In today’s highly competitive world few would question the need for creativity, in other words, finding new products or services and more effective ways of doing things. Yet in many organisations the culture ensures that any attempts to be creative are killed off before they can take root. So, when the talking stops, what practical steps do you take to encourage and manage the creative process? One approach, called Sticky Wisdom, offers an exciting six-step programme which does work!
Step 1 – Freshness
You need to jump out of one “stream of thinking” and enter another. This gets us out of our hard-wired, analytical, left-brain approach to everything. There are four stream-jumping techniques; re-expression (finding an alternative way of describing or experiencing the issue), related worlds (finding an alternative but similar issue or benefit in another world), revolution (identifying, then deliberately challenging the rules and assumptions), random links (using a deliberate connection with a random item).
Step 2 – Greenhousing
Young ideas get destroyed in the Emergency Room (ER) culture of today’s organisations. We need to switch between ER and greenhouse at the right time. Stay in the SUN (Suspend judgement, Understand and Nurture), and keep out of the RAIN (React, Assume and Insist).
Step 3 – Realness
Make ideas real as soon as possible. Reproduce the experience you are thinking of and bring it to life. Don’t be a perfectionist. Share prototypes.
Step 4 – Momentum
The management of energy. Momentum is contagious, but so is inertia. Momentum breeds high corporate self-esteem and makes people feel that anything is possible. Companies lacking momentum create a culture that is self-defeating. Ban dull away days in boring hotel rooms.
Step 5 – Signalling
Tell others how you want them to react to your ideas – build it or find the holes in it. Without signalling, you cannot greenhouse an idea. Signalling takes five seconds or less to do, but needs to be practiced.
Step 6 – Courage
Creativity is closely related to bravery because it requires the creator to expose themselves to potential judgement. Brave people do not think of themselves as brave, they are merely being true to themselves. Show your struggle, stretch your comfort zone, cloak yourself in positive self-commentary, find your friends and support each other, get convicted (don’t wait for belief to come to you, but visualise how things could be).
It won’t always be easy to operate at a creative level, but by making yourself change the habitual, comfortable things; by letting go of the familiar world of quick judgement; by creating an alternative view when time tells you to move on; and by making things real, you will succeed.