Have the right ATTITUDE
Many companies think creative thinking tools and techniques will make them a more creative business. Wrong! Tools are only as good as the people who use them. In other words, what needs to change first is people’s attitude.
People need to believe they are creative, and the company needs to encourage this belief. We are an organisation where individual thought and ideas are cultivated and celebrated. This is the sort of attitude that needs to sit at the heart of the company in order to drive a culture of creative thinking and behaviour.
Be in the right WORLD
There are two worlds at work:
1. The rational world of commerce
2. The imaginative world of creativity. Recognising this distinction is critical to the creative process
In order to be creative, and share creative thinking, place yourself in the imaginative world of creativity first.
The imaginative world of creativity requires special care and handling, an open mind, and a willingness to take risks. Never try and be ‘creative’ when the tone and the context of your meeting or conversation are that of ‘economic rationalism’. I once presented a cracker of an idea to a client at a budget planning workshop, and it sank like lead because I wasn’t in the right world.
Have the right PLAN
Creativity is not something that just happens. It has to be planned for and made to happen. Set aside designated creative spaces and times. Have a nominated creativity champion, whose role it is to keep feeding the fire that fuels creativity across the business.
Set aside time to be creative. Make creativity a KPI. Make creativity a daily habit, and keep it top-of-mind by showcasing examples of your creativity around the office.
Use the right TECHNIQUES
Creative thinking techniques are useful and valuable when applied to specific issues or challenges. And the best techniques [in my view] are those developed by Edward de Bono, the founder and father of lateral thinking.
Lateral thinking recognizes that people are naturally and normally trapped in a world of “yes/no logic” [the rational world of commerce]. It’s almost impossible to come up with new, original and different ideas when you are in a “yes/no logic” mindset.
The role of lateral thinking is to shift people out of this mindset, which is best facilitated by using the Six Thinking Hats technique in a well-planned brainstorming session.
Have the right FOLLOW UP
Having original, creative ideas can be easily achieved. But unless they are acted upon, made to happen, and turned into something real, they remain as ideas. And this is often what happens.
A brainstorming session, for example, might generate as many as 200 different creative ideas, but will result in only two or three major new initiatives. To get your list down to two or three actionable, doable projects, you need to combine, refine, assess, analyse, and then prioritise what you actually have. It’s a bit like finding the nuggets of gold in a pile of mud, and it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of the creative process.