“Let’s be creative, we have to come up with a good concept for this event….”. This is how a lot of creativity meetings start when focusing on the design of a meeting or event of a new client or assignment.
Some of us are by nature more creative than others, some are not, or they think they aren’t.
I would say anyone can be creative, at least to a certain extent, but only very few can be creative starting cold.
But what is creativity? There are a hundred different definitions of creativity.
The one by Dr. Paul Torrance, an American psychologist, is the one that defines it best. According to his definition, creativity is “a process of becoming sensitive to problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, disharmonies, and so on; identifying the difficulty; searching for solutions, making guesses, or formulating hypotheses about the deficiencies…”
So how can we initiate this process and come up with solutions?
There are several methods to get the creativity flowing.
Following are some methods, just to name a few, we use a lot:
This is a well-known technique initiated by Alex Osborn, an American advertising executive, in the 1940ies. The rules are simple.
1. go for quantity
2. without criticism
3. welcome wild ideas
4. combine and improve ideas
The Six Thinking Hats:
This is a system designed by Edward de Bono, a Maltese physician, psychologist and author, in the 1980ies.
This creativity method is for groups of 6 or more people, which takes into consideration, that the human brain can be challenged in six distinct directions. For that, six different roles are given to the participants, symbolized by the six differently colored hats.
· White hat: analytical thinking – facts
· Red hat: emotional thinking – feelings & emotions
· Black hat: critical thinking – risks & problems
· Yellow hat: optimistical thinking – best case scenario
· Green hat: creative thinking – constructive attitude
· Blue hat: moderate thinking – bigger picture
A mind map is very visual creative method where information is organized and drawn in a diagram on a flipchart or paper. There are also digital versions available nowadays.
The mind map is associated with Tony Buzan, an English author and education consultant, although the principle of drawing ideas visually, has been done since centuries. Buzan made the mind map popular in the 1990ies.
The objective or target is drawn in the center of a blank page to which associated representations of ideas, like words, images and icons are drawn around it. Some ideas might be connected directly to the main target/objective, others are figured as branches of the connected ideas. This creates a visual map of the “idea tree”.
One thing these methods all have in common is an open mind, which is crucial for any idea generating.
Without this open mind the creativity will not flow, and solutions will not be found for the problem or challenge at hand.
Whatever method you use, make sure it helps to let the thoughts flow freely.
Try it! You will see how it works!