Creativity and innovation

Posted on: November 6, 2009

Those of you who know me will be aware that since studying the subject as part of my MBA over a decade ago creativity has been a passion of mine – using idea generation techniques at partner conferences, deploying problem definition frameworks at coaching sessions and even teaching a creativity class to marketers.

What you may not know was that I have known Peter Cook (“Best practice creativity” and “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll) for a rather long time and went along to one of his creativity masterclasses this morning to spend some time amongst like-minded creativity junkies.

What an inspiration! I truly wish I could open my comparatively modest creativity training sessions playing a Fender electric guitar – using it as an example of intuitive innovation or reading T Rex lyrics to demonstrate bisociation and metaphor.

Anyway, I tweeted (RedStarKim) some of the highlights and here there are for ease of reference, plus a few extra points that I thought would be of general interest:

Causal ambiguity – Don’t know what caused the problem. Casual ambiguity – Don’t know what caused the problem and don’t care either

Creativity process unplugged – explanations span divinity, pure luck, planned luck, endurance and methodologies

The four habits of naturally creative people – mental play, metaphor, intuition and naivety

The 12 precepts for creative management summarised into four themes:

CURIOSITY

  • Adopt a set
  • Explore the givens
  • Broad picture
  • Load detail

FORGIVENESS

  • Value play
  • Build up – knock down
  • Live with looseness

LOVE

  • It’s there already – nurture it
  • Involve others
  • Connect and be receptive

DIRECTION

  • Know what you really want
  • Cycle often – close late
  • Use process, tools and methods

Anatomy of a brainstorm

  • People
  • Place (symbolic and practical value)
  • Process (desired outcome, time management, reaching escape velocity, recording ideas)

Selected techniques:

  • Brainstorming and brainwriting
  • Reversal
  • SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify/Minimise, Put to other uses, Eliminate/Elaborate, Rearrange/Reverse)
  • Force fit
  • Superheroes (you’ll know that this is one of my favourites)
  • Bisociation
  • Metaphors
  • Bitching with attitude (a new favourite)

Business school tests of innovation:

  • Relative advantage
  • Compatibility
  • Simplicity
  • Trialability
  • Observability

If you are interested in learning more, there’s an FAQ on this web site and some practical material in my last book “Growing your property partnership – plans, people and promotion”. And I strongly recommend Peter’s books (Twitter.com/AcademyOfRock) obviously!

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