these creative habits of innovators.

habits innovators Feb 15, 2021

Innovation is now an imperative

We used to wonder when or how we should innovate. We are in a crisis and there’s no way out but to reinvent ourselves and our businesses.  

“The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast.” Peter Drucker

So how do we do this?

We copy the creative habits of innovators.

Why habits?

Habits make up a way of being. Habits are dependable. By adopting some of the creative habits of innovators, you will be able see real transformation in how you think and how you do things. You will be able to make innovation part of who you are rather than something you did once.  

What innovators do differently

Austin Kleon’s book ‘Steal like an artist’ is beautiful in its simplicity and pertinence. He is a writer and an artist who has distilled the key creative habits that have made an impact in his life. He writes the book as advice to his...

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