The Path To Mastery
Developing expertise in creative problem-solving takes the same pathway to mastery as the development of any other skill.
It requires the iterative application of knowledge to a wide range of problems of slowly increasing complexity, with ongoing feedback, monitoring and reflection on performance.
When it comes to creativity and innovation reading my newsletters and blogs may be helpful (I hope) in providing you with some useful insights and understanding. That could help to further develop or construct your mental representations or cognitive schemas i.e. mental frameworks.
It may even whet your appetite to want to investigate these hot topics even further. That’s a great.
But that won’t make you more creative.
You wouldn’t expect to become a better golfer or pianist or doctor by reading a book about it. (Although there is an account of a German mathematician and scientist, Theodore Kaluza born in 1899 apparently teaching himself to swim by reading a book about it. Legend has it that he succeeded on his first attempt in the water. Call me a sceptic, but I think it is more likely that romanticised stories arose around someone who was extremely versatile and brilliant. Either way it is definitely the exception.)
How to Become More Creative …… Guaranteed!
To improve your ability to be a creative thinker – think creatively – every day. A study at Harvard University found that people who were identified as being innovative – spent 50% more time consciously and deliberately trying to think differently.
Here is a simple tool that can help prompt us to think creatively. I call it my BODS tool. It is an acronym to help us to be more creative. After all …. we can all be creative BODS!
The tool is simply a series of four questions based around the words Better, Other, Different, Simple. If we asked ourselves these four simple questions every day – we would become more creative – guaranteed. These questions prompt us to think more creatively!
Here they are:
Better – Is there a better way of doing this?
Other – How have other people solved similar problems?
Different – What would I see and do differently if I looked at this situation from a completely different point of view?
Simple – How can I make this simple? Simple is the new smart.
Help Your Team Be More Creative
These questions are a great way of encouraging people to constantly look for improvement opportunities. Imagine what would be possible in a workplace where everyone asked themselves these four questions every day …… in everything they did.
I’ve shared it with many different groups and leaders and they have found different ways of adapting it for their contexts. Some have created colourful, visually engaging posters to place around their workspace to keep the question prompts top-of-mind, others use a BODS question at team meetings to extend thinking, still others ask those questions regularly, at strategic junctures, as they go through extended projects to ensure that they are actively considering alternatives that they may have missed. After all its easy to fall into default thinking as a result of being furiously busy.
Transcend The Default
Asking ourselves these four questions, no matter what we are working on, allows us to transcend established practices and processes. So even if we are using a well-established, reliable procedure we can ask the question – can this be made better, rather than accepting …. “this is the way we’ve been doing it for ages and it has worked well so far.” Others might say “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. What we’re doing works – so just trust the process and don’t change it.” Tempting if we are super busy.
But Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX warns, “The problem is that in a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking.”
Using simple tools like Creative BODS prevent us from falling into the rut of trusting the process without question. They can be easily used every day to prompt creative thinking.
Want to know more about simple ways to unleash your creativity and the creativity of your workforce? Email us to find out how we can help you and your team become confident with everyday creativity.