Ed Glassman

Anti-Creativity Forces vs Creativity Triggers

Anti-creativity forces are in constant array against the triggers of our own creativity. Even though being creative is the natural state for humans (we could not have survived and flourished without it), anti-creativity forces surround us and reduce our capacity to think creatively to produce high quality creative outputs.

What are these anti-creativity forces? We can see anti-creativity forces slowly developing in children, bright creative pre-school youngsters, who gradually lose their creative edge as they progress through the school system. Rules are anti-creativity, and yet, we must instill some societal restraint, else chaos results.

We also see anti-creativity forces in how negatively we greet new ideas, killing them swiftly, though sometimes kindly.

We also see anti-creativity forces operating when we lure people away from their internal daily enjoyment of creative effort with long-range external rewards, such as salary raises, promotions, medals, etc.

And we see anti-creativity forces marshaling their strength against creativity triggers when people take no responsibility to create a creative environment.

Finally, we see anti-creativity forces operating when people make no effort to learn or use the advanced, focused creativity triggers that prop up the creative problem sequence and help it succeed.

Anti-creativity forces are not evil. They are us. They constitute our cultural mind-channels and are difficult to weed out. The following summary makes this clear:


1. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Receiving new ideas with a supportive, positive manner. “I like that idea. Let us improve it together.”

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Receiving new ideas with a non-supportive, negative manner. “That idea is no good.”

2. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Focusing on the daily enjoyment of creative effort, the internal reward.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Focusing on long-range external rewards, such as, salary raises, promotions, medals, etc.

3. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Learning and using advanced, targeted creativity triggers, such as, brainstorming, brainwriting, forced combinations, fresh eye, how-to problem statements, metaphors and analogies, future fantasy, idea card, idea grid, etc.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Not learning, not using, and avoiding advanced, targeted creativity triggers.

4. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Seeking to discover and utilize personal environmental creativity triggers.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Not seeking and avoiding personal environmental creativity triggers.

5. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Enjoying and welcoming bizarre ideas as triggers to better ideas.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Avoiding and squelching the use of bizarre trigger ideas.

6. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Taking 100% responsibility to create a climate conducive to creative effort.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Taking no responsibility for a creative climate.

7. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Learn and use systematic problem-solving sequences to attack problems creatively.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Avoid & ignore systematic approaches to think creatively and to solve problems creatively.

8. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Seek many alternatives to avoid the quick fix.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Jump right into the quick fix by selecting the first adequate idea.

9. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Listen to and get inspired by other people’s ideas.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Stay away from other people.

10. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Forced-withdrawal, seeing things through a fresh perspective, developing new paradigms.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Staying sharply focused and avoid different paradigms and points of view.

11. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Spend time incubating the problem and thinking about it.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: No time alloted for incubation & thinking.

Add your own ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE here…



How can you defeat your anti-creativity forces? 

One way you can slip out of this difficulty utilizes the problem-solving sequence described in my book.

Step  #1. Analyze & define the problem creatively.

Step #2. Establish the criteria to select the real problem(s).

Step #3. Select one or more problems on which you will focus.

Step #4. List many ideas.

Step #5. Combine ideas into creative trigger-proposals.

Step #6. Identify the criteria to select quality solutions.

Step #7. Convert trigger-proposals into quality solutions that meet the criteria.

Step #8. Make action plans to implement a quality solution.

1. This sequence enables you to discover a high quality solution that works for you. Thus, creativity triggers can provide their own mechanism to win against your anti-creativity forces.

2. Perhaps you could take note where you aid your anti-creativity forces with your own mind-channels, and thus help them triumph. Instead, affirm your intention to use the creativity triggers more often and on more problems.

3. Make the creative process a daily, on-going habit. Combine old ideas into new creative combinations.

And checkout my book: “CREATIVITY TRIGGERS ARE FOR EVERYONE: How To Use Your Inventiveness To Brighten Your Life.” CLICK here AND HERE.

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 in Palo Alto, California.

His book: “Team Creativity At Work I & II: Creative Problem Solving At Its Best,” is available: CLICK here AND HERE.

His book: “R&D CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION HANDBOOK: A Practical Guide To Improve Creative Thinking and Innovation Success At Work” is available.   CLICK here  AND HERE

About the Author
Ed Glassman, Ph.D., is professor emeritus and former head of the "Program for Team Effectiveness and Creativity," in the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.