15 Best Creativity Tips
“The only sustainable competitive advantage … is creativity.”
Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner is changing the way I look at problems, solutions, and ideation. Here are a few highlights of a book I’m keeping handy.
Three types of Creativity:
- Breakthrough Innovation: instigating disruptive game-changers.
- High-Value Change: creating significant improvement.
- Everyday Creativity: making small changes in high frequency = big results.
15 Best Creativity tips:
Focus on curiosity not result.
- Ask, “In a perfect world, what am I trying to accomplish.”
- Warning: The problem you’re solving may not be the right problem. Redefine the problem again.
- Don’t create a memorable event, process, or program. Create a memorable experience.
- Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.
- Establish your own fictitious worst enemy and compete against them. Josh’s is Slither.
- Do someone else’s job for 3 months. (The most innovative company in the world practices this.)
- Create inspiring spaces. Many offices look like sensory deprivation chambers.
- Shake things up. For some that means having an off-site meeting.
- Look at your challenge through the eyes of a child, parent, villain, mechanic …
- Appoint a “blocker” whose job is to challenge every idea so you have to defend it.
- Change the problem you are solving. That’s where the Nintendo Wii originated.
- Find the most offensive, wrong solution possible. See if it’s opposite is the best idea.
- Warm up with fun games or exercises rather than saying, “It’s time to be creative.”
- Edgestorm, push your idea to the max. That’s where Cirque du Soleil originated.
What creativity enhancing techniques or strategies can you suggest?
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My interview with author Josh Linkner:
Finding Your Competitive Advantage
Bringing Contrasting Qualities Together
“The problem you’re solving may not be the right problem.”
That’s absolutely true. The ability of a leader is also to define the REAL problem before wasting resources trying to fix something that’s not gonna save the day in the end.
One of the next books I’m reviewing is “My Life in Leadership” by Frances Hesselbein. She makes a big point about defining the problem before you try to solve it.
Best to you,
Very inspirational. I love 3, 4, 12, 13. The way to truly differentiate yourself is to change the game everyone else is playing. Then they are playing catch up to you.
So many good ones where do I start? I particularly liked #2, #3, and #4. I believe that TV show where the boss works under secret identity is found in #7. Enjoyed these posts Dan. (Came by way of Scott’s blog after the interview).
To enhance creativity I would suggest a measure of regular self-care. After all, what good is creativity if you’re not healthy enough to be creative in the first place?
Great interview. Even if I don’t get a free copy I will be getting this resource.
So true. We cannot let tasks and duties ruin us. If they do, we’ve lost not only ourselves but our potential. Very sad when that happens.
I liked Josh’s list and can identify with many of his thoughts. I particularly liked the first one focusing on curiosity. Critical curiosity is a fundamental element of how we learn and I believe the more curious we are the more likely we are to become more creative in our thinking.
Critical curiosity is also one of the seven dimensions of Learning Power. It is about enjoying a challenge and confronting perplexity. Learning by working things out, problem-solving, seeking out information and better understanding. It is also about enjoying questioning, finding out, and self-directed research. Finally, it is about refusing to accept things at face value.
Your learning power, once properly identified, can also be developed. The tool I use for this is the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory [ELLI]. For those who would like to know more, please view my blog on http://www.wear-consulting.com and/or just ask.
I’ve really enjoyed the threads from the interview with Josh – he has a refreshing candidness and approach, which has really perked me up.
a small fire keeps you warm,a big fire burns you out.
When I was a much younger man, I had the opportunity to work for a retired Colonel. Every few weeks he would select a few people to go on what we called “forced marches”. The walks we took with him seemed, at times to be a disruption to our routines and a time waster. But looking back, they served several purposes including a time for exploring ideas and fostering creativity.
Dan – Regarding #8, here’s a photo of what we call our “Family Room” in the middle of our office building:
We keep a chess game going all the time. The fireplace in the corner is nice when the Ohio snow falls just outside the windows. Just to the right of the picture is a curved wall we devoted as the graffiti wall where Team Members can write anything they want.
This is really good stuff. Of the three kinds of creativity, I’m always amazed at how much of the third (Everyday Creativity) there is on the plant floor. Sometimes we achieve the second (High-Value Change). My personal experience with the first (Break-Through Innovation) is if you don’t have the senior managers on board, it is very hard to do. You almost need a special space or process for this or it gets choked in the bureaucracy. Still worth pursuing.
“focus on curiosity not results”
How often have I stopped short of a breakthrough because I focused on results too soon? Point to ponder
I intentionally ask my leadership teams, in our planning meetings, to feel free to say, “…no…I don’t like the idea…we need to try something else……” and we practice saying it to me to make them comfortable….
What a great idea, Chuck!
I particularly like the push to another idea. There’s no greater threat to creativity than merely blocking the idea without seeking an alternative.
Practising this also gets the idea dynamos to practice hearing it. That eliminates the surprise, and thus most of the threat.
“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” ~Jim Rohn
“Don’t create a memorable event, process, or program. Create a memorable experience.”
I love the one that says don’t say “it’s time to be creative!” A good friend of mine (and a very talented creative) once said that creativity is not a product, but a process.
The book sounds great!
Straight to the point – just how i like it! Both the book and this blog!
This blog post begins to change how I’ve viewed things in my industry up until now. I am a graphic designer by trade, so leading creative is a must. I have a question and a couple of remarks on your creative points:
#4. By creating a memorable event, process or program, does that not create a memorable experience by itself? Should one define what makes something memorable to oneself first? By memorable, should it always be positive?
