I've thought long and hard about posting this here, but decided I'd be interested in your comments.
This is a post about creativity, and how to do it more. Here's the first couple of paragraphs. If you're interested, read on.
“I’m not very creative” is a phrase I hear again and again. Sometimes they say “I wish I were creative like you” when looking at a diagram I created with nice, themed colours. Let me just make sure you got that: A diagram. With nice colours (and subtle gradients if you like that kind of thing).
Maybe it’s something you’ve once said. But it’s wrong. You ARE very creative. If you weren’t, you couldn’t learn. (I’ll prove that to you another time.) The thing is, most people confuse creativity with artistic talent. But it’s not.
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I really liked you blog and agree with you (and DeBono and the What if? Consultancy) that everyone has the ability to be creative – but only if they chose to do so.
I’d like to add some more information on creativity which the reader may fine of use.
According to Scott E. Page’s book The Difference, creativity and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows that a group of non like-minded people i.e. not all engineers or lawyers can arrive at better outcomes than a singular group. The moral here – mix up your group and invite outsiders in.
But don’t let too many in! According to the book Decide and Deliver by Blenko, Mankins and Rogers, the optimum size for a decision making group is 7 and each additional member reduces effectiveness by 10% or so – ouch!
Another good resource I’ve found is The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelly which looks at the lessons from design company IDEO who are nothing if not wonderfully creative.
The final thing I’d add to compliment the “What if?” approach you mentioned is that creativity comes from trying to achieve the seemingly impossible; the man on the moon, Concorde and the Bugatti Veyron were all (when announced) deemed as being either impossible or just too difficult. History tells us otherwise.
Hope these additions are of use.
Andy..I've heard that likewise. In banking you meet a lot of process driven technical experts who assume they are not creative types (oh you guys in marketing or learning are so creative in how you put stuff across) but who can actually problem solve some deeply complex issues. I guess it is about valuing your contribution but also helping people who are self -persuaded they are not creative with a different perspective on what creativity is. The cult of entrepreneurship in mass media channels tends to personify the apple, google types as innovative, challenging, at the edge, and that obliquely only some people are cut out to be innovative and inspiring. It tends to confirm in others minds that... oh I couldn't work there i'm an accountant, tax specialist I'm not cool cutting edge...The other notion I find in business conversations is that change has to be transformative. There are many projects that are deemed HR Transformation, Operations Transformation when they are actually solid incremental improvement with each phase being carefully crafted in colloborative groups each with small but creative ways of improving the business. Jonathan makes a poweful point for me in that open colloborative dialogue tends to create more ideas with the best, most creative bubbling to the top whether you are in a mature stable (?) industry like banking or insurance or in a dynmaic one like telecommunications or pharma.