Our world bombards us daily with countless stimulations and information , much more than our brain is able to process in a lifetime.
In order to keep sanity we use filtering mechanisms that enable us to function and to take what is relevant to us and dispose what we regard as non important.
But we not only filter information from the outer world. We also create new realities, we generate ideas , ideas that are aimed to improve our life, make things more effective for us and our societies and yes, to make our life fun and enjoyable.
Ironically and as Gary Hamel said in his book 'Leading the Revolution' , "How ironic that in a world populated by 'knowledge workers', there is virtually no time left to think".
And when there is time to think, when ideas pop up to us during walk time, shower time, jogging, driving , we just disregard them, forget about them and move to the next un-remembered idea.
Chic Thompson , in his excellent book "What a Great Idea! 2.0" depicts a 4 step process to generate and keep ideas.
First Step: Freedom
"The first step creative people take , whether or not they do it consciously , is to gain the inner freedom to consider new ideas and new posibilities."
The Second Step: Expression
"One step beyond the freedom to consider new posibilities is the ability to give voice to the problems and the questions that the new ideas will address"
The Third step: Creation
"Here is the heart of generating great ideas,here are the techniques, and here is much of the fun"
The fourth step: Action
"Action is the most challenging step in the creative process. Its where our new idea meets the real world.
It's where we need to believe enough in our idea and in ourself that a rejection or a suggested improvement doesn't short-circuit our energy"
Did you know that when we were 5 years old we were innate creators. We enjoyed life , we loved to dance, to draw, to laugh.
If you ask today a group of adults if they like to do those things only about 15% of them will raise their hands (taken from What a Great Idea! 2.0), and someone will want to have a couple of beers before the dancing.
If you remember, when we were children we had a box of 128 colored crayons. When we became adults we had only a black and blue Bic pen.
When we were 5 we asked 65 questions a day. When we are 44 this number drops to 6 questions a day.
As 5 year olds we ask many "Why" questions , meant to explore the world.
As grown ups we also ask some "why" questions but more in accusatory tone like "why did you do that?"
Most of our adult life we try to give answers and very little asking questions.
1. The age of "Why" - Birth - 5 years old
2 . The age of "Why not" 5-12 years old
3. The age of "Because!" 12-retirement
Chic Thompson says, that in order to bring back the creativity to our lives , we first need to un-learn a few rules we were tought in school, that may be holding us back.Those ancient wrong rules are:
1. There is only one right answer
2. The teacher is always right
3. The right answer is in the back of the teacher's edition.
4. Don't pass notes.
5. The answer is not on the ceiling.
"Those rules worked well in the industrial age , before the advent of information technology, when companies mined the land for their assets.
To create an environment for idea harvesting, the rules definitely have changed:
1. Look for a second and third right answers.
2. Challenge management and look for answers at all levels.
3. Constantly revise policy manuals.
4. Pass notes, collaborate, and appreciate diversity.
5. The answers still aren't in the ceiling, but if you look with creative eyes, the questions might be.
The answers are different this year (Albert Einstein ).
And Plato said, "It is better to answer one question eight different ways than eight different questions one way".
And before we close this week's post, a couple of tips to boost your creativity:
1. Change your watch arm. If you use your watch on the left hand move it to the right hand. Every time you will look at the wrong hand, just smile and keep going.
2. Put on your deskop at work a picture of you at the age of 5. that will remind you of the time you were really creative.
3. Put on your desktop at work some nice gadgets that you can play with and that will remind you that you too, can be creative.
We will close with the following quote by Peter Druker, management consultant:
"Most successful organizations that now need help remember the answers but forget the questions"