One of the most overused phrases in business is ‘up with the creativity and innovation quotient.’ I mean, it sounds fabulous. EXCEPT. Where do you start?
And if you’ve been paying attention to the ‘noise’ lately, creativity seems to have been killed off, almost entirely, during the pandemic.
Let’s start at the beginning
Neuroscientists have long proven we need the big three. What are the big three?
• A whole lotta dopamine going on. Our brains need gushes of dopamine. Dopamine is triggered by things like exercising, listening to music, and, yes, even taking a warm shower. (I have my best ideas in the shower. You??)
• Get relaxed. Here’s the thing. When we have a relaxed state of mind, we’re more likely to turn attention inwards, where we can make insightful connections.
• Distractions from the usual. Distraction gives our brains a break so our subconscious can work on a problem more creatively. What are good distractions? Something that keeps our attention for at least 20 minutes. The act of showering is a distraction from our everyday activities. So is sex. And washing the dishes. So too — walking the dog.
Now, if the big three don’t feel particularly practical (for whatever reason) to you, let me give five foolproof ideas that will increase your creativity quotient. I have used them for years, still, use them personally, and guide my clients to use them.
Five (of many)
1. You’ve got a situation, a problem or a question about something. Attack the issue from all different sides and write down TEN different ways to address your issue. (This is very helpful for dealing with annoying operational problems.)
2. Debug. There is always one thing that blocks an experience from moving into the ‘truly awesome’ category. Get brutal and write down as many ways as possible to eliminate or fix the annoyance. (This is particularly helpful for improving the customer experience.)
3. Become an expert. Ted talks are helpful, as are the 10,000 hours of practice, as are mentors.
4. Be open and aware. Create your luck. When something doesn’t work the first time, look at it from a different viewpoint. (This is how intelligent companies repurpose research and development efforts.)
5. PLAY. Pretend you are a child and take a fun break. Get into the crayons, glitter, Lego, and aimless drawings. The only objective is to break from routine, loosen your brain cells and see what happens.
Here’s the truth
1. We are all creative. Not all of us know it.
2. We have an unlimited supply of creativity inside of us. We need a bit of help to pluck it out.
3. Our creativity will consistently outperform artificial intelligence. Despite what you read, computers and robots don’t stand a chance against us.
Now. What’s the one thing you can do today to increase your creativity quotient?