Innovation Hints.

Enhancing Creativity

  • Building Organisational and Personal Innovation Capacities.

         Defining Creativity and Innovation.

    • Innovation and creativity are related, but not the same.
      • Creativity underlies innovation.
    • Creativity is the result of divergent thinking; it is, by definition, non-conformist.
    • Creativity is an unstructured task.
      • It cannot be ordered into existence.
      • It requires freedom of thought.
      • It is the result of intrinsic, not extrinsic, motivation.
      • It requires some expertise, but not too much, to permit thinking and seeing in new ways.
      • It requires accepting risks.
      • It requires freedom from judgment and critique during developmental stages.
      • It often occurs because someone sees connections between apparently unrelated things or approaches.
  • Techniques for Enhancing Personal/Organisational Creativity

     The most important factor in creativity is exposure to new ideas, perspectives and experiences

    • Read different magazines and about different topics every week.
    • Select publications and subjects different from your usual reading material.
    • Explore a broad range of subjects as far as possible from your personal interests and experiences.
    • Change your personal points of view. Carefully observe and listen while you.
      • Drive to work using different routes.
      • Walk different routes.
      • Shop in stores you would not normally use.
      • Go into unfamiliar neighborhoods and areas of the city.
      • Talk with people you encounter by chance. Listen to their stories.
      • Observe people carefully. What are young people wearing, carrying doing? Be a “Cool Hunter” by trying to identify emerging fashions and trends.
    • Sit and observe people/eavesdrop on conversations.
    • Keep a notebook handy night and day; record ideas and thoughts.
    • Pick up every brochures/flyers/handout you see. Read them. Keep them on file. Periodically go through and look for connections, new ideas, new sources.
    • Look at art—paintings, drawings, sculpture. Try to see through the artists’ eyes –the light, shadow, shading, color.
    • Include non-representative art, abstract, absurdist, impressionistic, etc.
    • If you apply the principles of “seeing” used in such art to “seeing” your challenge or solution, how does that change the team’s thinking?
  • Techniques for Enhancing Creativity in Innovation Teams.

    • Have the team meet and work outside of its normal environment.
      • Go someplace different to meet, a neutral, out-of-company space.  
      • Seek places with bright colors, art, music.
      • Find someplace people can work comfortably sitting or lying on the floor or in non-traditional, non-office furniture.
      • Dress code should be casual during creative work sessions.
    • Outline the challenge
      • Define the desired goal or outcome.
      • Challenge the team to think about different ways to visualize the challenge, the different elements of the challenge, and possible outcomes.
    • Start the session with a few creativity games to help people move their thought patterns towards more divergent thinking.
      • Some team members may see the following activities as frivolous when suggested by team leaders. Such techniques have been shown help people free up their minds to think differently, much like warming up before strenuous exercise.
    • Start with the “Think Outside the Box” exercise, for those not familiar with it.

                                                                  Think Outside the Box Exercise

                                                         .    .    .

                                                          .    .    .   

                                                          .    .    .

    Require each person on the team to draw these nine dots. Then tell them to connect each dot to all the others using one continuous line without ever lifting their pencil or pen up off the paper.  When completed, the box will have all of the outside dots connected in a square, with lines going from corner to corner diagonally across the center, making an X through the center of the box.

    • Have every team member draw a picture of the challenge as they see it, that is, visualize the challenge.
      • By putting ideas into pictures, differences in members’ perspectives become more obvious and generate new ideas.
    • Have every team member draw pictures of their ideas for possible solutions.
    • Create a word map of either different parts of the challenge or the team’s different ideas for solutions. Write the ideas in a scattered fashion on a large piece of paper or board and then look for connections; draw lines between connected elements.
    • As a team, tell an oral story about the challenge or solution, taking turns adding to the narrative as the story is passed around the group.
      • It’s important for group members to take this seriously as a way of understanding elements of the challenge.
    • Use word games such as having each person add a word that relates to the challenge in their minds; record the words.