The Art of Creativity

I have been fortunate to work with talented people. They have fueled my thought process and helped me look at business differently and figure out creative ways to achieve success with small budgets. I have always enjoyed that challenge. How does one become innovative. Is it a natural talent or is it learnt. We tend to look at “creative people” and say they were “born” creative. Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Sir Richard Branson……an endless list. How do we harness that cognitive energy. How do we tap into our imagination and release it from our own consciousness ? First of all I believe we are all born with a creative gene. The trick is to tap in to it, feed it and grow it.

Here are some techniques that may help you become more creative and ingenious.

  1. Have a clearly stated goal.
    1. You need to have a laser focused goal. What are you trying to achieve. How do you define success. Can you explain it in 30 seconds.
  2. Gather diverse minds in a “think tank” environment. This is mission critical.
    1. Make sure you have gathered a manageable number of people.
    2. Ensure you have invited people with different skill sets and who are comfortable expressing opinions. Invite people from “the outside” who you trust but who are less knowledgeable about your business world. Maybe you see them as creative in their world.
    3. Compensate them for their time in kind or goods (or cash!)
    4. Cross pollinate ideas.
    5. Set a slower pace and take fun breaks. 
    6. During breaks pass copies of The Klutz Book of Inventions. A fun book to stimulate the senses.
  3. Start the session with Charades or Pictionary (Max 30 minutes).
    1. Open your minds. Have fun. Get in the zone.
  4. Set a positive mood
    1. Overcome negative thoughts that block open minds
    2. Have your goal posted on a chalkboard or pinned on a wall. Make sure everybody understands the goal in its simplest form.
    3. Explain your definition of success.
    4. Eliminate personal criticism (critique the idea not the person).
  5. Be adventurous, bold and curious
    1. Explore how things can be done and not why they cannot be done.
    2. Do not try and be a perfectionist. 
    3. Let the inner child escape.
  6. Try to connect pieces of the puzzle
    1. Don’t try for the giant leap. Connect a series of dots.
    2. Remember that Apple didn’t invent tablets, they just made them better. Imitation is OK, provided you improve on the original. 
    3. Let go of preconceptions and embrace failure.
    4. The Wright brothers found out what happens when you connect a kite with a bike.
  7. Use flip charts. Take notes and send out the results.
    1. Follow up and ask for more input. Someone may have a sudden inspiration in the shower.
    2. Stay on point. It’s too easy to jump to the next shiny object.
    3. Don’t give up.

So let’s forget about thinking outside the box. There should be no box. If you have a box then you are clearly inside it struggling to get out. Let go of precepts and be prepared to be surprised at the results.  


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