#7. Being a business owner with no employees, I am curious as to how to do someone else’s job. If I can accomplish this, it will help me in my own business tremendously.
#10. This creativity bullet reminded me of a tactic my mentor uses from time to time: he actually asks his kids’ friends what they think of as he mentions an idea. Sometimes he gets a better idea from “brainstorming” with his kids’ friends.
Great post, thank you for sharing!
I’ll toss a couple ideas your way. Perhaps some others might have suggestions.
#4. I think the idea of creating memorable experiences is more a focal point than an either/or situation. My tendency is to work on a program and let the experience follow. Perhaps it’s interesting to start with the experience you’d like to create and then design the program.
#7. Could you volunteer somewhere? Ride along with the fire dept, shadow a politician, be a teacher’s aid, … ????
Thanks for your feedback, input, and questions.
Thank you for the feedback, Dan. It might be an interesting jolt of creativity to start with a program and let the experience follow. I must admit I didn’t think of volunteering, that’s a great idea!
#4 May not have to be ‘positive’, it could be stimulating or even stimulating and uncomfortable. With your graphic background you can set up all of the aspects of the environment to focus as Dan said or charge up the experience. If I walk away from an art exhibit that gets me going or that made me uncomfortable, I do tend to reflect more about what connected.
#7 Serve on a non-profit board…they are often screaming for people with visual skill sets. It connects you on far more levels that you can imagine.
As a creative I would rather the target audience have a positive memorable experience, but I do realize this is not always possible because art, graphic design, etc. is subjective. Your suggestion of a non-profit board is intriguing, and one I had not thought of. Thank you much for your thoughts!
With respect to #4, one way of looking at experiences is with the end in mind and this usually means the customer. So talk to your customers to find out what they liked and didn’t like about their experience with your service/process/etc.
By listening, you can uncover problems that were hidden to you, or discover things that you didn’t think were problems to begin with. Either way you gain valuable insight into what they expect, how you can meet that expectation, and how you can potentially differntiate yourself from your competition.
I think the biggest challenge to fostering an environment conducive to the expression and magnification of creativity is finding the balance between challenging ideas expressed as a means of enhancement or sifting out the gems and challenging ideas such that it comes off as criticism that participants want to avoid.
Great ideas and concepts. #5 jumps out right now, as I have some free time and ideas always seem to be jumping around. I don’t want to lose them or let clients lose them. the concept of creating a “parking lot” to facilitate coming back to them is terrific.
Curiosity and pleasure. Initiate the simple pleasure of talking and thinking. Go for the pleasure !
I am an artist whose career has become head of a non-profit organization. I’m thankful for these lessons and ideas I never imagined I would learn.
I really like #7 and # 8. I’ve never been so empathetic and open to new ideas and understanding of my company after filling in for some time in another position. Also being comfortable and able to get into a new place is vital for breainstorming and critical thinking. I know many people who are so creative but cannot find a way to harness there ideas. This book looks like it will help those people very much.
There is a whole section in the book on LAUNCHING your ideas that I didn’t even mention. It’s very useful.
Since I began reading your ‘blog recently, I’ve come to understand that my job (I’m a drama teacher) is a leadership position (I started reading in an attempt to discover where my leaders have gone so wrong).
It might seem that, as an “arts” discipline, drama would be inherently creative, but I at least am prone to pay too much attention to result–there’s a surprising amount of pressure to focus on ‘product’ rather than process–and lose the long view by focusing on the minutiae of the moment.
With the future of education funding uncertain, it’s easy to waste time on excuses, but maybe the solution to the problem of no money for arts programs is creativity; all three types of creativity articulated above may help sustain valuable programs like drama.
What a creative perspective David, well stated!
Wow, i think i should print this “roadmap” to the success.
Of course, it is much easier to go with the torrent instead of “change the rules” and act creatively, but only doing this we can achieve higher places.
Thanks a lot for this and sorry for my bad english.
Best wishes from Brazil.
Tiago C. Simões
I have found fear to be a big obstacle to breakthrough innovation. You must create an environment that allows people to break free from that fear to express their wildest ideas.
Would love to read this book! Pick me!
I know that creativity is not even a topic discussed very often. I can put into effect some of these tips to certainly help bring about innovation and create a more engaging environment. Thanks for the post.
Sounds like a great book. Even though a lot of the tips listed above seem to be more directed towards companies and innovation there are ones that can be tweaked for personal/entrepreneurs as well.
#3 happens to be one I probably focus on too much and then get “stuck”.
What I really need is a way to filter and determine which ideas I have are most likely to succeed since I can’t possibly focus on all of them. (or I could have a team of minons running around to put them all into “play”).
Great seeing you. I found the last section of the book good for helping people filter, choose, and execute on the best ideas.
I wish you well in your business.
Our offsite brainstorming, in different and inspiring environments, has taken our creativity to new levels. I’m really interested in the idea of creating experiences, and not just events. Easy to desire, difficult to do.
You can’t start a fire without a spark. These ideas are just the spark needed to look at the larger picture with a different lens.
I follow you on Twitter and I love all 15. Looks like a great book! I have a book, Investiphobia: Overcome Your Deepest Investment Fears, coming out in a few weeks. I’ll trade an autographed copy of mine for Disciplined Dreaming and leave me out of the 15 random selections.
I love books that make me stop and think, Josh’s book looks like a good one!
