When trying to discover a creative solution, it’s important to first discover what the true problem is before generating ideas, selecting the best ones to develop further and finally developing an action plan. That’s part of what I spoke with Macolm Gallagher about on his BVTV SpotCast podcast, a three-video series that fleshed out elements of my books centered around creativity — like Create in a Flash and Why Didn’t I Think of That?.
In the second episode, we discussed an example involving the Big Black and White Company and the Color Company, as well as the 10 principles of creativity. It’s important to look at problems as opportunities, learning “the language of creativity,” or the language of possibilities, to diffuse creativity into your company. Instead of saying there’s not enough money to fund something, ask “How can we raise money or lower the costs instead?”
You’ll notice that the energy in the room changes when questions beginning with “how to” and “how might” are asked. They can help change a company’s culture even if it’s in a small way at first, since tiny improvements over time build up to the substantial one at the end. But, as the third video describes, a lot of that responsibility falls into the hands of the company’s leaders. If your business includes “innovative” in your mission statement, then you need to make sure that your employees actually reflect that level of creativity you desire to reach.
Try using this four-pronged approach:
- Train your people, and it doesn’t have to be a days- or weeks-long program.
- Stick with the creativity training and process, and don’t turn it into the next short-lived initiative that doesn’t lead to tangible change.
- As a leader, be an example of what you desire for your employees to become. It’s OK for you to struggle with ideas, too.
- Keep it simple, keep it practical and help people apply the Creative Problem Solving process in the real world.