Tag: creative thinking

What do Creative Thinking and Moccassins have in common?

Training in NepalI recently spent ten days in Nepal taking two Negotiation Skills workshops. As you would expect, I managed to weave in quite a bit of creative thinking!

The participants were high-level officials from various Nepalese Government Departments and Ministries. In advance, I learned that they did not care for each other that much and did not get on.

Each workshop was 3 days long. After a day I saw that these people were getting on like a house on fire. So what was the problem? They just simply did not know each other and did not understand the other group’s point of view.

Many of the negotiations taking place in Nepal concern the building of dams and Hydropower generation capacity. The process involves the government, along with foreign developers, transmission line owners, international banks and displaced local people. Quite a tangle!

On day 3 we ran a fairly complex simulation and it was at that point the penny dropped. One attendee (a government employee) simply said that they did not realise how difficult it was being the developer.

These people had simply focused on getting the best deal at any cost, and had not considered the point of view of the half a dozen or so other parties. This did not mean they could not do a good deal, but that they might just make things run smoother and take less time.

At this point, I introduced them to ‘Walking With Moccasins’, one of my favourite creative techniques. It is derived from the time when a young Indian brave would follow an elder around for a lunar month and observe not just everything he did, but how he did it. It was an exercise in learning what, how and why.

You can do this in the workplace. Don’t just observe, do things too. I have a much more elaborate version that I use outdoors but it does require safety to be taken into account!

Anyway, the point is that by ‘getting into the shoes’ of your enemies, collaborators, product or service users you can learn a great deal that might be to your advantage. As a result of reading this you may wish to learn more. If so, then please do get in touch. Visit my Contact page to find out how you can do this.

Student Tuition Fees – Who Should Pay?

Who should pay student feesA new paper published by the Intergenerational Foundation this week states that student tuition fees are economically inefficient. The press release for the paper states:

A new paper published today challenges the current funding system in higher education, calling it “economically inefficient”. In the paper, Dr Kevin Albertson, Professor of Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University, points out that the public benefits of a young person’s getting a higher education qualification more than outweigh the costs, according to the government’s published figures.

The paper uses an alternative way of thinking about the economics and is a very good example of how creative or alternative thinking can be used to solve problems and change the status quo. In a nutshell, tuition fees should be paid by the government as they reap the economic benefit. Read the full press release to find out more.

Click on the link to download the full press release and contact details of the author Student Fees - Who Should Pay?

Procrastination Is Good For Creativity

Mona Lisa teh result of procrastinationProcrastination is good for creativity, or rather, it can be.

Procrastination is usually  characterised as a negative habit but this is not necessarily so. If you are working to a tight deadline, trying to complete an assignment or aiming for a difficult goal, procrastination will almost certainly delay successful completion.

Time For Reflection

Here we need a little reflection and to be honest with ourselves (and possibly our colleagues at work). If I delay because I am lazy then I should recognise this and take some action to ensure that I correct this behaviour. But in the world of creativity and innovation we sometimes hang fire completing something. Thus, we can make several iterations. This will ensure that we deliver the best solution possible. This is one of the golden rules of creative thinking ‘cycle often, close late’.

The Benefits Must Outweigh The Risks

Procrastinating can only help you to improve an outcome when the (tangible) benefits of delay outweigh the risks of hasty progress.  In such cases, procrastination allows time for reflection and learning. It also offers an opportunity to incorporate our learning into our current work.

We must, therefore, learn to procrastinate strategically to avoid threats (or minimise risks), become more innovative, and discover original and creative solutions to our problems. Why not build in a little ‘procrastination time’ into your project plans?

A Classic Case Of Procrastination

Here is just one example of a famous procrastinator, Leonardo Da Vinci. Researchers estimate that he painted the Mona Lisa in fits and starts over a period of several years. He started in 1503, and only completed the work just before his death in 1519. Critics said he wasted his time on various experiments and other distracting activities. They said it prevented his paintings from being completed earlier. Did he in fact make use of any of these lessons in his works before he died? What would the Mona Lisa have been like if it had been completed in say 1504?

Making Use Of The Mood Hoovers

Mood Hoovers! Do you have some of those negative people in your business who just suck the life out of you? If you are self employed maybe you are surrounded by some. What do you do about them?

I spent some time talking to individuals who provide coaching and their take on it was to simply ignore these people. This could work if you work on your own and can make that choice but what about those people who work in organisations?

Negativity, like positivity is a resource that can be used so why ignore or waste it? Lets actively make use of it. But how?

There are a number of creative or alternative techniques that can be used to harness negative energy which I will not go into here, however the fundamental principle is the same. Even the most positive of us have a negative streak so let s first of all use this to create something. Maybe it is a whole heap of ideas or a story. As long as there is some sort of mapping between our negative output and something positive in the real world.

So why is this good? First of all, you will get a lot of output! Secondly when we generate ideas we find it easy to judge them. You will have noticed many comments such as ‘that won’t work’ or ‘we can’t afford that’. If what you are producing is in fact negative, the mood hoovers will find it very difficult to judge!

Breaking Mindsets

Most, if not all of us have either a fixed way of doing things or a fixed way of thinking about things. These fixed patterns are known as mindsets and they can severely limit our actions in both business and private life. Imagine that you take the same route each day when you walk to your place of work. Each day you buy the same newspaper and the same sandwich for lunch. Over time you begin to get a little fed up with your choice of sandwich and the newspaper does not seem to engage you as it once did.

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