A dose of creativity stimulation
to ignite fresh thinking
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....
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?)
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...
To nurture a creative mindset, become a lifelong learner. Here's how:
One way to assess your mindset is to think about how much you value learning. Creative thinkers love to learn and prioritise learning. I'm not talking about you saying: "Yes, learning is important. I believe in lifelong learning."
I mean, if I came and analysed your calendar or watched you for a week, would I see you learning? Would I see you setting aside time and putting effort into learning new skills, reading books, talking to people to learn from them (and listening!)? Would I see you going beyond your domain and learning seemingly unrelated skills, reading about different industries, reading books from different countries, investing time in learning a language or a creative art?
Do you learn by doing or do you tend towards cerebral learning, keeping it in all as knowledge or theories in your head? We really learn when we put something into action and find out...
When my mum was preparing to leave home after university, and travel alone to a far away land, her little sister worried. "Aren't you going to be lonely? Who will look after you?" "Don't fret," said my courageous mum (the eldest in the family and the path finder), "If I ever feel scared or alone, then I'll just look in the mirror and say to myself - Hello Sue, at least I've got you!."
Wherever we go... there we are! We'll always have ourselves. If we can learn to be our biggest fans and cheerleaders, imagine what we can accomplish!
I love this quote I came across: “Imagine if we obsessed about the things we love about ourselves.”
Give yourself a mental, physical and spiritual hug today. You are one of a kind. The world needs what you have to offer.
We ask all our students what their biggest creativity killer is. Time and again the creativity killer that tops the list is self doubt. It's the persistent voice in the head that tell us we're a failure because everyone around...
Do you daydream? Do you remember with pleasure special times with friends or great sporting moments? Do you have sexual fantasies? Do you mix and match items, colours and accessories when you buy clothes to create your own style? Do you like different kinds of music? Do you have books at home you’d love to read but haven't gotten to yet?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes or even tends towards yes, then you ARE creative. What you believe about your creativity is more important than you may realise.
“If you fight hard enough for your limitations, you to get to keep them.” These are the words of Jim Kwik, world expert in optimal brain performance and a favourite teacher of mine. Are you fighting for this limitation that so many people hang on to? Have you said or thought, ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body’ or ‘I’m just not creative’?
If you have, please think of the possible implications. This is a self-limiting...
I expect, because you are reading this, that you are curious about your creativity. You've probably read quite a lot about it lately. This is fantastic and is an important step towards reshaping your brain for faster, more fluent and more original creative thinking. However, in the same way that reading about tennis will only get you so far on the court, you need to put your creative thinking into practice to truly develop it.
According to a Harvard University study, innovative people spend 50% more time being INTENTIONAL about thinking differently.
Here's a simple tool that I love from educator and speaker Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw, author of 'Intrapreneur' and 'Leading in the Innovation Age'. She calls it her BODS tool (to help us all become creative BODS!)
The tool comprises four questions using the acronym BODS, which stand for: better, other, different and simple. Ask yourself these questions:
What is it about the first step that can make a new endeavour so hard? Even unachievable. The stony silence of the blank page. The indeterminable dread of the empty spreadsheet. The mysterious darkness beyond the lighted path. Your mind grappling with where to place your foot: How? When? Where? Should I? Can I?
I am experiencing this first-step fright as I undertake simultaneously to begin a journey to develop my creativity, whilst at the same time developing learning to help others do the same. Two wise people recently said to me, on two separate occasions, “Stop going on courses and trying to get more qualified, you banana*! <my addition*> You have everything inside of you that you need. Just start.” (You know who you are @TanyaVanderWaal and @LisaLinfield.) It was just the kick in the pants I needed.
So here goes.
I have this weird sense that my whole life has been a slow process of waking up. I love waking up. Let me clarify. I love waking up...
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