How many times have you heard that at supposed “brainstorming” sessions for your organization? Perhaps, you have even been responsible for starting these meetings.
These often involve post-it notes, a guy with gelled hair and leather patches on his sport coat, fired-up talk of “creativity,” and dishes of candy. The meeting becomes a veritable business term BINGO game.
Let’s see…”paradigm shift”…”synergy”…BINGO!
This has to do with a skewed perspective on what creativity is. Creative thinking is not something bestowed upon a certain group. It can be learned.
To do so, you have to begin to understand a few simple things:
1. You don’t know everything. This has to do with things that we assume to be true. So often, we get wrapped into our ideas. Creativity has to do with the idea that you don’t have all the ideas. There is no end to how deep you can take this idea. Even the way that you think about creativity has to be changed.
2. The “been there, done that” model has no place. What you have done is your experience. You have had it for a reason. Be willing to look at the past in a new light. Just because one marketing tactic did not generate much in the way of results does not mean that it never will. Use experience as an opportunity to see what was behind those decisions. What motivated you to make the decisions that you have in the past? How commited were you to those ideas? This will allow you to see a different truth about the same circumstances…that is, after all, what we are after since…(see #3).
3. Creativity is an ability to see more of the truth. Some people that I have worked with in the past have tossed work on my desk. “Jeremy, we need some creative eyes on this thing. Can you take a look at this and give us some of your creative notions.” Well, no. Not really. Creativity is not a magic wand that I can hover over a set of numbers, ad campaign or article. It is just a truth that underlies a set of ideas. Often it takes more than one set of eyes to do that. Thus the reason for things like Pixar Studios‘s collaborative approach…or the way that most national chemical labs work. The truth requires more eyes than just two to see.
Creativity is an energy or a willingness to toss aside what is commonly understood to pursue a deeper truth. It is not a virtuous or noble pursuit, and engaging in creative thinking does not make you a superior human. However, it is necessary to grow a business, organization, project or a happy life.
A recent article that Adam sent me from Copyblogger does an awesome job of outlining the major blocks to creative thinking. I think that I have been the perpetrator of all of these at some point or another.
Read through the copyblogger article and find new ways to discover the truth about your organization or your team. Ask yourself which ways you are blocking creativity on your team, and find ways to stop or work around them.
Jeremy Nulik, Creative Energy Officer, St. Louis Small Business Monthly