Furthering Creativity – A Tale of Two Keys (Part 3)

May 30, 2012 – In the first two parts of this topic, we discussed the two keys to furthering creativity:

1. Broadening your perspective helps you identify more dots to connect; and

2. Thinking outside the box helps you discover more diverse ways to connect the dots.

The challenge posed was to apply these two keys to creativity to the next tasks you face.

How did that work for you?

There is nothing new under the sun with respect to this topic. Evidence the PBS television show “Connections” hosted originally by James Burke in 1979 as a good case in point. True to its name, the show detailed the connections between one invention and an older invention. In some instances, the connection was in the form of an improvement to an existing invention; at other times, in the form of applying an existing invention in a new way for a new purpose. For example, in the fourth episode of Connections, entitled “Faith in Numbers,” Burke detailed the connections leading from 12th Century French monks’ sheep rearing to the modern computer. Sheep rearing nine hundred years ago leading to the modern computer seems quite a stretch, yet Burke illustrates the connections in a one hour show. In retrospect, the connections seem apparent, yet consider the skills and mindsets utilized by the creative innovators of those connections who figured out new applications of older technologies; i.e., connecting the dots in broad, out of the box ways. The connected dots of that episode were: water wheel; loom; linen; paper; printing press; books; automated organs; pegged cylinders; operating looms; perforated cards; 1890 census counting machines; modern computers. Watch the episode at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORY-mXXgJg4.

So how does this relate to the concepts we discussed in these blogs previously? Simple question with a simple answer. First, When considering what action to take delineate at least two dots. One dot will represent your current position. Another dot will represent your desired goal. Of course, you can add additional dots representing other points which led you to your current position or some milestones between your current position and your desired goal. The more dots the merrier, for they help broaden your perspective thereby generating more possibilities. Now, simply think of alternative, out of the box, ways of connecting those dots.

Sounds simple, yet it’s easier said than done. So let’s apply this process to two common situations.

A couple has decided to separate and divorce. They know their current situation. They know they want to end up separated and divorced. To devise the most mutually beneficial settlement, the couple must create a custom tailored solution by fleshing out the nature of the settlement and visualizing it. The more details envisioned, the more dots delineated, the more likely the end result will be satisfactory. The next caveat is to avoid negotiating from positions, that is avoid posturing. Instead, negotiate from interests. Once the interests have been identified with as much specificity as possible, then and only then will the time be ripe for devising a truly creative solution. For once a clear, specific, set of dots (picture) emerges, the couple can begin thinking creatively about different ways to structure the settlement in order to achieve and actualize their mutual interests.

Similarly, while setting career goals, it is incumbent on us to visualize our desired result. Striving to get the best possible career move without having a predetermined picture of what that move looks like will most likely yield an unsatisfactory result. Understand and know your current position. Be clear on your goal. These are your beginning and ending dots. Adding your interests will add additional dots to be connected. Now, simply think of different ways to connect those dots and you ensure a successful career move. Not only successful but also creative.

Same process holds true for any other area in your life whether personal life or in your career. Understanding your current position is the first step. Then, visualize your goal with specificity. Include as many details which you want to achieve and you will begin painting a very clear picture of your goal think outside the box. Do not settle for one way of doing things. During this stage of planning brainstorming is incredibly helpful. Do not edit the way you connect the dots at this point. Consider alternative ways of connecting the dots. From among those alternatives you will be able to create the most effective solution.

This then is the nature of creativity. Remember, Life is not cookie cutter pressing. Tailor your game plan to your specific situation and goal. And how do you do this? Start by devising alternative ways of achieving predetermined goals from among a host of options. Think broadly. Think out-of-the-box. Think creatively.

Create then Consider the Possibilities.

Adam J. Krim                                                                                                    www.driveconsulting.net

About Adam J. Krim

Adam works as a Certified Professional Coach, delivering soft skills training seminars on a variety of topics, including Time Management, Harnessing Stress, Decision Making, Problem Solving and more.
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