How can you uncover hidden creative thinking in your team?

by | Apr 16, 2018

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When the team needs some creative ideas or innovative solutions, who’s the go-to?

Maybe it’s you. But maybe it’s definitely not you.

We all have preconceived notions about what it takes to be creative, as well as who should be involved in the process. That’s why when we say the word, we’re sure you have an immediate idea of who you’d go to and who you wouldn’t.

Mythbusters: Creatives version

You’ve probably heard, in some form or fashion, that creativity is the domain of “right brain” thinkers. But this is misleading, for a number of reasons.

For starters, while the brain is in fact the source of creativity, the simple dichotomy of left-brain/right-brain thinking not only overlooks brain systems like the limbic system, it doesn’t accurately describe the way the brain actually works.

It implies separateness, when the brain is, by design, whole. And because the brain is the source of creativity, it means that everyone has access to the mental modes responsible for creative thought processes.

While we’re learning more every day about how ideas occur in the brain, what we do know is that they arise in specialised parts of the brain that, through massive interconnections, can come in contact with other ideas and together form the basis of synergy. The brain relies on those interconnections between the specialised areas to function.

In plain terms: You’re not left-brained or right-brained; you’re whole-brained.

While creativity isn’t some magical power that’s only available to certain people, some of us are naturally drawn to creative work and have a strong preference for imaginative, conceptual thinking. And of course, there are traditionally creative roles and functions that are responsible for things like R&D, design or product innovation.

But that doesn’t mean they’re your only sources of creative thinking. In some cases, they might not even be your best sources.

Where can you uncover unsuspecting creatives?

When you’re looking for new ideas or innovative solutions to problems, many times the best people for the job are those closest to the problem. They’re the ones working with the issues every day and have seen what’s worked and what’s flopped. Because of this, they can provide a whole lot of valuable information and insight – if someone would only ask them.

On the other hand, when you’re really stuck, outsiders might be the best to get the ball rolling. Those who haven’t been indoctrinated into the “way things are done” can bring a fresh viewpoint that your most tenured people might never see.

Bottom line: You might seriously be missing out by only going to your go-to creatives when you need a little inspiration. Get different perspectives from a range of thinkers and you may just find a new solution to the same old problem.

You have the ideas but can you ace the execution?

Creativity isn’t just about the cool idea. Yes, that’s a big part of it, but if the process stops there, then what? That flash of insight evaporates. The idea is probably forgotten or put away. The world goes on, unchanged. It’s all a big so what?

What’s more, having ideas that never go anywhere can end up being counterproductive because people are left feeling unsatisfied or discouraged by the whole experience.

So really, creativity isn’t just about generating an idea but manifesting it making something happen as a result of it. And if you define creativity in these terms, it changes the game. Now you’re talking about a much bigger story with a broader cast of characters who need to be involved.

While ideas can arrive in a single flash, their application involves a process that consists of several distinct phases. It’s not just about dreaming up a concept; it’s also about gathering the facts, developing a plan of action, presenting it in a way that resonates and evaluating whether it did what it was supposed to do.

You might not need to tap into your whole brain to come up with the idea, but you need all modes of thinking to successfully implement it. Don’t feel comfortable handling all of those phases? No problem: That’s where the rest of your dream team comes into the scene.

We’re talking about creativity here, so as you’re looking at who should be on the team, think beyond the ordinary. Consider all of those who can contribute in different ways, either through their diverse perspectives or from the brainpower they bring to the process to make sure those ideas come to life.

Looking to dig deeper? Give us a call to talk about how we can help create your dream team!

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