Unlocking the Creative You

7 easy ways to spark creativity

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

We would like you to consider your creative fitness. Everyone wants to stay fit but the mind is really no different. New experiences create new pathways and we know for certain that any part of your body deteriorates when it is not used. This includes the mind. For proof just look at our educational system. It relies on rote memorization and produces high school students who score lower on creativity tests than second graders.

Creativity exercises do not have to be complicated. Consider using these simple techniques that can be employed anywhere, even when you only have a few minutes. These are great for team building, ice breakers and getting your people into a creative mode of thinking. Here are 7 ideas and resources you can use to spark creative thinking:

  • Try the 30 circles exercise from a Ted Talk by Tim Brown, a designer and CEO of IDEO (http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play). Quickly make 30 circles on a piece of paper, and turn as many of them into different objects in a minute or two. Try it, and see how far you get.
  • Imagine you have large numbers of pencils, pens and furniture, and what you could create from them if any tool you can imagine was available to you. Yes, deliberately vague.
  • Write down eight things that will be different in the world one year from now, five years from now, twenty five years from now, and one hundred years from now.
  • Prepare some sturdy craft paper and try to fold it into an object (for those that do not practice origami).
  • Name ten creative things you do with paper clips, coffee cups, spoons, forks and cardboard boxes.
  • Go to Google and type remote associates test. A Remote Associates Test (RAT) is a test of creativity. Many choices will pop up.  Each test provides sets of three clue words, and asks you to come up with a fourth clue word that relates to the first three.  Print out some of these, or keep them open in your browser on your phone.  That way you will have them with you when you have a few minutes free. In fact this is great to play with friends and family.
  • Do you want to quickly find out if you have the personality, attitudes, values, etc., that characterize a creative personality? Here is a free, quick test from the Kellog school at Northwestern University:http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/uzzi/ftp/page176.html

Have fun!!

“Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition.”
― Max Ernst

Frank Wander

Frank Wander, a former CIO, is the founder and CEO of PeopleProductive (peopleproductive.com), and the author of Transforming IT Culture, How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms (Wiley, 2013). This unique book is the first operator’s manual for human infrastructure and will help you successfully transform your leadership style and organization.

PeopleProductive has taken that concept to the human side of the enterprise. We similarly help you find, measure and fix a broad spectrum of behavioral, emotional and enablement issues. For the first time, you can eliminate the inefficiency that holds highly productive people back and measurably increase productivity.

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