It’s been a strange and personally tough time recently. I’ve facilitated sessions on creativity, personal effectiveness, building trust and the importance of developing a creative mindset. I’ve also driven 200 miles for a meeting to be told when I arrived that the company had decided an hour before that they had decided to use another supplier!!!!!!!!!

OK, that’s off my chest now and I’m ready to go. I have to hold my hand up and admit that I love doing the creativity work that we do. I believe that in this business environment individuals, teams and organisations need to develop a creative mindset as a competitive advantage.

This week’s tip is not about using specific techniques such as brainstorming, the Disney strategy or force field analysis. No, it’s about the mindset itself. If I were to ask you why 8 is half 13 would you know? Most people would disagree. Some people would express a belief that this is one of those creative problem things and I’m far too left brained to do this sort of thing.

I’m a big fan of a guy called Robert Fulgham. In his book Uh-Oh he asks a great question: whatever happened to “Of course I can?” He writes about the critical difference between the mindset of a child and that of a more sensible adult. It’s a great piece and I commend it to you. You can read it here:

http://mdk12.msde.maryland.gov/assessments/high_school/look_like/2006/english/resources/yes.html

John Cleese once said that “The idea is that your creativity acts like a tortoise – poking its head out nervously to see if the environment is safe before it fully emerges. Thus, you need to create a tortoise enclosure – an oasis amongst the craziness of modern life – to be a safe haven where your creativity can emerge.”

How true. I have a tortoise so it’s particularly pertinent for me. Bloomin’ thing is useless. You can’t take it for a walk and it won’t fetch a ball if you throw it!!

On our programmes we often ask which group of people is the most creative and the usual, and I believe correct, answer is children. The problem is that our education systems can often promote ‘critical’ thinking. This is a type of thinking that emphasises the skills of analysis, following a logical argument and focusing on finding the ‘correct’ answer; which assumes there is such a thing.

Our creative thinking workshops encourages delegates to:

  • Be spontaneous
  • Be free-flowing
  • Be non-linear
  • Be curious
  • Seek problems
  • Enjoy challenges
  • Be optimistic
  • Suspend judgement
  • Be imaginative
  • Tolerate ambiguity
  • See problems as a chance to be creative
  • Ask different types of question (e.g. what if????)

In fact, we borrow the quote by Thomas Huxley who says that the secret to genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity. For me this means being more child-like rather than childish and when you look at the bullet points above, isn’t that just what children do?

So there we are. To develop a more creative mindset we need to model those creative beings known as children. I’m always reminded of a TED talk by Sir Kenneth Robinson. In a school one day he saw a young girl drawing a picture. When he asked her what the picture was of, she replied it was God.

“But no-one knows what God looks like” he said to her.

“They will do in a minute” she replied.

Now, that’s a creative min at work!!

If you would like to know more about how we work with teams and organisations to help them develop a more creative environment please contact us in the usual, not so creative way: by calling us on 01376 346939 or by emailing me at ian@eagletraining.co.uk.

By the way, the answer to why 8 is half of 13 is if you represent 13 as XIII and then draw a horizontal line across the middle, leaving VIII.