When we think of creativity, we tend to think of the arts don’t we? But creativity is about more than being artistic.
In fact, creativity really has very little to do with art.
Creativity is the act of turning new ideas into reality and it is characterised by the ability to perceive what’s in front of us in new and imaginative ways, to transcend traditional ideas or rules and patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things and to establish meaningful new interpretations.
Most importantly though, creativity is about output.
Without an output, what you have is imagination, not creativity.
In this modern business world where customers are increasingly demanding and competitors increasingly innovative, businesses need to be more creative. In order to remain competitive and lucrative, they need to stay on top of new product development, their intellectual property and their operational integrity. And in knowledge-based industries where people are required (and paid!) to use their brain, the best ideas tend to come from the people at the customer face.
Have you ever worked on an issue or problem only to find the more you work on it, and the harder you think about it, the more you keep going over the same thought patterns and getting the same result? There is a biological reason for this.
As you repeat your thought process, you strengthen the neurological pathways in your brain, making it physiologically easier to follow the same route next time. This is really useful when the brain is learning things to create unconscious competence (like learning to drive) but it’s not very useful when you are seeking to be innovative! Finding new ways of looking at or doing things, or designing new products or procedures requires the creation of new neurological pathways.
The solution is Collaboration!
When you work with someone else on the problem, their knowledge (or lack of!) and experience, and the differing perspective that they have on the issue as a result leads to assumptions being challenged, inconsistencies being worked through and seeds of ideas being taken to the next level. This often works in an escalating fashion as each contribution from each party creates new creative pathways in the other and this is simply not possible to do on your own.
So, next time you have an issue in your business, or you’re reviewing your product or service, coming up with a new route to market, or want to create an entire new offering, team up with someone else (and ideally more than one person) and use the power of collaboration to get creative!