The third building block of a creativity culture

As we reach part 3 of our building blocks of a creativity culture, what have we looked at so far? We've looked at 2 building blocks of a creativity culture:

  1.     Encouraging a creativity mindset
  2.     Creating the right forum for ideas to come forward

I often use an antique camera to encourage creativity (you'll have to come on one of my workshops to learn that one), and as any photographer knows, tripods have 3 legs for a reason: they're just not stable on 2.

So my 3rd building block of a creative culture is the tools themselves, and these are vital to enable people to thrive in the environment you've created with the first 2 steps.

As people, we have a problem with innovative thinking - we're not very good at it. As children, we're brilliant at this - I see this with envy when I look at my 5 year old. But then we go to school, where we're told that there are right answers and wrong answers. Then we might go to university, where we're told more of the same. Then, any lingering vestiges of creativity are finally expelled when we start our first job and go to our boss with a good idea. And what do we hear in reply?

"It's too risky and too expensive."

If there was any hope we might go on to contribute ideas, then this is the last nail in creativity's coffin.

Then we find that creativity is a vital tool to business success, but it's now too far gone to naturally come back to us.

There's some good news here too, though. And that's that this is a global problem. And some very clever people have spend a long time finding tools which help us to be creative and innovative, even if it no longer naturally comes to us.

These are little, simple tools, which we can facilitate really easily with teams either remotely or in person. Let me share one with you now...

Many people struggle with creativity because they don't know where to start. They find a blank canvas too daunting to think of coherent ideas. So how about reverse brainstorming? It's simple, effective, fun, and relatable. It works like this. Imagine you have a problem of falling sales in your organisation...

  1. Facilitator introduces a brainstorming session and outlines brainstorming best practice (which stops people dominating - ask me if you'd like to know more about that).
  2. Facilitator sets a question for the exercise, which is How can we make sales even worse than they are already?
  3. A few confused looks will go around the room, and perhaps a couple of giggles, but stick with this...!
  4. Team brainstorms answers to the question on the left-hand side of a whiteboard (or Jamboard, Miro canvas, etc.)
  5. Team then looks for opposites to those things, and those go on the right-hand side.

It's really simple, but the team now doesn't have a daunting blank canvas to work on - they have specifics which they can then reverse. And the unusual nature of this exercise leads to much more creative outputs.

Of course, this is just one of many tools which can be used to enable people to think outside the box, and I've got plenty more where that came from. Why not download my infographic to get some more?


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