How creative are you?

Creativity is about shaping the game you play, not playing the game as it exists!”

Sadly, most people and most organizations are rarely creative. They tend to live life and go about their business according to established ‘rules’ or conventions. I guess one could say it is easier that way. By contrast, truly creative people and companies have the imagination to see beyond the present reality and invent new, different and better ways of doing things. Creative people tend to make up new rules or break the old ones. When channelled properly (i.e. focused on the right challenges and opportunities) creativity is the most powerful force on the planet. You see, there is a theoratical limit to how much one can know and learn but our capacity to create is infinite.

The reason I bring this up is because I believe we have entered a world where our creativity will become a distinct part of defining our value in society. Each of us will be measured by our ability to influence and lead change. Let me ask you, do you think Microsoft would be where they are today if they hadn’t continuously redefined and re-invented the rules of technology? Do you think anyone would have had the nerve to charge $3.00 (or more!) for coffee if it had not been for Howard Schultz’s (Starbuck’s founder) mega dose of creativity? When you think about it, every company who has made giant leaps in business has done so because they have capitalized on their creativity.

As I was sitting here writing this ezine I tried to define what creativity meant to me. This is what I came up with:

creativity is seeing the world as a place of possibilities instead of impossibilities.
creativity is about changing the norm, even in the subtlest of ways.
creativity is recognizing that there is likely more than one right answer to most questions.
creativity is always asking why and what if.
creativity is about being open to new interpretations and other opinions.
creativity places great value on having a unique perspective.
creativity is about creating associations that never existed.
creativity is about taking a fresh look at something that already exists.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, what else would you add to the list?

Sadly though, most of us think being creative is something outside of our reach. We think that in order to be creative we need to be born as this “way out” right brain thinker and that’s not true at all. I personally know of at least 50 different exercises you can do to increase your creativity instantly but for the sake of brevity let me share just two.

Ask, How can this be different?
Choose a focus area (i.e. what do you want to work on?).
Isolate every step/process/ingredient that goes into it.
Look at each component separately and ask how could this be different! Implement change.

Use the random word method.
Choose a focus area (i.e. what do you want to work on?). Have everyone write down 2 or 3 objects on seperate pieces of paper.Have someone select one piece of paper (i.e. one object, must be a noun).Brainstorm all that you know about the object selected (colour, shape, size)Associate each one of the observations made back to your focus area.

Click here to see a mindmap explaining the “Random Word” process.

Brainstorming Exercises

Pick a focus area (or 2) and make a commitment to redefine how and why they exist today.

Capture your ideas and put them in action.

Your creativity will open you up to opportunities you never imagined. If you need any help, give me a call. As always feel free to share this message with whomever you wish.

Curt Skene