P31 Creativity Lessons Learned From the Most Creative People.

  • Welcome to the Proven, Practical, Profitable Innovation podcast! I am Richard and I thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to listen to this podcast.
  • In this podcast I’m going to share with you some of the lessons that Fast Company magazine learned as it put together its issue on the 100 most creative people. I have selected several lessons to share with you – especially lessons that I believe can immediately help you be more creative.
  • Please be sure to listen to the end of this podcast where I give you an exciting preview of future podcasts.
  • If after listening to this podcast you feel a need for more help, please contact me directly—my email is richard@i2ge.com. You can also go to my website—i2ge.com– where you can explore many innovation topics, especially check out the DIY Innovation Training on the menu bar. We customize all the training programs to our clients’ unique needs and circumstances.
  • In a previous podcast, I focused on the Fast Company issue on innovation. In that podcast, I shared some of the lessons the magazine learned from its issue on the most innovative people in America today. As I mentioned previously, I’m sharing with you some lessons they learned about the most creative people. It is my hope that these lessons will spark some new thinking for you about how you can turbo boost your personal creativity. Let’s take a deeper look at these lessons are creativity.
  • Creativity does not discriminate: of the 100 most creative people they honored, 53 were women and 43 were people of color. As you know from my podcasts on quantum idea generation, I make the point that all of us can be equally creative. In those podcasts, I showed how left and right brain people are equally creative although they go about creating ideas in very, very different ways.
    • So how do you make use of this lesson? Remember the power of diversity in quantum idea generation. We saw how diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills dramatically increase idea generation. As you prepare to use creativity to solve your problems or to optimize opportunities, strongly consider assembling a very diverse group of people engaged with the need.
  • Creativity defies expectations: when the Ebola crisis exploded into our awareness, many of us were struck by the fact that science did not seem to have a magic pill or procedure to defend us. Then we learned that a professor at Arizona State University, Charles Arntzen, had a very encouraging potential solution. As background, he is viewed as the godfather of research referred to as “pharming.” This is a field of research where scientists engineer plants to produce specialized vaccines and other drugs. He developed a drug called ZMapp which is an injectable synthetic serum produced from genetically engineered antibodies grown in tobacco plants. In developing this, he very creatively engineered viruses that attacked the plants which led to the plants producing millions of anti-bodies which were purified and formulated for injection. Given the urgency of the crisis, the drug was given to healthcare workers in Liberia even though it had not been approved for human use. Used in these emergency situations a number of patients showed rapid improvement. The promise of this drug is now leading to clinical trials. The main point I am making about “creativity defies expectations” is that we can often get solutions or very promising solutions like this one from very unexpected sources. This did not come from big research companies or pharmaceutical giants.
    • So how can you use this lesson in your business? Recognize that creative insights and inspiration can come from many sources, some of which are unexpected and even out of the mainstream. When you’re looking for creative solutions, always include some nontraditional backgrounds and perspectives. You will not be disappointed.
  • Creativity is improvisational: we know from comedy clubs and comedians that creativity fuels comedy. There was no better example of this than the bright shining light of Robin Williams. The producers of the animated hit Aladdin in which Robin Williams did voiceover commented how the script was put aside and Robin did his thing. The result was some of the funniest scenes ever in an animated movie – or for that matter any other kind of movie.
    • So how do you use this lesson in your business? Recognize that you do not always need to use organized and structured group processes to generate big ideas. I am a big believer in going with the flow. If you are together with other people who spontaneously start creating creative solutions, engage the opportunity right then and there. Remember the principles of quantum idea generation. Be the person who introduces informal and spontaneous stimulus into the organic conversation. Be a person who builds on the ideas of others. Ride the flow as far as you can. When it ends, find a way to capture the ideas, inspirations, and challenges.