Best with Investiphobia. Great title. Wish I could change the rules of the game but the publisher is providing 15 copies. I’ll keep you in the running.
No problem, maybe we’ll do a similar promotion if you like Investiphobia and the message it contains for today’s often harried investor! Glad I followed you on twitter, enjoying looking through your blog.
Interesting piece. I find that creativity can’t be forced. I believe the first step to enhance creativity is simply to create space for creativity to occur. The tips are useful ways of doing that, but in the end, if there’s no ‘space’, no down time, no opportunity to just ‘be’, then often the insight is lost – or never surfaced at all.
“Shake things up” is my top creativity tip. Most of my best and most creative ideas have come about when I am doing something else, or at some place other than my desk/office. It doesn’t even need to be an “inspiring” environment, just different!
I’d like to share a little story from the days when I was doing construction work, specifically building sets for TV commercials here in Chicago. We had a guy on the crew named Kenny. Low income, high-school drop-out, biker and absolute genius. He could build anything no matter how difficult or mechanical. I couldn’t work with Kenny because I simply didn’t have the technical skills or the ability to keep up with him.
One day Kenny called in sick, and I happened to be the guy who picked up the phone in the shop. Kenny jokingly said I’d have to fill in for him.
“Ken, I don’t know if I can, but I’ll give it a go.”
Kenny simply answered, “Be creative.”
It changed everything for me. I realized that Kenny wasn’t the brightest guy on the crew because of his experience or know-how – it was that he could adapt that knowledge and make it fit to any problem we had to solve.
All I had to do was take my own experience and know-how and adapt it to whatever task I was given. The job suddenly got easier, and in six months, I went from low-level laborer to one of the lead guys running crews.
So the lesson is simple – no matter what the task or what the job, creativity is what makes the difference between the truly effective and the ones just doing the task.
Thanks for giving us that snapshot of Kenny, Joe, that is a huge nugget! Somewhere, when we standing in line to get our ‘adult’ badge, someone must have told us we have to turn in our ‘creativity’ badge. Maybe we don’t need no stinkin’ badges! 😉
Awesome story. Thanks for sharing it.
I suggest to start a process of thinking of solutions that does not analyze the validity of each idea until this process is completed. It is free thinking about ideas without stopping to determine whether or not any of the ideas have a possibility of relevance or success.
Most of us do not have the capacity of geniuses who can think uniquely without the burden of rationality. So the closest we can come is to free think without interupting that thought process by judging each idea.
Thank you Dan!! I have enjoyed this series on creativity for the past few days. I especially like the idea of seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Being blessed with our first grandchild, I get to practice this everyday!
Great ideas. Will print off the list and use it myself. Thank you.
For me, one of the best ways to get creative is to set myself a completely different task while leaving pen and paper handy. While I’m doing laundry or painting a room I often find my mind becomes freed up to create without the expectation to do so. Having pen and paper nearby encourages me to get those free-floating ideas on paper. The only downside is sometimes it works so well the laundry or painting are soon put aside and I find myself still writing an hour later!
Man! Those are great ideas. I like #4 about creating experiences. Really really really good stuff here. Thanks for sharing!
Great post, Dan. Lots of good tips in there. The question is, what is the most reliable method for identifying the most creative employees?
When creativity comes naturally to employees, they are able to execute these tips easier and likely would yield the best results for the organization.
This is excellent! I have 2 favorites as take aways: Point #7, doing someone else’s job for 3 months. Not only does this help extend our own creativity, but it also gives valuable insight into a coworker’s creative reality which helps to gel the creative process as a whole; Point #15 Edgestorm-absolutely the best spin on “think outside the box”; to me edgestorming is not only thinking outside the box, buy maybe leaving the comfort zone of the box behind altogether. Thanks so much for this post!
I would love to have a copy of this book. What a great giveaway. Thanks.
Great list o’ 15 Dan.
The underpinnings of the list might be ‘have fun’ with the process. Finding ways to tap into your right brain strengths is part of this.
In amongst the ideas here, the old game of ‘add-on’ popped into my head. (Used to play a b-ball game where we would make one shot and then add on another shot and on and on, like ‘horse’ only different.
Maybe rename it to ‘add-on absurdities’ The process would be one person comes up with an idea. The next person states that idea and adds-on one element, perhaps getting a little more absurd each time. Keep pushing the walls of your own little box out…til you see daylight and then push some more. Ex: I want to build a car that gets 100 mpg. I want to build a car that gets 100 mpg and floats. I want to build a car that gets 100 mpg, floats and has an espresso machine…etc.
Once you have some laughter and everyone has gone over the edge, then pose a more realistic ‘want’ or target and still add-on, with just a touch of restraint.
This also reminds me of some of the recent music threads we have here and the strengths of musical improvisation. Just want it to be scherzo… 😉
Hey Doc, you just gave me a very “creative idea!” A floating, mobile Starbucks, we deliver! Obviously because of patent infringement we would have to change the name. How about “Cafe Camino” which literally means walking coffee. Have a great weekend. 🙂 BTW first stop is my Sky Townhouse! regards Al
Hmmm, you know Al, sort of wonder why SB’s hasn’t done that yet!? I know they want to create the little community corner spots, but still…given the success of all of the mobile food carts, why not?
I will add on to that idea with a SB franchise that involves the Camino with pneumatic tubes that will plug into your Sky Townhouse and other major businesses with a direct caffeine feed.
And while a Cafe Camino is probably the best choice, I wouldn’t pass on a DeLoren Double Shot o’ Espresso either!
