Creative Thinking

by Jayne Cormie

In a nutshell

1. What is creativity?

Creativity is the ability to see what everyone else has seen but think what no one else has thought! It is the process of generating new and useful ideas in any domain.

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2. Myths about creativity

There are many myths about creativity which deter individuals from even trying to be creative and stifle creativity within organisations. The six biggest myths are:

  • Creativity is a natural talent
  • Creativity is for right-brain people
  • Creativity means doing something completely new
  • Creativity is a group process
  • Creativity means breaking rules
  • Creativity is a time waster

Which of these myths are preventing you and/or your organisation from being more creative?

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3. Mental barriers to creativity

The following are the top six thoughts which stifle personal and organisational creative thinking:

  • ‘I’m not creative’
  • ‘I don’t have time to think’
  • ‘I’m not paid to think’
  • ‘What if I fail?’
  • ‘It’s too risky’
  • ‘I don’t like change’

Are you guilty of harbouring any of these negative thoughts, creating barriers to your personal creativity?

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4. Your creative brain

During this section, you will take a tour of your brain... an exciting virtual journey through your amazing brain to explore how it works and discover what makes you tick!

  • Learn how your brain is structured into two hemispheres, each hemisphere composed of two areas: the cortex and the limbic brain.
  • Discover how your brain thinks by understanding how brain cells work and how they connect together to form a thought.
  • Explore how humour is linked to the process of creativity.
  • Uncover the secret of creative thinking

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5. Discover your creative thinking style

We all have a preferred way of thinking, known as our brain dominance. Our thinking style determines our mental approach to tasks, including creativity.

In this section, you can complete a short survey designed to identify your personal creative thinking style. Are you a digital thinker who likes logic and analysis? Or perhaps you are an operational thinker who is highly organised and process driven? Maybe you are more of a people-person, in other words, an animated thinker? Or are you a natural creative thinker?

Knowing your thinking style enables you to select the ideal creative thinking tools to stimulate your personal creativity.

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6. Test your creativity

Tickle your brain cells with this fun creativity test. It will challenge you to think creatively about a simple object found in every office drawer!

The test measures your creative ability, using four key criteria:

  • Fluency – the ability to generate a large number of ideas fast
  • Flexibility – the ability to generate ideas in different categories
  • Originality – the ability to produce unusual and unique ideas
  • Elaboration – the ability to build on an idea by developing it, expanding it, embroidering it and elaborating the original thought

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7. The creative process

The creative process involves seven key steps. The germinal phase involves five steps during which the ideas are generated:

  1. Motivation
  2. Search
  3. Manipulation
  4. Incubation
  5. Illumination

The practical phase involves evaluating and implementing the ideas:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Action

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8. Brainstorming

The definition of brainstorming is ‘a group technique for solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking and developing new ideas, by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion’.

This section focuses on the principles and practices of brainstorming:

  • The four rules of brainstorming
  • The resources for brainstorming
  • Capturing ideas
  • Group versus individual brainstorming
  • Running a brainstorming session
  • Using a facilitator

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9. The tools to think creatively

There are numerous techniques you can use to help stimulate creative thinking. Some techniques are designed for predominantly left-brain thinkers while others are designed for more right-brain thinkers.

This section covers the following creative thinking tools:

  • Mind Mapping® – this is one of the best creative thinking tools in the world because it facilitates the brain’s natural ability to associate and connect in a radiant way
  • Law breaker – this is a logical and analytical thinking tool and is designed to reflect the thinking style of digital thinkers
  • SCAMPER – this is a structured and practical tool based on a series of questions. It is designed to reflect the thinking style of operational thinkers
  • Random object – this freewheeling tool stimulates the brain to make associations and connections from random objects. It is designed to reflect the thinking style of creative thinkers
  • Great minds – this is a sensory and experiential thinking tool which forces you to think from another person or object’s perspective. It is designed to reflect the thinking style of animated thinkers

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10. Processing ideas

The creative process does not end with an idea. It starts with one! The process also involves evaluating all the ideas you have generated and then deciding which ideas to eliminate and which to develop.

Learn the four best techniques for evaluating and selecting the best creative ideas:

  1. Sleep on it
  2. Dot voting
  3. The six thinking hats
  4. Idea evaluation matrix

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11. Creative problem solving

The six stages of the creative problem-solving process are:

  1. Objective setting
  2. Fact finding
  3. Problem definition
  4. Idea generation
  5. Solution finding
  6. Action

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12. Implementing ideas

Once you have identified a creative idea or a solution to a problem, the next step is to transform the idea from concept to practical reality by implementing it.

This section covers a six-step process to transform your idea into practical reality. You will also discover how mind maps and storyboards can be used to help you to plan, project manage and implement the idea.

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