  • Aggravation is inspiration: being unhappy, even deeply aggravated by a product is often the stimulus that leads to breakthrough creativity. Aggravation produces a strong desire to eliminate the source of aggravation and replace it with a very positive experience. This tension between the negative of today and the envisioning positives of tomorrow often unlocks high levels of creativity. In my work, I have often pointed to a statement that inspires me – “there must be a better way.” This launches me into a search for that better way. I no longer accept the unacceptable.
    • So how do you make use of this lesson in your business? Some people like to complain. Some people like to complain and then do something about the source of the complaint. If there is an aggravating, stubborn challenge that has so far resisted fixes, harness the negative power provided by aggravation and connect it to the positive power of “what if we finally find a breakthrough creative solution that turns this negative for our customers into a huge positive?” As I mentioned, the power of “there must be a better way” perks up the curiosity and gets the creative juices flowing.
  • Creativity turns bad into good: in a similar way that aggravation inspires creative solutions, bad situations can often trigger powerful creative solutions. For example, the International Fund for Animal Welfare has long faced the challenge of endangered animals being killed by poachers. Finding the perpetrators was almost mission impossible. By unleashing creativity, they saw how drones could greatly expand their ability to find and identify poachers. In combination with other technologies, this bad situation is being made a lot better.
    • So how can you use this lesson in your business? Answer is pretty similar to the previous one. The difference in this case can be the degree of seriousness and importance. Aggravation can be an annoyance. Something bad can be threatening to a business. Something bad can create a compelling and urgent need for a creative solution. The opportunity to “right a wrong” can often be a powerful creative stimulus. Be careful not to be intimidated or stymied by something bad. Be bold. Be courageous.
  • Creativity happens in 3-D: this lesson is both literal and figurative. It’s literal because companies like Pratt and Whitney are designing the next generation of jet engines with 3-D printers. Harnessing creativity to 3-D capability can accelerate creative solutions since they take a more complete form much faster. It’s figurative because creativity needs the benefit of broader perspectives to develop a fuller, higher potential idea. We live in a complex world and creativity needs to harness complexity, not be stymied by it.
    • So how do you use this lesson in your business? Creative solutions in a complex world require exceptional diversity. For example, when inventing a new product, you can often get powerful creative inspiration from sales, marketing, product development, supply chain, finance, suppliers, and external experts. You may need all of these perspectives and maybe a few more if you are to successfully create big idea solutions.
  • Creativity is ambidextrous: the designer of Google’s new headquarters spoke specifically about engaging both left and right brain perspectives in creating the successful design. Right brain provided some inspiration while left brain creativity provided logic and problem solving.
    • So what can you do with this lesson? This is just another reminder that everyone can be creative. Do not let preconceived notions about creativity that are often myths limit your ability to develop needed creative solutions. Recognize as we did in quantum idea generation that people are equally creative but they go about developing ideas in very different ways. Be prepared to build the creative environment where everyone can experience their own personal optimal creativity.
  • This podcast reaffirms everything we’ve known about creativity so far. In many ways creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand. These lessons are good reminders of the various ways we can harness creativity to develop the big ideas business needs. As I’ve stated in previous podcasts, creativity is often thought to be something that marketing or product development primarily use. This is not really the case. If you’re in human relations you need creativity. If you’re in finance, you need creativity – just not too much creativity! If you’re in manufacturing or the supply chain, you need creativity and innovation.
  • If you would like to see the key written points from this podcast, you can find them in my blog – i2ge.com/blog.
  • If you would like to contact me, please email me at richard@i2ge.com.
  • If you would like to create far more robust innovation capabilities within your business, I have a complete portfolio of training programs that we tailor to your unique needs. If you would like to learn more, go to the Innovate2Grow Experts website – i2Ge.com and click on DIY Innovation Training.
  • One of my six books is Proven Practical Innovation That Delivers Results. This very low-cost book is available at Amazon in paperback and has a Kindle book. Is truly packed with lots of practical help.
  • A preview of the next podcast. WHAT?
  • Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reconnecting with you soon. Please have a great day.


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