Creativity used to scare as I thought of myself as a non-creative. Lately, I’ve begun change that thought process and would like to get my hands on this book. Thanks!
Great ideas!! I’m partial today to: 10.Look at your challenge through the eyes of a child, parent, villain, mechanic …
I (along with about 3,999 other people) recently entered a short story into NPR’s three minute fiction contest. My story was about a little boy who made a connection with his hospitalized, Alzheimers-riddled grandfather that the adults couldn’t make. I wrote it 3rd person. It became a totally different story when I told it from the perspective of the child. I think that dynamic (changing the perspective) could hold true in businesses and organizations too.
The collection of concepts here is wonderful! Breaking past limiting ideas (or utilizing the limits or “worst ideas ever” as opposites, I loved that) is a really dynamic way of pushing the creative mind (gently) into the state of flow it needs to really get to that GREAT solution, product, or concept.
On #1: Just be curious! Come on. Let go. It’s ok.
On #5: Remember to keep the parking lot right in front of you so you DO the things you put there. Parking lots are expensive for long stays, so get out a g drive your idea. Also, you don’t want your idea towed. Besides, no fair that it’s filled up with ideas and block new ones from parking!
identified with and stimulated by this list… I’ve gotten lazy about incorporating these ideas. Recommitting today! thanks!
An additional creativity enhancing technique or strategy implied across several of his concepts is to recognize the power of iterative thinking and creation. Embrace it! Few dreams or ideas leap from spark to “done deal”. Most, including our growth in most positive areas of life and work, are revealed over time through practice, overlaying work to date with new inputs and tangental ideas, rather than through blind adherence to the first thought. At the same time, do not overlook the “spark of genius” that does occur from time to time! After all, “A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking” (Adrian Savage)!
“The problem you’re solving may not be the right problem. Redefine the problem again.” — Answering questions no one is asking..
Creativity uncovers lots of juicy stuff and can get into long off topic tangents for fear of losing the idea. Parking lots are great to put them in to pick up again later.
The best perspective/creative shift for me is to think of what my 2.5 year old daughter might be curious about and ask… everything.
Thanks for the great article.
I must read his book!! Suggestions that I have are:
1. Ask WHY six times to get to bottom of problem.
2. Have an idea board – where ideas are blasted – some will be flakes, but captures those brain bursts that are often forgotten as we go about daily life.
3. Designate part of each week to being creative – similar to change location with off-site. Do it even when there is not a problem to find a solution to – just for sake of innovation.
Our business is not our business. Our business is YOUR dream.
I definitely need to strengthen my creativity
Creativity is essential to being about change.
I love Darleen’s suggestions and Joe’s story. And I agree that “allowing” or encouraging staff to think in another way on a daily basis is empowering.
Frequently people at the coal face will have a different and more creative take than the Exec sitting in the Director’s chair. They are even much more aware of problems – or cumbersome rules – and frequently more than able to find solutions.
The real leader recognises this – and does not see it as a threat but as an opportunity.
Hi Dan and fellow readers,
I like the “change the problem you are solving” point. It hints at the reality that some problems you are attempting to solve are only surface issues, and if you dig deeper or redefine the problem, then you actually come to the best solution.
For example, I was struggling to wake up at my normal 5 am each morning. I thought the problem was that I was not getting enough sleep, so I went to bed earlier and even tried short naps in the day (when I could). But I just could not return to normalcy.
Then I redefined the problem as involving my 9 month old, who was waking up all night long and early each morning. So now, I have him on a better sleep routine and I’m back up at my regular time, and I can fellowship with the Creator–early and uninterrupted–hence helping my creative ability.
Thanks!! Looking forward to reading this book!
Blessings, in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Loved this post. It reminds me of some of the tenets from Appreciative Inquiry , especially # 2 And #4. Working with Appreciative Inquiry, I’ve seen groups break out of the status quo and become very creative and hopeful about their future. This sounds like another book for my toolkit!
Thanks for these posts, it’s like my first cup of coffee for the day, rich and satisfying!!
I don’t believe that creativity is the only sustainable advantage. I think that teamwork is. Effective and true teamwork, however, will create an environment for creativity.
Perhaps it is a chicken and egg discussion…
I’ll be sure to let Josh know… 🙂
Seriously, thank you for your comment.
Love the list! My favorite is “Appoint a “blocker” whose job is to challenge every idea so you have to defend it.” – way too often we surround ourselves with people who think just like us. This creates an environment that is very difficult to grow in. People who disagree with me cause me to reevaluate my beliefs and assumptions in ways that are very helpful
What strategy can I suggest to promote creativity. That one is easy. Read the LeadershipFreak blog everyday and feel the “inventive juices” boiling. 🙂 Thanks Dan and have a great weekend. Regards, Al
A couple of the steps really stand out for me in my organization.
#7 is basically what I started doing when I joined my employer. I’m in HR and helped establish the HR program for my church. In order to do that, I started by shadowing each of the ministry leaders to see what exactly they did. What kind of talent was needed for the different positions, and what types of issues they were having. It is still one of my favorite parts of my job 🙂
#9 we are getting ready to do now. After over a year of being part of the staff, we are now making strides to help develop our volunteer ministry leaders. One of the ways we are doing it is shaking up how we pour into them. We used to have quarterly meetings at the church, now we are going to have monthly sessions at the Pastor’s home. It will shake up how the meetings go and hopefully inspire candid conversations that lead to big solutions.
