What is Creativity?

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."
- Edward de Bono

After watching the TED talk video, reflect on the questions below:

  1. How do you see with new eyes and stop your rivers of thinking?
  2. How do you bring naivety into your questioning of problems (and create butterflies in your tummy!)?
  3. What things do you do to step away from the problem to find the audacious questions and solutions?

Comment on this post with your reflections on these questions.

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Myths about Creativity

"I am not creative"

We are all creative - it is an innate human capacity that we are born with that can be developed. We need to remember that no-one is judging our creativity - this is the barrier that our schooling has inflicted on us. Our creative vulnerability and ideas nurture others to develop their ideas.

"Creativity comes from 'a-ha' moments"

Creativity is hard work and requires more than flashes of inspiration, but prolonged efforts of sitting in ambiguity and experiencing the problem! The real power is in the collective intelligence of teams working together.

"Creativity is only for artists"

Everyone can be creative. It is a skill. Artists, jazz players, chefs all  practice forms of creativity. By the same token, creativity can be diminished, especially by stifling education systems that look for 'the right answer'. Collective Creativity is the ability to harness the creative skills within teams to tackle tough business problems.

Yes, creativity can be learned!

Creativity is the ability to see differently to generate and explore fresh ideas. As creative catalysts your role is to harness the collective creativity of teams (through radical collaboration) to generate a breadth of diverse possibilities.
Creativity skills
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See with New Eyes

What is it?

"Assumptions are made and most assumptions are wrong.”
— Albert Einstein

Creativity is the ability to abandon assumptions and explore the world through the lens of another. Bringing your capacity for empathy (Fall in Love) help you to see with new eyes and see new possibilities that your assumptions filter out.

Why is it important?

Assumptions are driven by our upbringing, past experiences and learnt beliefs. They are what makes us feel safe and are referred to as our unconscious bias. To see with new eyes we have to un and relearn what we know to reframe a problem. Often we look at a problem through the lens of a business or brand often with very specific assumptions. Breakthrough often comes from focusing on what it takes to truly delight the user by experiencing a problem as they would opening our mind to new and unexplored ideas.

How do I do it?

Build your own self awareness so as not to assume or judge, but rather approach others with a healthy and respectful curiosity.

Open yourself and your team to new ways of experiencing a problem. We invest in experiencing a problem using metaphors and analogies. Also, suspend judgement until you have all the facts.
Ben Mcleod / Unsplash

Nurture Self-Discovery

What is it?

“True self-discovery begins where your comfort zone ends.” — Adam Braun

Self discovery is the ability to ask the searching questions at the right time to explore fresh ideas that illuminate the unknown. As Creative Catalysts our role is to create the conditions for people to self-discover.

Why is it important?

"An innovator is someone who pays attention to the unexpected, unusual, & unfamiliar" — Peter Druker.

Self discovery fosters a learning mindset that nurtures your ability to generate diverse ideas from the expected to the unexpected.

How do I do it?

Creativity starts with a safe space for people and teams to play and try out new things without judgement. Creativity operates where questions can be asked openly and people feel enabled to bring their best imaginative thinking.
Ben Mcleod / Unsplash

Jump into Ambiguity

What is it?

Jumping into ambiguity is about checking your assumptions as you journey into the unknown of a problem. The superpower here is the ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Why is it important?

There is comfort is solving, and teams have a tendency to want to jump into execution of the first idea.  Spending more time in understanding the problem enables the true question to surface, and be ideated against. As we've stated before Slow Down to Go Fast.

How do I do it?

First, recognize that nothing more stress-inducing for may people than uncertainty - as humans we tend to run away from ambiguity. You can do this by honoring the insights and data that people have brought so that they know that there is . Explain the process and acknowledge that there will be times when they will be uncomfortable, and that it is ok, normal, and necessary.

Recalibrate timing and effort expectations to 60% problem definition and 40% problem solution. Guide the team to develop low resolution prototypes to learn and iterate with. Have the user experience integrated in testing of early ideas to further developed ones. When you will guide teams through ambiguity into prototypes, they will grow to understand that ambiguity can be powerful and doesn't last forever.