I was lucky to attend a very interesting panel discussion last week, organised by the British Council along with the University of London and Royal Holloway College. Much of the discussion focused on the current discontent with “experts”, expressed most famously by Michael Gove during the UK referendum which led to Brexit. Much of the discussion focused on the implications for higher education. Some panellists agreed with a statement I’ve heard elsewhere that one of the biggest trends of the last 100 years is the professionalisation and specialisation of the world. Read more »
Archive for the 'creativity' Category
In their most recent report on advertising creativity and effectiveness, the IPA and author Peter Field reach the startling conclusion that both creativity and effectiveness are under threat. And who are the culprits? They believe that short-term thinking and especially a focus on driving rapid sales effects, combined with the post-global financial crisis recession, are killing the creativity of advertising. Read more »
What can sleep teach us about creativity? In The Secret World of Sleep, Penelope Lewis describes what sleep enables us to do that we can’t while awake. In many ways, the book is not just about sleep, but about the science of the brain, how memory works and what sleep brings to the creative process.
Chance favours the prepared mind
The approaches that businesses use for brainstorming are widespread (almost universal) and date back to the work of Alex Osborn in the late 1940s. In his new book Imagine, Jonah Lehrer argues that some of the assumptions for these tools are wrong, and that we need to rethink, at least in part, how we understand and practise the creative process, basing his arguments on scientific studies and latest brain science. Read more »
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.” - Albert Einstein
Connecting the dots
Are you drowning in the sea of data yet? As the world becomes more and more complex, with more and more information to understand and less and less time to do this, the importance of integrative thinking becomes more and more important. In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin presents a number of convincing business case studies, including A.G. Lafley at P&G, Jack Welch at GE, Michael Lee-Chin at AIC and Martha Graham (who revolutionised modern dance), all of whom were able to see problems from a range of perspectives, think in terms of total systems and not component parts, and simplify complex ideas into straight forward (and often disruptive) solutions to problems. Read more »
Dan Pink’s post on solving problems by sharing them intrigued and inspired me. He reports recent research which shows that we are quicker and better at solving problems when we are solving them for other people than when we solve them for ourselves, and we get better and better the ‘further’ away we are from the person. Put another way, the more we are able to distance ourselves from a problem, the more abstract and creative our problem solving is. It can really help your perspective to trade places with someone else (as Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy discovered). Read more »
“He who laughs most, learns best.” - John Cleese
John Cleese talks about the basis of creativity in our unconscious mind in this great video clip (thanks to @heartofinnovation for drawing my attention to this). He also highlights some great tips for creating the right conditions for creativity :
“I view my role more as trying to set up an environment where the personalities, creativity and individuality of all the different employees come out and can shine.” - Tony Hsieh
“There’s no half singing in the shower. you’re either a rock star or an opera diva.” - Josh Groban
I don’t often sing in the shower (don’t worry – you haven’t missed much!). However, I get many of my best ideas there, and based on conversations with friends, I think they do too. Why is that?
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” - Edward de Bono
“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” - John Cleese
Is there a secret?
The secret to creativity is not to overcomplicate the creative process. At heart, most of us know what’s really required. There is no magic solution or silver bullet. No one can guarantee a ground-breaking idea either, and the secret to success is to keep doing it!