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Trainer’s tip: Can you teach creativity?


Most businesses fail because they run out of ideas, says David Weeks. He believes that not only can you teach creativity, but it is essential for your company to survive.

David Weeks of M1Creativity advises:

Have your managers attended any workshops? Most organisations don't put much value on creativity training – they want it done in one or two days due to pressures of normal business.

Change takes longer than this and it should include a drip feed approach to keep reinforcing a different way of thinking about problems, in addition to workshops and optimising the culture for improved innovation. I wrote and implemented an intranet program of constant creativity stimulation to complement workshops whilst at Abbey National. After a month or two people were starting to say that their thinking was beginning to change.

If you spent most of your working life thinking in business mode you can't expect to jump to creativity mode when you need to. If you want evidence, look to research studies on exercising the brain which shows definite improvements in thinking ability. As an aside, people who say they can't draw can show remarkable results after training to remove the interference of logic.

So your problem is how to convince management that spending time on developing creativity is worth it. Will they see it when they believe it or believe it when they see it? The alternative is coming up with the same old ideas, which eventually lead to business extinction.

I've spent the last 15 years wrestling with this issue and conclude that it can be done - just give it time.

Don't accept perception at face value – spend lots of time on problem exploration - restate 'increase customer service satisfaction levels' multiple times. What does satisfaction look like? Immerse them in it.

Doubt more and break assumptions about satisfaction. Make things simpler – don't be over influenced by 'smart talk'. Drill down into the issue by asking 'what's stopping us increase...'.

Avoid brain draining (getting same solutions), by using external stimuli and force fitting it to the problem; break patterns by starting from an illogical start point.

Think from the future not the present.
Disrupt thinking - Reverse brainstorm how to decrease...

Use different senses – role play, collage, models to represent your problem.

There is a whole series of mental strategies which can be taught which do have an effect on how we tackle 'wicked recurring problems'. It takes time to change thinking but the business mode can't be bothered to wait. Your managers have to get back to real work! Of course there's no guarantee, but you only need one great idea to make it worthwhile.

It's difficult to run a business and be creative at the same time. That's why most businesses eventually fail - because they run out of ideas.

View the original posting:

Can you teach creativity and innovation?

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