I enjoyed this blog post. Thank you!
I love #8 because that is exactly why we created a creative meeting space at http://www.blueoceanfacilities.com where companies can rent the space and have creative off site meetings! It is a fun get away space from the humdrum office and really does spur innovative thinking and ideas.
On number 8…create inspiring spaces… we also have to be careful once we have our workspace in an inspiring space that we don’t diminish it by the way we abuse our workspace. Mash-ups are made for on-line not on the workspace.
Fine and simplicity. Looking at a challenges through the eyes of a parent!
“Warm up with fun games or exercises rather than saying, “It’s time to be creative.” I’m going to use this one today!
When new people come into your department/organization it is always wise to listen to ‘fresh eyes.’ They are seeing things for the first time and you have just gotten used to how ‘it is supposed to be.
The only problem so many ideas thank god don’t have to use them all 🙂
I think as a leader creating an atmosphere where all out brainstorming is a part of the decision making/problemsolving matrix where team players can speak and listen with equal freedom- is paramount to creativity. Some of our best ideas started off as an off the wall comment or concept! This book looks amazing!!
I like to brainstorm until I get 3 ideas, then get 3 more ideas on top of each of the first 3. After that I put them into a logical sequence and just elaborate.
Sounds like an awesome book. As an educator, I’d love to move this type of dreaming into the classroom. The approach fits nicely with teaching with inquiry!
True change is grown internally! I teach in a fantastic district, where learning is facilitated, however if true change is going to occur it is going to be grown from within. Witin usually gives us the M&M’s ( meaningful, manageable and sustainable)
“Don’t create a memorable event, process, or program. Create a memorable experience.”
This one touched me the most. We often forget that it’s not about the destination but the journey and that is what defines us. If you focus on the end, you’ll miss the journey.
Forgot to add that to grow that change and have those M&M’s creativity and inspiration need to be present. This list will help fire that spark.
The idea of fixing the wrong problem has stuck with me these past couple of days ever since I read the Tweet about it. Several times this week, I’ve stopped in the middle of what I am doing, remember Dan’s tweet, and ask myself, “am I fixing the wrong problem?” I actually caught myself doing it on more than one occassion! Great piece of advice!
The other thing that popped in my head at one critical point during the day today: I’m surrounded by “blockers”. I’m about to become the most creative man in the world! 🙂
That’s one of my favorites too. Thanks for your sharing your own story. It’s encouraging.
My new motto for Everyday Creativity: making small changes in high frequency = big results. I love that! Something I knew already but needed to be reminded. Simple yet profound. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Sounds like a great, inspiring book. Grateful for the chance to win a free copy! 🙂
Two fatally flawed ideas exist – 1. Creativity can be easily monetized. Most creatives have a very difficult time paying their bills due to feeling an insignificance of monetizing their art. 2. Money can motivate creativity. Money can motivate mediocrity in art by taking the customization out of the continuum. Art must be motivated by pure love and desire to create and express. Any money made is entirely an additional blessing to most creatives but not the means. Summarily, for the creative, the end justifies itself because more than the art exists on the chosen canvas, for the creative the life of the art created in within the artist and that cannot be monetized.
prayer – ask for creativity/creative ideas – then listen…
amazing idea flow
Ask what would XXX do?
For XXX substitute Moses, Bush, Atilla, Odyseus, dr Doolittle, whoever. If you’re in a group, let them think of a famous or not so famous person in history. Them discuss the subject at hand in in roleplay, where everyone plays their fovourite.
Now I’m thinking of it. What would George W and Atila brin up while discussing an alternative to the Ipad2.
Would love a copy!
An imagination is the most thrilling magic carpet ride.
A sign of a great leader is one who is willing to be lead by God!!
I often ask: “What would someone else have done to solve this problem?” Then I go look to see if someone actually did it. If not, I know I have a creative idea. It might not be a good idea, but it is creative.
What an awesome & generous opportunity. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
One of the things i would like to put up for debate: does doing “nothing” once in a while actually stimulate our well being and therefore, creativity?
I think so.
Doing nothing is not actually a planned vacation. It is just lazing around with a book, walking the woods, watching the waves at the beach .. its just an unplanned, relaxed way of letting yourself be – without the pressures of time and to do lists.
We live in a creative world made by a creative God and for us to flourish to our complete fulfillment we must learn to live with a creative heart and life. I believe this book can help me do just that. Thanks for your great Blogs.
Love the parking lot idea. Everyone needs a place to store their ideas to let them grow into something viable for the future..
I would love a copy of the book! Creativity is priceless
Creativity is contageous…one piece of advice that most miss is to hangout with creative people. Find 3 people who you see as way more creative than you ever thought about being and spend time with them. You’ll be surprised how much they will stimulate your creative juices.
Having off-site meetings can be a good creativity booster. It gets you out of your normal surroundings and allows you to think things through from a different perspective easier.
I love #8. There are a million good ideas on how to generate ideas and only a few of the really good books pay attention to environment (Doug Hall – Jump Start Your Brain) comes to mind. Picking the right foods, wearing the right clothes, creating inviting and inspirational environments are all a critical element and I applaud Josh for recognizing that.
I printed, laminated, and taped the list to my desk at work and my desk at home to remind me as the leader in the different areas of my life to apply them will increase my effectiveness as a husband, father, and manager. Thank you for sharing.
11.Appoint a “blocker” whose job is to challenge every idea so you have to defend it. It is critical that you have a few people in your life that will do this I prefer to come from position of defining it vs. defending it as it may cause you to become defense and less effective.
