To succeed in the VUCA context it is becoming very critical for leaders to become innovative and boost their creativity.
It is common nowadays hearing that “right” brain type of people is becoming more and more essential in our world, where many “left” brain activities will be taken over by machines. SO, how to overcome our society extra focus on efficiency paradigm? How to integrate the new “creative” mindset in our life and work? This is where art can really help because art is based on creativity, emotion expression, meaning making, passion, artistic skills such as envisioning, empathy, observation and many other, exactly the type of culture we need to develop in our society and organizations.
In our creativity develoment workshops we always ask participants to share what is creativity for them, often we let them build the concept of creativity with Lego bricks or Clay. There is not a univoque definition, every person add his own ingredients to the creativity recipee, however there are many commonalities:
- Novelty/originality/authenticity: there is always an interesting dialogue on how much we need to show originality and do something that nobody did before in order to be seen as creative. Defenetely creativity is associated with pushing the boundaries of a domain which has state of the art norms. At the same time originality does not need to be necessarly "quirkiness", it can be "just" authenticity. Creativity can be expression of our uniqueness as human being. Because unique it is original by definition. Here is where creativity meets the concept of..
- Purpose: Authenticity comes out from the expression of our purpose, identity, of who we are and what we want to bring into the world. On top of that if we are not driven by our bigger purpose and our passion we will never commit the intense energy needed for creative expression.
- Efficiency vs Creativity: Somehow creativity is the opposite of efficiency whose aim is to save energy. The benefits of creativity are pleasure/meaning. The benefit of Efficiency are Time/resources/energy saving. However, even if they can be seen as opposite, creativity cannot be without efficiency. Creativity needs a box, needs constraints and within these constraints can find new solutions.
- Play: often creativity is associated with playfulness, because creativity needs our inner child to express. The one who do not censor unconventional connections
- Clash of opposites: Ideas come from opposite or very far concepts clashing together, like in this example. The Chinese fashion designer/artists Guo Pei got inspiration for her beautiful dresses from domains very far and unrelated to fashion, such as architecture (the tales of Chinese traditional houses) ceramic (a plate) and cooking (a wedding cake) and many others
An interesting way of practicing creativity is by making creative expression of ourselves with mixed media. How creative are we in mixing different media? how much can we be authentic in expressing who we are? how much do we know "who we are" and what we want to bring into the word? all these questions are very interesting to open a reflection and learning on creativity.
This practice is also a way to learn the steps of innovation/creativity process by practicing them.
Creativity process steps:
- Find a research question (How might We or I....?)
- Observe, discover, research in different domains around this question or problem to collect food for new ideas and understand better our problem
- Converge, get insight, make sense of all this material and narrow down our HMW/I question to open up again for the
- Ideation phase, which us made by a period of Incubation and an eureka moment
- Than the ideas must be validated and tested
- We need to do prototypes of it and by trial and error improve them, until when we can do
- Our final execution
This process can be applied to art as well as business problems and even if it has been described in a sequential way, actually is much more umpredictable and reiterative.
Based on my experience the most complex part for people is the ideation part because the creative part of our brain is not trained enough and at the beginning we tend to come out with very "business as usual ideas".
An important concept is our confidence on being able to be creative. Too often people have an underlying belief that they cannot be creative. My experience is that they have to work first on their underlying belif and in parallel start training the creativity muscle.
This is when it is important to boost our creativity with some "Steal like an artist" tools, practices and methods to train your creativity muscle. Here below some examples.