Embracing Creativity or running a creative thinking session is not unlike running a theatrical performance. It needs both stage management and direction to manage creativity.
Such activities can of course vary widely in scale. You may be working on your own or be chatting informally with one or two others. It is possible that you are running a classic small-group brainstorming session. In all cases you must pay attention to the following components.
People – the ‘cast’ of the drama. If you have the luxury of choosing people to work with then this may present a dilemma. On the one hand, you want as much diversity as possible. This is where new insights and connections will come from.
On the other hand, they must work well together. Creative work requires a high level of personal openness and risk taking, and a lot of interaction.
If possible you should:
- Choose people who have the skills to manage high levels of difference comfortably.
- Design sessions/meetings so that they are less sensitive to the adverse effects of large interpersonal differences.
- Facilitate the session in such a way that you ‘manage’ adverse effects as (or before) they emerge.
- Choose people who can tolerate wide levels of difference
- Choose people who are compatible temperamentally, but differ widely in their area of expertise
People are less likely to be ‘thrown’ by minor interpersonal clashes if they have a reasonably solid personality, a degree of self-awareness, and a good sense of humour. Avoid big status differences, unless it is very clear that there are excellent, pre-existing, levels of trust between the people involved.
Have fun! Laughter and a light touch can defuse many tensions and manage the expectations of participants so that they know this will be a somewhat ‘special’ event, with unusual people. Remember, it is usually easier for people to feel uninhibited and take risks with a group they will not see again.
What Is A Mindset?
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. If you had turned right at the end of your road instead of left you would have been introduced 6 months ago to a brand new shop that had a larger stock of newspapers and magazines and also a more impressive selection of sandwiches, filled rolls, cakes (and salads for the health conscious). Unless a friend or colleague tells you of this new opportunity you will remain blissfully unaware of it. Just think of the new opportunities and new faces if you varied your walk to work on a weekly basis!
Is This Relevant To My Business?
So what has this got to do with your business? Well take a long look at yourself and the people that you work with. Do you advertise in the same way all of the time? Maybe you make exactly the same products every day? Have you ever tried anything different to improve your business. Or do you do the same as you have always done? A simple change of perspective or attitude may be all that is required. Even if your business is successful, you would be interested in new business opportunities, wouldn’t you?
The effects of mindsets can be greatly exaggerated when working alone and we all need to make an effort to overcome this. Note that changes you make in your working life will affect your private life and vice versa.