A TRUE STORY: I told several college students that I was writing a book on creativity for college students. One said she thought it was a great idea and that she had run out of creativity by her junior year. Another said he wasn’t creative.
CREATIVITY TRIGGERS PRODUCES GOLDEN THOUGHTS
Are you creative? Is creativity for you? You bet! Creativity is for everyone, and everyone is creative. Creativity is waking up in the middle of the night with an idea so hot you turn on the light and write it down.
Change from a person that has to be reminded to ‘think outside the box’ into a person who eliminates ‘the box’ from your thinking. Be a person that spouts unexpected ideas generously, and solves problems creatively.
I enjoy my creativity. Creativity is fun. Not ha-ha fun, but ah-ha fun. Ideas pop into my head in an erratic stream. It adds spice to my life.
Savor your creativity. Creative thinking fuels your ability to generate an unexpected “new and useful” idea. The more unexpected the idea, the more creative we perceive it.
Today the creativity process works even better than before. No longer do we have to wait for someone’s brain to slowly churn out a new and useful idea. Now we have hundreds of creativity triggers to help spark ideas to achieve high-quality solutions to problems.
“Hold on,” you say. “Didn’t the old methods work for thousands of years to produce ideas? Didn’t we construct our entire civilization using those old ways? Why a new way? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
Of course, the old ways still work. And we did construct our civilization slowly waiting for ideas to slowly appear.
Nonetheless, the new creativity triggers heat up the process, so we generate more new and useful ideas in a shorter time. And because we have more ideas to choose from, we turn out higher quality solutions, avoiding the quick fix.
Groups using brainstorming to generate ideas complain that they have trouble sorting and selecting so many ideas. How sweet to move beyond the old bottleneck of not having enough ideas to the problem of evaluating the myriad of ideas a simple brainstorming session produces.
And Alex Osborn invented brainstorming over 75 years ago, the era of the Model-A Ford and the DC-3 airplane. Not a modern procedure at all. Indeed, using only brainstorming today mimics driving around in a Model-A Ford or a DC-3 airplane, ignoring computers, antibiotics, TV, the Internet, the i-pad, mobile phones, and the thousands of modern inventions from which we benefit. Use modern creativity triggers.
Future columns will focus on what works, not theory. I presented workshops for over 15 years, and I learned that while theory helps us understand, creativity triggers that succeed help us even more.
Reduce your resistance to learning and using creativity triggers. Today, many people find that creative thinking contributes to a winning edge. People who work alone, or in groups, use creativity triggers to solve problems more creatively.
Most people drop their resistance to creativity triggers once they accept some new ideas:
First, creative thinking involves an ordinary, daily activity.
Second, people can learn creativity triggers. Using these triggers does not turn anyone into an Einstein, but they do help people find better solutions to problems.
Third, people can change the habits that spoil creative thinking and doom the creative climate.
Finally, people using creativity triggers can achieve quality solutions which lead to success.
Skeptical people need to discover that many ways exist to perceive a problem, that diverse solutions exist, and that using creativity triggers works, a key change in attitude.
Many people underestimate the power that creativity triggers provide, because they believe creative thinking comes from an exceptional, inherited gift. You either have it or you don’t.
Not so. Most of us have creative ability and use it everyday. We don’t recognize it as creativity or see it as special. We call it tinkering, ingenuity, intuition, trial-and-error, imagination, making suggestions, inventing — anything but creative thinking. We think creative thinking an exceptional gift inherited by other people.
Not at all. Most people think creatively most of the time; it depends on what you spend your time creating that makes the difference. Best of all, creativity triggers helps solve problems more effectively in your life and your career.
We could not have survived as a species had we not been creative and adjusted to changing conditions.
Many levels of creative thinking exist, from low daily levels to hot, unexpected levels. To increase the probability you operate at a higher level use creativity triggers to analyze your problem, generate ideas, select solutions, and create a creative atmosphere in your mind without pigeonholing yourself or others.
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten, maybe a bit less.”
Turn the creative process into an ongoing habit.
©2016 by Edward Glassman
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ed Glassman, Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, founded the Program For Team Excellence And Creativity at the university. He led scores of problem-solving creativity meetings and creative thinking workshops-seminars for many large and small companies. He was a ‘Guggenheim Foundation Fellow’ at Stanford University, a ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the ‘Center For Creative Leadership’ in Greensboro, NC, a Visiting Professor at the University Of California at Irvine, and a Visiting Scientist at SRI International.