Tag: creativity

Do you have a social space at your place of work?

social space creative space

How many people have a ‘real’ social space at their place of work? By this I mean a space where people can gather, chat, sleep, chill, etc not a space like a canteen (where people can socialise) which has its function dictated to it.

You might ask why a company needs a space like this. Well, let me tell you a short story instead.

At a small company I worked at, we moved into some temporary offices where we had very little extra space. There was one reasonably sized room spare. We had a heated debate over what we should do with it.

There were suggestions like coffee room etc. However, I managed to persuade the boss to let us have a creative space.

We bought a couple of brightly coloured sofas, a bubble tube, a large jenga set, some 3D puzzles, a whole load of posters and some other small items.

The only rule regarding the use of this space was that no phones were allowed. That was it.

So what happened? Well if you wandered along during the day you might find someone asleep, reading a technical paper, eating a sandwich or having an impromptu meeting.

Our newly created space was also where visitors entered the building. It quickly became known as the coolest reception area around.

So was this a good idea? Yes, it was. We had a space which was multifunctional, enhanced the creativity of employees and which contributed greatly to the (organic) organisational culture of our company. It was also very cheap (around £1200 if I remember rightly).

Your space need not be like ours, or indeed like the one shown in the photo. It can, however, at very little cost, contribute greatly to the culture of your organisation.

Why not create a garden, scatter cushions near the watercooler or even create a reconfigurable space that can change with the day of the week or even the seasons. The choice is yours.

Newsletter – Why brainstorming does not work!

Dear Reader,

If you are reading this because a friend or colleague was kind enough to forward it to you, then you might like to sign up for your very own copy by clicking here.

As we are now heading towards the holiday season many readers will be winding down. Hopefully, I can provide a little entertainment and some useful titbits in this rather odd period of the year.


#justthinking

At this time of year retailers are all desperate for our business. Keep an eye open for good examples of customer service, and good ideas generally that you could adopt. I saw some excellent examples of how to treat a customer at a high end candle shop and also a jewellers. At the opposite end of the scale, I noticed some very poor examples at a large chain store. Definitely no Magic & Sparkle there!


#justsaying

Would you like to achieve more with less effort? Yes really. Well a spot of fluffy thinking is what you need. Get in touch to find out how a spot of alternative thinking could help you and your organisation.


How many of you saw the subject of this email and thought ‘What is he on about, of course it works!’. Well for dramatic effect I did leave out ‘a lot of the time’.

Have you had this experience?

How many times has somebody summoned you to a meeting room using the words ‘ let’s go and brainstorm the solution to this problem?’ And how many time has it not worked very well or maybe not at all? And when it did not work did you put it down to the facilitator, or perhaps the problem was too hard, or maybe you just did not give it long enough?

Well, there is a reason for this, you were most likely using the wrong technique! Often we think we know what the problem is when in fact all we know is the situation in which the problem occurs. So, we have to determine the problem or possibly identify a range of potential problems. Next, we must pick THE problem or the most critical.

Picking the right technique

Having done this there might be a range of possible solutions out of which we must pick one to work with right now. Do you see a pattern emerging here? I have briefly outlined four stages which have the format diverge/converge/diverge/converge.

You will not be surprised to learn that one of the ways of classifying creative thinking techniques is as divergent or convergent. Other classifications can be group/solo working, exploring, reframing etc.

Anyway, if you use a technique incorrectly in the wrong phase it is likely not to work very well (or at all).

Let’s return to Brainstorming. This is a divergent technique as it is intended to generate a number of ideas or solutions. It will therefore not work when you are trying to converge i.e. focus on one specific issue.

So when you are summoned to a meeting room to generate solutions to a problem you will generate something but it is likely that you will not have identified what the problem actually is so the solutions will not fit very well.

I have a little black book with around 144 of these techniques, so if you would like to give this sort of thinking a try, please get in touch and I will find something tailored to your needs.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all readers everywhere,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

Newsletter – How to turn creativity into shareholder value

Dear Reader,

The last month seems to have passed very quickly and Summer seems to be fading into the past. On the plus side, there are fewer distractions so what have you been up to?

I tinkered with the soft skills training that I mentioned last month and have seen an improvement. So if you know of anybody that is looking for soft skills training such as Presentation Skills, Attention Management, Assertiveness etc with a creative twist and lots of fun then please point them in my direction. Oh, and please don’t forget the Creativity and Innovation stuff that I do too.


#justdaydreaming

I have just returned from the Inspire 2018, the Professional Speaking Association annual conference. My head is filled with ideas that I need to turn into real possibilities so watch this space …..

#justthinking

I don’t think that I am a recycling fanatic, I just like to make sure that as little as possible gets buried in a big hole in the ground. But why is it that we can recycle metals, plastics, cloth etc but we still throw huge amounts of food into landfill? Being organic it can be used for fertiliser, It can also be used to ‘brew’ alcohol which could be used to power vehicles.


creativity and shareholder valueSo how can we make sure that we get some value out of Creativity? After all, it is really only playing on bean bags with brightly coloured pens, isn’t it?