I’m a big picture dreamer!
Big ideas scare people. So implement your big idea in small chunks that people can grasp. The stairway to heaven is in small steps people can get.
Great information on creativity how to encourage it and keep it on course.
I think it is critical to create a “safe” environment to be creative. This involves the setting, the people, the space, and the problem. Preconceived solutions must be set aside and the problem must be viewed with an open mind. Great post…………look forward to more!
Great list of ways to build creativity. I look forward to reading the book.
I love this list. Three things I have found helpful to inspire creativity are:
1) build an idea wall: this can be an actual wall, it can be a series of sticky notes stuck to your calendar, it can be a notebook/file on phone where you jot ideas before they disappear.
2) create a fidget box: sometimes people need to distract themselves (if you work at home, laundry is excellent for clearing the cobwebs from the brain). The fidgets can be magnet connectors, puppets, blocks etc
3) use an art box: If I am working with a group and we’re brainstorming or problem solving or batting ideas around, I have a box of markers, playdough, coloured paper of different sizes, scissors, tape, glue and other odds and ends. Having people put together a two or three dimensional structure or collage is very freeing. No artistic skills required.
Thanks for adding to the conversation… nice.
Would love to read this book….you have intrigued me once again!
Creativity is often associated with the production of something new, e.g. product development, etc. The most effective people I’ve ever encountered have been in all areas of business though; what they shared was the ability to bring the creative process into any situation, allowing their minds to look at a scenario in a new way. Some of this is critical thinking skill, but there is definitely an art to identifying the similarities, connections, and potentials between disparate objects and people, and again in having the vision to bring these things together productively.
I teach a Creative Problem Solving workshop, and love this list of tips. The book sounds like it would be a great addition to.
I work mostly with manufacturing employees, and often their jobs are routine and repetitive. They love the opportunity go get creative and try to solve some of the company’s problems. Company’s need to remember to go to the people on the floor. They’ve got great, practical creative ideas.
Great suggestion Linda!
I like the idea where you appoint someone to challenge every idea you have so you can defend it. The resto f the ideas are just as good, though1 Thanks, I just discovered your blog.
I use mind maps to jumpstart creative writing. I find the visual process breaks me out of linear thinking mode into relational thinking mode.
Creativity is something I’ve always struggled with. Great Post!
I thought it was interesting that Linkner explains that creativity is nearly 80% learned. I thought that was cool. He went on to give tons of techniques to make it happen.
Or is it 80% unlearned? Seems, as kiddos, we are pretty darn creative, wonder where we might unlearn it???/
These are very good suggestions.
“Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.”
This has been the secret to MANY of my life projects. Whether my 3 x 5 card file or my Excel spread sheet file – creating a place for great ideas is essential to my future projects!
Would love a copy to review on my podcast / blog: http://EaglesInLeadership.org/category/interviews
#4 is all about being customer-oriented and works regardless of the career field. #13 is ingenious; I can’t wait to put that to use!
Parking lot of ideas and coming up with the most absurd, incorrect idea to find its opposite are great and timely!
Just discovered this blog – great ideas!
Love the idea of the blocker. I think for a number of leaders their own insecurity would preclude having such a person in their lives but what a critical element. For the past number of years a high level leader in another industry has been this person for me and what a difference it makes. Simply making you stop and justify based on reason rather than preference or, worse, ignorance is such a great thing. Also giving permission and accountabilty to your team to all be blockers is empowering and allows bads ideas to be challanged right away and by the right people.
Great list! We all need reminders to think outside the box and get outside ourselves once in a while. Thanks.
Creativity is here to stay! I can identify with many of these tips but the one that sticks with me the most is, “focus on curiosity not result”. When you want to accomplish a goal/learn something new, in the beginning you might envision the end result, however it is that desire/search for answers, questions asked, knowledge gained, problem solving and the step by step process that crystallizes your growth and creativity. By being curious and working hard the end result will come to fruition.
Hi, also when you’re a leader or manager and want employees to innovate, know where they are in the process before jumping in:
1) dreaming stage: stay out of the way!
2) researching possibilities: make connections, find resources, free up time
3) planning options: provide planning structure — offer tools, space, and time
4) implementing: provide greater structure and oversight; ensure financial resources available as well as bring in people with expertise in finance, production, etc.
5) commercializing: consider taking over; your innovative thinkers may not be the best people to bring the idea or product to market. However, do not cut innovator out of the loop. Keep involved while gently nudging back to stage 1 on the next big ideas.
Great comments Illysa. I’m going to add yoru list to my training materials. Appreciate the succinct outline of stages.
Thanks Linda, I appreciate your post. Sometimes I write stuff and send it out into the ethernet and I wonder if I’m talking to myself 🙂
It may not come as a surprise – but your post is also excellent inspiration in Denmark. We need being much more curious together. My focus is crosscultural dreaming. Bringing different nationalities together to come up with something new. A challenge and a great opportunity in Europe with so many different languages and cultures.
The practical hands on suggestions you make will probably work anywhere.
Look forward to trying them out in practice.
I would like to suggest the following creativity enhancing techniques.
Effort : Effort is more important than the result. Even you do not get expected result, effort does not go waste. So, one should make honest and best possible effort with expecting much about the outcome.
commitment : Effort without commitment is worthless. Committed effort pays more than actual result. Commitment increases concentration and effort increases speed to reach towards goal.
