How can I be more creative?
That’s not the question you should be asking yourself.
Creativity can be stifled by several reasons. The better questions to ask about your creativity is not whether you can be more creative, rather how you (and your organization) might better unleash creative minds, ideas, and opportunities.
Creativity is a key component of becoming an Open Thinker.
To become an Open Thinker, one ought to be continually balancing the need for reflection with the requirement to take action. One cannot dream in perpetuity. Furthermore, one must not jump straight to action.
In the summer of 2018, the world was left wondering whether 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach might make it out alive from the cave they were trapped in. If the Thai government had have been too busy or pig-headed, they might have gone with the first idea that popped into their head for a rescue. That sole idea might have been detrimental to the health of the boys or perhaps even fatal.
The eventual success of their rescue stemmed from various stakeholders working together to balance the need to reflect on all possible scenarios, make thoughtful decisions on those ideas, and then taking action to bring the boys back to safety.
The rescuers and stakeholders did not jump on the first idea. So too, they cleared their minds and schedules and created the right conditions in which positive reflection and action could occur. In the end, all 12 boys and the coach were saved.
Within this balance between reflection and action lies the three components of Open Thinking: Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Applied Thinking.
Creative Thinking is oft overlooked, and certainly underappreciated. The question is not how I might become more creative; it’s what circumstances allow Creative Thinking to surface.
- The generation of new ideas, unleashed from constraints. Do you reflect?
The questions that both the individual and organization ought to be asking about Creative Thinking are as follows:
Creative Thinking Questions for the Individual
- When asked to complete a task, do you immediately jump into action or do you take the time to pause, to reflect, to ponder?
- When a problem presents itself, do you build in time to allow your mind to wander? (i.e., do you brainstorm and ideate before taking action?)
- Do you have “skills-at-the-ready”-tools, aids, and mechanisms that permit your mind to be free-when embarking on a Creative Thinking opportunity? Or are you so disorganized it becomes a burden, with zero chance of creativity occurring?
Creative Thinking Questions for the Organization
- Is your organizational culture one that promotes reflection and dreaming as a core behavior, or is it a place of disengagement one that tries to discredit ideation?
- Are the leaders across your organization demonstrating command-and-control management practices, suffocating the chance for Creative Thinking to take place?
- Are team members permitted the time to think creatively, or do you espouse an organizational culture of constant busyness?
While You’re Here…
I call it Open Thinking, the return to a balanced archetype of reflection and action; the poised intertwining of Creative, Critical and Applied Thinking.
Full details are found in my new book, OPEN TO THINK: Slow Down, Think Creatively, and Make Better Decisions, available September 11.
It is time to rethink our thinking.
Now, why not watch the TED Talk based on OPEN TO THINK?