You can become more creative if you turn idea generation into a habit.
I am reading Seth Godin’s book The Practice at the moment. One of his fundamental starting points is that creativity is a skill and not a talent and that it can be learned. If it is indeed a skill and you can learn it, then as with all skills once you have been shown how, all you have to do is practice and practice some more.
I have spent thirty plus years creating new products. I always maintained that I was very lucky to have worked with a group of naturally creative people. People with the talent of creativity. But now, looking back at the times when we were at our most creative, I can see a pattern emerging. We had created certain habits and rituals that got us practising generating ideas on a regular basis.
Every Monday morning for example, we would all have our first coffee of the day together and we would talk about new things we had seen, done, tasted, experienced over the weekend. Sometimes we would have a theme, sometimes not, but we would always end up the session with some new ideas.
Another habit we had was to add 30 min at the end of every meeting with a supplier, where they would present new ingredients to us, to brainstorm ideas sparked off by the presentation.
Or, once a month we would pick a trend or a topic and have an hour’s brainstorming or half a day’s hands on prototyping.
I think you’ve got the gist. Those sessions were not only allowing us to practice and perfect the skill of being creative, but they were also great fun and were helping us recharge our batteries. If I were to distil all this into “How to create the habit of being creative” I would say:
|Build regular creative time into your diary||It can be a certain day and time every week, or an agenda item in a team meeting or larger events x number of times|
|Involve others||Be generous and “spread the love” practice creating with others|
|Keep it fresh||Try different creative techniques, different venues and different topics|
|Bring it back to your innovation priorities||Fun as it may be, coming up with lots of ideas about new yoghurts, it won’t do your biscuit business much good. Then again I did launch a Yoplait / McVitie’s yoghurt desert pot once…|
I believe Seth Godin has a valid point. Creativity can be approached as a skill to be developed and you can get better at it if you practice. Of course you need to practice while being in the right frame of mind, but this is a topic for another blog.
#productdevelopment #sethgodin #creativity #innovation #ideageneration