Decision making : Make the habit of making decision. Many people only think, but do not dare to make decision. So, making decision eliminates unnecessary options and efforts.
Idea execution : Even lazy person can conceive ideas. So, idea starts living when it is executed in time. Only hatching idea is not enough.
Challenge trends : Always try to question and defined rule of success and try to create new ones. trends create boundary and challenging them widen boundary.
Simplicity : Approach the problem with simplicity.Even complex problem can be solved in simple way.
Be yourself : The most important thing to remember. be yourself, love your idea, believe in your effort, it will pay sooner or later. But do not try to be somebody else.
More good ideas to add to the list. Thanks for your input. The “Idea execution” is so important. I am a great one for coming up with wonderful ideas, but often that’s as far as it goes. (I blame it on lack of time and/or money of course.)
And “Be Yourself” is so important. Each of us is unique and therefore has unique ideas. What better way to be creative?!
Thanks for sharing these points. I especially appreciated the point concerning “Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.”. It is easy to lose important thoughts and ideas that are not related to the task at hand. The intentional recording of these thoughts could be useful at a later time.
On another note, I find that reading the comments here on your blog are just as informative and helpful as the great content you post. Many thanks.
I am in love with the original ideas that this author has come up with. One word: multi-faceted
Start your day with a moment of reflection and time of gratitude. Taking time to focus on positive thoughts is the best jo (caffeine) to begin ones day.
Simple, but, always set aside a few minutes of every day, to think, & seek the vision for your leadership. Two activities are great thinking, dreaming opportunities for me. One is sitting in a preaching service. The other is mowing. Mowing puts me in isolation, and some of my best thinking gets done.
Everyone has the ability to be creative. Some just don’t want to take the chance. Nobody should ever worry about being wrong with a creative solution.
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Full of ideas that can be used with no extra effort.
Ever notice how a cat or kitten approaches a new object? First they examine the object from all sides. Then they poke or paw at it. If the object is not something that can hurt them, they find a way to play with it…. and a new solution is discovered.
Thanks for a great illustration.
Thank you so much for these tips! We have been working on trying to creatively plan a huge event and I’ve been feeling like hitting my head against a wall. Can’t wait to use some of these 🙂
I personally like No. 10 – looking through the eyes of a child. They contemplate the world differently and help us to be more creative in how we consider things. My 5 year old the other day said ” you know Mummy I’m living in my olden days right now. You’ve already had yours but mine are now. Imagine what I’ll be living like when I remember back to this day.” How can he (and I) change the world for when he looks back to his ‘olden days’?
How true! Having grandchildren has renewed that concept for me. What a bright child you have to understand the concept of “the olden days” at his age. By all mean use him as inspiration!
Thought provoking..will share it with my team. Very much interested in reading your wonderful book
# 11 — “Appoint a “blocker” whose job is to challenge every idea so you have to defend it.”
This is really “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” theory of leadership.
(1) It may have worked to bring the union back together, but does it work in corporate governance…? There is a difference between surrounding yourself with “yes-men&woman,”
(2) what does it say about your organization when you have to appoint someone to take the contra-side, shouldn’t all top leadership always be thinking about the opposite argument for any action…
This is a great summary list. I find even thinking in No. 7 terms can be fruitful.
As an aside, I teach a creativity class at Oklahoma State University. I love that this topic is getting so much interest again. The timing could not be better.
Josh Linkner is really inspring. It is funny how it can be so easy to overcomplicate things, when in reality it is – or could be – simple. This is reminding us to get back-to-basics. Great!
#10 us quality – look at the challenge through the eyes of a child. My job is to support 350+ churches in their work with children and young people, the greatest challenge comes in helping the church change its view (see the world, their church and community with the eyes of a child) . . . walking in others shoes brings amazing opportunities for change and growth!
“Do someone else’s job for 3 months.” i often think that most of the problems regarding top-down decisions in my school would be solved if every single person in the admin team had to teach a class. Not just drop in and do a 30-minute observation, but REALLY teach.
Thanks for some great ideas!!!
Great list, Dan, Thanks for highlighting this resource.
For #14 (Warm up with fun games or exercises), I’d suggest theater games. They’re great right-brain activities that get you moving and loosen your inhibitions. To get some great warm-up games/exercises, take an improv class!
Creativity can be sparked by surrounding yourself with creative people.
Great post. You always grow up thinking that creative people are born the way they are and that it can’t be learned. I think that while there is a bit of truth to that, Josh debunks the myth that creativity is only available to those types of people. Eye opener!!
These are some excellent tips! I will look to implement them asap!
This is wonderful. I’m being disciplined and beginning to organize my thinking from just reading the highlights!
Pick me! Pick me!
Thank you for giving me another kick-start kick-in-the-pants on my creativity! I’m going to reread these for a week and see what I begin to unlearn so that I can unleash the potential for making life even greater!
Wow, the 15 thoughts about creativity are very interesting. Not being on the creative side of the ledger I really enjoyed this one. Much to think about and consider.
“When the drama seems to have no end, choose to let it end with you.”
This is a personal quote that I wrote a year before I left the ministry after nearly 14 years of service. I just started my own photography business (in fact the above mentioned website will be going “live” in just a couple days) and I still know I desire to lead at heart, but I have become “gun shy.” That said, I am excited to read your quotes on leadership and hopefully come out on the other side a more gracious, humble, vulnerable, yet strong leader. Thank you.
