Creativity Update

To be extremely successful, you must be creative. Not the kind of creativity that compels people to put together scrap books or to arrange their bulletin boards just-so, but the kind of creativity that allows you to solve a problem with an uncommon solution. Your solution doesn’t have to be completely new and unique, but you’ll know it is a creative solution if it takes a certain amount of guts or audacity to explain it to people. Here are just a few creative solutions on my radar this week:

1) The idea of working out while working isn’t something I came up with myself, but I’m the only one I know personally who does it. Thus, it took quite a bit of research to figure out what was needed and how/if it would work. (By the way, yes, it does work. I cycle about 3 hours / day at about 7 miles per hour – slow – while working.)

2) According to an article this month in Fast Company magazine, someone offered free piggy-back rides to anyone who would “sign up today.” Okay, so we aren’t so sure that’s going to work out, as I certainly would be less inclined to sign-up (!) but I’m assuming he knew what his audience would think was funny and was successful with it.

3) The Stanford d school reported recently on student’s responses to the directive to describe each process design mode in one sentence. I like these: “Enter someone else’s world, observe and listen for an hour but design forever” and “Battle of egos: Pow! Pow!”

I know what you’re thinking: creativity means putting radioactively colored sticky notes up on the whiteboard.

Okay, so maybe it does sometimes. But the biggest two things you can do to boost your creativity are 1) give yourself a few minutes to one hour of free-time (Richard Branson used to walk around his garden to think, for example) and 2) do a quick creativity exercise such as putting together a few legos or solving a puzzle online.

Don’t be fooled, though, most creative ideas are met with criticism. If your idea is being criticized, it has to be met head-on. Is the criticism warranted? One way to find out is to think about whether or not you would have said the same thing. If it is something you would never say to someone, then you can bet the criticism is unwarranted.

A guy named Elbert Hubbard once said…

The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing

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