So what exactly is creativity and how can you enhance it? Creativity according to the Oxford Learners dictionary is:
the ability to use skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art; the act of doing this
I have a few tips and techniques from a recent lecture by Professor Vincent Walsh on High Performance Teams specifically on creativity at The Weekend University at Birkbeck London. In a nutshell, my big takeaways were:
- Any creative endeavour is a process and as such is never reached – people can get caught up with perfection and get into never ending loops. You decide when you have created what you want and at what stage you are at, ultimately that’s all that matters
- Great work must be a magnificent obsession and you must be willing to have the courage to go for it and embrace failure. It’s a feedback loop and you can only not succeed by not trying. A good way to think of this is unsuccessful outcomes that eventually lead to success as opposed to a concept of failure
- Know where you are, sometimes people get lost – remember the better an idea you have of where you are the easier it will be to track your progress – perhaps keep a log, write in a journal or even better get a coach
- Have the courage to “let it happen’, know that in the process there are going to be very challenging times and there may be a temptation to over compensate and do too much. In the immortal words of our great teacher Yoda “Patience you must have my young padawan”.
- Do nothing! And do it more often – we also have a tendency as humans sometimes to be over busy working on things and then not allowing the time for the brain and natural processes around us to take their natural accord – trust the process.
- Be beautifully wrong! There are times when we and others learn the most by getting it wrong and learning from their own or other people’s mistakes – history is replete with scientific mistakes that have eventually led to great breakthroughs.
A key factor in creativity is to make sure you know your stuff! One has to be prepared to become a real expert in ones field – this is what is required to allow true creativity to flow!
One model of the main steps in creativity are:
- Preparation – learning, attention, reasoning, planning to gather information
- Incubation – letting your mind wander for greater creativity
- Illumination – Eureka, the moment you understand, really understand what you are working on to a deep level
- Verification – the use of your critical thinking skills to take your message, product, service, piece of art to a point of delivery