A deep dive into one of the 8 Critical Capabilities from the book PowerUp8
“Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they cannot be as creative as humans (yet)” Alex Gary, World Economic Forum
Creativity is not a competitive sport
The exponential rate of technological evolution is reshaping economies, merging industries, fusing technologies and reinventing the customer and employee experience requiring creative solutions and rapid innovation. Organisations need people who can not only think out of the box, but break boxes, build new boxes, travel between boxes and invent new shapes (not boxes) if they want stay ahead of the change curve or at least ahead of their competitors. We need people who can imagine a possible future, overcome constraints, identify potential and bring diverse ideas and people together to create something of value. Creativity is no longer an individual competitive sport. It is essentially the ability to bring diverse ideas, people and possible solutions together and test them in a fast and efficient way.
Most adults have only 2% creativity left
For most of us, creativity has been educated out of us and we don’t end up using even the small amount of it left in us, due to fear, risk avoidance or just a general lack of motivation, time and energy dealing with day-to-day realities and crises. It is safer to avoid the risk of creative expression. In addition, social structures and organizational barriers drain adults’ creative inspiration and creative power.
I remember signing up for a 3-day art workshop at a meditation centre in India many years ago to expand my “limited” artistic ability. What I discovered was a part of myself that had been locked away in a little box from school days when I was encouraged to be neat, use the materials given and colour within the lines, impress the teacher and finish on time. It was an enlightening experience and shattered some mental boundaries and limitations of expression.
Creativity can be learnt
The good news is creativity can be learnt and is not just for the artists, painters, musicians or poets, but for anyone who wishes to solve complex problems, invent original things and create something new for the improvement of our society. It requires a willingness to be a bit unorthodox and perhaps slightly rebellious, to listen and embrace different thinking and perspectives and to reimagine problems by breaking through assumptions, stereotypes or “rules” to see new patterns. It requires challenging the obvious, discarding the irrelevant, anticipating scenarios, an openness to being wrong and a passion for seeking to understand. Times of crisis seem to accelerate the rate of innovation and creativity as people are forced to reimagine how to do business when business as usual is disrupted.
“Massive innovation comes not from solving what we know how to solve but from radical, crazy, forward-thinking ideas.” Peter Diamandis, Singularity University
An attitude of creativity
All of us at some stage have probably experienced some level of ridicule, criticism or pain associated with our unique creative attempts – leading to the sad reduction in our natural creative thinking to some 2% of our potential. So how do we bring back the spontaneous and original creativity of our pre- 5-year-old selves? Have a look at the Cautious dreamer vs the Possibility connector descriptors below and see which identity or attitude you may want to cultivate to enhance your creativity muscle
Possibility Connectors believe in the power of imagination, diversity of ideas and exploring possibilities to solve problems. They use playfulness to tap into their creative genius and get excited about new challenges. They use language like “Let’s try something different”, “it’s ok if we fail”, “how else can we view this?”. They have daily habits like keeping a creative journal, tracking trends and making time to imagine.
Cautious Dreamers on the other hand believe that it is safer to follow others than face the humiliation of potential failure. They generally feel stuck, defensive, resistant and cynical. They use language like “not now”, “it’s too risky”, “let’s wait and see”. They have daily habits like criticizing other’s ideas and dreaming or talking about possibilities but procrastinating taking action.
Daily hacks and habits for creativity
There are many stimulants of creativity that get our creative juices flowing.
Habit #1: Playful imagining
The biggest challenge to our creativity is the hardwiring in our brain. To soften and even unravel some of the wiring to give yourself more room to create… imagine you are a 5-year-old child with no fear. Be playful. Draw, laugh, dance, cry, be silly, dream, roll in the grass, act out a scene or build a blanket fort OR imagine you had all the time and money in the world, what would you or could you do?
Habit #2: Energy in motion
Another big barrier to creativity is our self-limiting emotions that hold us back from being different, trying something new and being our authentic selves. Notice what emotions come up when you do something silly, new, weird, etc and identify and reframe. Consciously shift your feelings from insecurity to interest, from fear to fascination, from self-criticism to self-love. Passion is a powerful emotion to inspire creativity.
Habit #3: Diversify Perspectives & Paradigms
More perspectives make for more diverse ideas and options. Opening our minds requires questioning, challenging, and testing different perspectives and paradigms that may be our only reference point in our life experience so far. Whenever you catch yourself thinking: “But I know this will or won’t work, or this is the only way, or it’s obvious”, it may be time to investigate some different ways of thinking.
We have listed a few creativity resources below and many more are in the PowerUp8 book. Check out Moon-shot thinking, Bad ideas, Mash-ups, A beginner’s mind, The Einstein Technique, The Power-Nap, Invisible Counsellors or 27 creativity and innovation tools in the link below.
Have a look at one of our many resources to build your curiosity
- Thinking in New Boxes: Alan Iny
- Creative Brain Documentary
- The Innovation World is Changing Due to the 4th Industrial Revolution
- Creativity test
- 27 creativity and innovation tools – in one-pagers! – SlideShare
ABOUT DEBBIE CRAIG
Internationally-recognised people strategist, Debbie Craig is the founder and MD of Catalyst Consulting. For the past 20 years, she has been transforming organisations, teams and individuals locally and internationally in over 5 continents and 15 countries. Debbie holds a B.Com, PDM, and MBA and is a registered Master HR Professional through the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) and an international NeuroChange consultant. Debbie is the author of several best-selling books: “I am Talent”, “I am Alive” and “Accelerated Learning”. She has written numerous published articles and regularly presents at local and international conferences.
Whilst technology may be threatening to replace many repetitive or replicable human activities, there is still a critical need for thinking and skills that will enable innovation, customer engagement, responsiveness, adaptability, cross-boundary teamwork, virtual teams and personal health, success and fulfillment.
In PowerUp8Debbie Craig reveals why the world needs more people who are:
- Intensely curious (about themselves, others and the world),
- Originally creative (experimenting, learning and willing to fail),
- Courageously committed (to their vision for self, team or cause),
- Consciously choosing (where to focus attention and how to show up),
- Critical thinkers (who can resolve dilemmas and make meaning out of noise),
- Trust building collaborators (that combine perspectives and strengths into lasting relationships and value),
- Change influencers (that navigate the maze of change for positive impact) and,
- Generous contributors (that build lasting healthy communities).
PowerUp8 offers readers a guide to rapidly build the most important beliefs and habits required for success in the next decade – using the latest brain and behavioural science of learning and change. These 8 capabilities have been carefully chosen from a unique combination of research and practical experience in developing organisations, leaders and learners over the last 20+ years.
What they say about this book
- “I wholeheartedly recommend that you buy this book and use it to build a more powerful you to take on our exciting future!” — Mark Cotterrell, Chairman and CEO: MAC Consulting
- “PowerUp8 provides tools and guidance to set yourself up for success in the years to come. A great gift to leaders who want to leave a great legacy and positive impact on the people around them.” — Kurt Droeshout, COO: Ismaeel Abudawood Trading Company, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- “Debbie does a great job of setting the context and exploring the tools to navigate it in a practical and adaptive manner. This book has shifted my thinking and I value when shift happens!” — Themba Chakela, Principal Head, Human Resources: Dimension Data MEA