Well, to be completely honest I do sometimes do some of the stuff with pens, Lego and Play Doh. But really Creativity in a business context is about thinking differently.

This leads to different solutions to business issues as well as new products and services that nobody else has thought about. Competitive advantage, sustainability – call it what you like. It has to be good.

Superior performance is associated with Creativity according to Consulting company McKinsey. In particular, 67 percent of companies surveyed had above-average organic revenue growth. 70 percent had an above-average total return to shareholders.

McKinsey also identified four practices associated with Creativity and Innovation.

  1. Hardwire creativity and innovation in daily practices. As obvious as it may sound, creativity and innovation need to be business priorities.
  2. Become customer fanatics. Companies who rank highly have an almost fanatical devotion to understanding their customers and use many tools to understand their requirements.
  3. Feed the need for speed. Speed may be the defining attribute of modern businesses and companies at the top of their game are quicker at translating ideas and insights into action.
  4. Adapt or die. The top companies showed an ability to adapt, some actually expanding under adverse circumstances.

I can hear people saying ‘its easy for you to say’. Well, I have helped companies embrace and make use of Creativity in a variety of situations. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

Newsletter – Which way does your banana bend?

Dear Reader,

The autoresponder on my website should now be working as intended but if you signed up at the tail end of 2017 and you never received your free download then please let me know.

I have been busy recording a series of short videos which I am gathering together under the title ‘Rough Cut Creativity’ because they were created and uploaded on a whim. More titles are on the way soon but for now, there are four. They will soon appear on my website but readers can access them now via YouTube by clicking here.


#justdaydreaming

Tesco – helping you spend less every day. Pay attention Tesco. By spending we are giving you money, so we can only spend more, not less. Unless of course you are going to give us money!


#justthinking

This week I seem to have spent a lot of time in traffic staring at the rear end of another car. Do some manufacturers really think about the badges that they stick on the back? I know that Skoda, like Lada, have been a laughing stock in the past but they have improved quite a bit. Even so, do they think that the two words ‘Skoda’ and ‘Superb’ together will not cause laughter? Also they have a small car which they have crazily named ‘Roomster’. It might be like a Tardis inside but I immediately thought ‘hamster’. Maybe thats just me!

How much thought do you give to the words and phrases that describe your business?


Which way does your banana bendBack to the subject line of this email. I have asked the question ‘Which way does your banana bend?’ to many different groups in workshops that I have taken. Most people seem to freeze and you can see a thought bubble coming out of their head with WHAT? written in it. Once a chap did reply that his banana no longer bent because he had eaten it.

It is, of course, a trick question for us adults but maybe not for children. A child would see a banana laid out on a table in say ‘left’ or ‘right’ whereas an adult would just think ‘stupid question, it depends on how you are holding it’. The issue here is of course perspective.

What if you had been taught how to remove the skin from a banana but only if it bent round to the right? What would you do when confronted with a banana that bent round to the left? You could flip the banana over so that it appeared to bend the other way, or you could walk around the other side of the table which would have the same effect.

We do similar things when repairing cars or decorating. When something is the wrong way up we turn our head sideways, or even upside down to be able to see the problem clearly.

So why is that when we are confronted with business issues that we don’t try and look at problems in a different way before trying to solve them? Note that this is slightly different to the ‘Missing Sock’ issue from last month. Then we were concerned with doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Now I am posing the question of whether it is advantageous to look at a problem from a different viewpoint in order to get a different (and maybe better) solution.

So the answer to the question is maybe to the left, to the right or even straight depending on how I choose to look at things! Enjoy that banana.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

Where does Creativity happen?

Inspiring meetingsThis is a question that often passes our lips. Where does Creativity happen then? One possible answer is ‘everywhere and anywhere’ but really the original question ought to be better framed. For instance are we talking about where creative activities might take place within an organisation? Maybe we are talking about the mechanisms by which individuals might come up with creative ideas or which parts of the human brain are being used?

So I shall try to shine a light on both of these areas.

Traditionally Creativity would have been found in areas such as Marketing or Product Development, or rather that is where you would have been told to find it and where employees would have been given permission to be creative. In fact Creativity can be found (and always could be found) in all parts of an organisation. The big difference is that now we know that all employees can be creative independent of their job function. This means that in order to tap into this creativity the mechanisms that are used to capture and recognise ideas must have a greater reach.

There are also issues of permission and the ability to handle ambiguity for those in management positions. Things are no longer confined to neat boxes.

But where does creativity happen for individuals? The actual ideas are formed in our heads (the easy bit) and then we have to externalise them somehow (often the hard bit). We can be creative anywhere but creative situations fall into a small number of categories. We are often creative when faced with adversity or tight deadlines. However, over do the challenges and we often give up. The right amount of pressure is critical.

Creativity is often found where there is some sort of tension (not necessarily war like tension). People with varying backgrounds and opinions will often create the right atmosphere as long as they can respect the viewpoints of others.

We can be creative individually but often need to dream or daydream. Either that or distract the part of our brains that screams ‘no you can’t do that so that the creative part of your brain can have a party.

These are only my opinions. It does not really matter where creativity happens just as long as it does.

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