Let’s try this again. LOL. I just totally misunderstood the purpose of what you asked for. My Comment: Since I am a photographer and growing in it everyday, these were GREAT tips. I already use one of them by playing, “You Sunk My BattleShip” before I draw, paint, pull out a camera or study/brain storm! Now, I need to think of more games I could play. Perhaps, Scrabble or Mad Lib?! 🙂 Maybe that would keep me off the “Blonde” Richter scale!!!
I already have the book on my iPad thanks to your blog. Keep it up! Your posts keep me encouraged, inspired, and excited!
Thanks so much for your encouraging word. Cheers!
Focus on curiosity not results.
I love that one! When I focus on the outcome, that`s when I really mess up and fail to be creative.
I love #2 – i often get lost in the mix of focusing on limitations. The very open-ended thought of “in a perfect world” is often frightening to me because I tend to over think what limitations might keep us from reaching the “perfect world” – this post helped me challenge that today and give someone a chance to dream big.
This book sounds great. As computers systematize more and more jobs every day, our ability to create meaning is going to be one of the hottest commodities.
Great post. I find your blog refreshing and uplifting.
I love # 4 i.e. Don’t create a memorable event, process, or program. Create a memorable experience.
Great You are a genius.
This post was very enticing and will drive me to purchase the book incase if i dont win it.
Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored. I do it always i have a parking lot of ideas maintained and revisited for the review, this helps alot.
Working on issues of utmost complexity parking lot will serve the purpose of eliminating matters of less importance.
Thanks for sharing this story,it’s mean a lot for me.
Redefining the problem works well for me…whenever I can get my headlight the problem long enough to do it. I need to make that more of a problem solving priority!
I love Number 5–Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.
My brain naturally bounces from idea to idea, problem to problem, solution to solution.
My project these days has been how to quickly store off-topic ideas so I can re-focus on the situation at hand. It’s important for people like me to be able to access these off-topic ideas again as needed. Otherwise they’re future solutions that go down the drain.
i will may be seen as an opportunist but i’m only leaving a comment to buy myself a ticket for the “Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity,” lottery 🙂
by the way, i find this blog really interesting. your tweets are always short and efficient !
5.Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.
My “parking lot” is having 2 notebooks filled with ideas for my blog. I also keep a dedicated file filled with topics, that I may use at a later time.
Thanks — Awesome List
5. Create a “parking lot” where off topic ideas can be stored.
I have multiple ‘parking lots’ — digital and hard copy. Providing a structured system using David Allen’s GTD concepts has allowed me to quickly capture items for future actions.
When it is time to write the newsletter — newsletter ideas and links are readily available — I seldom dread the newsletter.
Gathering team feedback on specific items is directed immediately to a reference folder. At the right time this ‘parking lot’ has all of the info — no chasing it down.
Another folder houses Big Ideas
Sounds like a great book. I’m always on the look out for books and articles on creativity.
To enhance your creativity… practice it!
Get into the habit of thinking creatively, finding original solutions to everyday problems that have “standard” solutions, and it will become easier to think creatively when faced with problems that -don’t- have standard solutions.
It can be something as basic as what to eat for lunch, what to answer when someone says How are you, or a million other “problems” that we have standard solutions for.
Don’t try to find a creative solution to everything, but simply pick one or two “usual” things you do each day or week and see if there isn’t a new and creative way to go about it. Repeat until creativity is just a habit!
As a young entrepreneur and creative leader, I find all this information very practical. A lot of times we, as dreamers and thinkers, need to really challenge ourselves to prevent getting stuck in creative ruts or even for the simple idea of putting ourselves in check, especially when we have something we think is great but there are flaws we can’t see…it’s always good when someone can check their own selves and some of these tips offer the guidance to do just that, along with other many great ideas.
Thanks! Would love to win this book!!
Wow, I really like #13: “Find the most offensive, wrong solution possible. See if it’s opposite is the best idea.” I have never heard of this as a creativity tip! I could definitely see how you could come up with some creative ideas this way!
Don’t discard any idea, even the most crazy ones, because they could be useful in other moment or circumstance. Even if it were yours. Do not understimate yourself, you can be a great thinker. Your list was very inspirational for me.
I am working with a group of people who are being creative and innovative in their silos – but who do not think that other’s can benefit from their brilliance! Interesting! I love # 8.Create inspiring spaces. Many offices look like sensory deprivation chambers – LOL!
I agree, creative spaces would go a long way to helping some of the stale environments I’ve see.
Great post, Dan! I recently wrote a blog post focused entirely on your tip #8 if you’d like to check it out -http://tranquilspaces.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/designing-for-innovation/
Thanks for leaving an added resource.
What creativity enhancing techniques or strategies can you suggest?
I’m a huge fan of Tom Kelley’s and David Kelley’s work, especially in their book, “Creative Confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all.” There are some amazing and encouraging gems, this small highlight won’t do it justice.
Fail early, fast, and often. I keep coming back to the Agile methodology again and again, but learning what doesn’t work in the first month is way easier than learning it doesn’t work after a year of hard work.
Have courage and leap. Sure, you can’t fail if you don’t try but that also means living with the status quo. Fear keeps us from trying to be creative.
Use what you have by seeing it in a different way. The design firm IDEO promotes “creative bursts” – which don’t require any special time, training, or supplies. One activity is to make up a story about office supplies. While that might not sound very interesting, try explaining how that stapler got on your desk when you know very well (for the sake of the story) you don’t own a stapler. It’s not about being outlandish, it’s about creating a new event.