Insights

Foster your creativity

Einstein famously said that “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. While we are not suggesting that we all need to be as smart as Einstein to be creative, building creative confidence enables us to become better innovators.

In this instalment of the GovLab blog, Grace discusses the role of creativity in innovation and shares some tips on how to become more creative!

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m not creative”? If I’m honest, I’ve said it many times myself. As children, we were encouraged to be creative, and it seemed to come easy to us. We dreamed up worlds filled with amazing adventures and our imaginations fueled our daily play. However, when we become adults, we become self-conscious, and can even feel a bit silly when we try to be creative. We are taught to become rational, rather than divergent thinkers. NASA conducted research that showed that adults are 98% less creative than children! The good news is that the creativity is still there – we just need to uncover it.

Creativity supports the discipline of innovation. Creativity is the process of looking at something in a new way or generating a new solution. Innovation is the practical application of that creativity. The World Economic Forum predicts that creativity, innovation and ideation will be the key skills of the workforce of the future. The STEM agenda, which refers to learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has recently expanded to STEAM to integrate the arts. This move recognises the need to apply problem-based learning methods used in the creative process to develop solutions in the fields of science.

Many often think that creativity, and creative thinking, is not for them, and is instead the domain of the arts and of “creative types”. In reality, creativity is for everyone, and can be used to expend, refine and improve existing products and services, and to solve both minor and major challenges. We are not suggesting that you abandon your current approach to problem solving, and take out the art materials, but unleashing your creativity, even in ways that can seem unrelated to your work, can help you to come up with better solutions.

So, how do you develop your own creative abilities? Here’s a few techniques we use at GovLab to boost the creativity of our public service clients and ourselves. I hope you find them helpful, and even have some fun practicing along the way. The most important thing to do, is to start.

1.   Practice drawing

Drawing is a really effective creativity tool and is a skill that can be taught and developed. It’s a very useful way to convey ideas, and a fun way to share concepts with others. Start with simple doodles, progress to shapes, and finally, objects. After all, objects are just a collection of shapes. Most importantly, don’t try to be too precise! Dan Roam’s book, “The Back of the Napkin” is a great resource on conveying messages through drawing simple pictures.

2.   Draw inspiration from many sources

What inspires you? Maybe it’s music, art or other people. Maybe you love Monet’s beautiful gardens, the words of the world’s great leaders, or maybe you are inspired by cat videos on YouTube! What can you learn from them? A fun daily challenge is to take ten photos of things that inspire you when walking your daily route – it might be a billboard, a shop front, a street scheme or a sunset. Be observant, pay closer attention to your surroundings and to the things that inspire you, and draw ideas from them. Be curious and try to learn from the world around you.

3.   Let your mind wander

Life is busy, and our minds tend to be caught up in getting everything done. By taking some down time and letting your mind wander, all sorts of creative ideas can surface. Many artists spend a lot of time alone, and in their own heads. This allows them to take time to reflect and consider their thoughts and ideas. Take ten minutes a day to tune out and let daydreaming stimulate your imagination.

4.   Create something with a child

To be as creative as a child, it can help to behave like one! Take out the pipe cleaners, paint or Lego and create something with a child. Following their lead and learning from their lack of inhibition can help to exercise the creative muscles. Try to embrace a child’s mindset, and just give it a go.

Looking for more? Check out a fun creativity test at www.mycreativetype.com. This test explores all the different creative personality types and will give you some insight into your own creativity, and how to maximize it!

 

We believe that everyone has the capacity to be creative. Why not get the pencils out and give drawing a go? We’d love to see your creations! Get in touch with me (grcunningham@deloitte.ie) or comment on my LinkedIn post if you want to share your thoughts on creativity, or any other aspect of innovation.

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