Creativity, leadership, and organizations.
Discussion: What hampers group creativity? Enhances it?
Exercises: Futures wheels, po, idea boxes.
Read: Miller, 3, 6, 7, 8; Markley.
Robert Harris, Creative
Thinking Techniques, 5 January 2002
Stuart Forsyth's class discussion
Brainstorm: what words
come to mind when you hear "creativity"?
Here are some dictionary definitions.
Miller, 2, 4, 5:
What motivates you? What do you want to create during your life?
Are you creative? WHERE are you most creative?
Miller suggest creativity can surface as any of the following activities:
New ideas or improvements of old ones: intuitive or logical thinking
Make something tangible: material, sensory, other can repeatedly
Act spontaneously: generate new, unique ways to interact with our
Producing an event: event, process, or circumstance creativity
Organizing people or projects: community creativity
Building a relationship: collaborative, cooperative creativity
Changing your "inner self": transcendental creativity?
WHO is creative? Can it be taught? SPIRITED: Miller's framework.
Visioning: seek ideal,
long-term solutions. Envision and idealize.
and build on what you've already done. Build and optimize.
combine various elements and test out novel solutions. Combine
core assumptions and discover new alternatives. Challenge and
Take advantage of diversity:
build mixed teams to draw upon different thinking, learning, and
problem-solving styles (identified using the Kolb Experiential Learning
Inventory, or the Meyers-Briggs or Kiersey personality inventories,
or the Enneagram, or others).
Tapping into your intuition:
wondering (mindset of attentive openness, curiosity, and expansion);
understand your own language of intuition; work with symbols; work
with symbols; practice.
Blocks to creativity
include: limiting beliefs; fear (of the known and unknown);
strong emotions; stress; overspecialization; narrow thinking; lack
of imagination, etc.
Limiting beliefs: leader/victim; confidence and trust; talent/contribution;
strength of expectations; personal value.
Fear: lack of confidence in personal creativity; worry and
anxiety about the future; fear of rejection; fear of confrontation;
fear of success; fear of failure.
Other emotions: guilt, depression, anger; comfort with the
status quo; boredom; excess energy; intolerance of ambiguity; need
for perfection; need to please management; unwillingness to collaborate;
excessive zeal; disinterest; impatience and frustration; seriousness.
Stress: can be good AND bad.
Overspecialization: see Arthur Clarke on scientists -- the
more eminent they are, they more they are likely to be trapped by
the paradigms of their discipline.
Narrow thinking: sticking to favorite problem-solving modes.
Lack of "image"-ination: staying within verbal boundaries;
applying only one sense while problem-solving.
Problem solving: many strategies, many paths.
Kinds of problems: routine solved either by substituting
special data into formerly solved general problem, or following
step-by-step some well-worn, conspicuous example.
Degrees of originality familiar situations dealt with by
Blocks: not objective novelty of problem, but embeddedness of components
of solution (typecasting).
Learning to 'think aside' switching to visual imagery, or
re-stating the problem in different terms, or letting the attention
combining elements of dissimilar sets; integrating two previously
dissimilar frames of reference.
Subjective/objective originality: is the discovery just new
to you, or new in actual fact?
Novel ideas include a "negative insight" (recognition that some
previously accepted principle is wrong)
Discovery by Freudian slip?
- Found a contradiction;
- Immersed or saturated consciousness with the problem and its
- Moment of inattention created space for solution to emerge.
Von Helmholtz: the stages of creative process are saturation,
incubation, and illumination to which Poincare
In terms of complex
adaptive systems: mind slides towards bottom of basin of attraction
(best fitting solution to existing theory/problem statement)
but other, better basins may exist. How to bounce out and explore?
Generate noise, or chance motion superimposed on the tendency to
Approaches: de Bono and word association; brainstorming;
Characteristics of creative
- Dedication to task
- Awareness of being
trapped in an unsuitable basin [of knowledge; of thinking]
- A degree of comfort
with teetering on the edge between basins
- A capacity for formulating
as well as solving problems
Miller, 3, 6, 7, 8:
Creative Journey: borrowing a metaphor from the mythic
NOT NECESSARILY LINEAR -- just presented that way.
- The challenge: establish the goal and assess the risks
- The focus: tap into your character (values, experience, etc.)
and analyze priority issues
- The creative solutions: generate options and decide on solution(s)
- The completion: implement change and celebrate results
Reliving an ancient
tale: the quest myth (see The Way to Shambhala by Edwin Bernbaum)
quest, impassable river, demon, withdraw to focus energies,
battle, overcome, incorporate demon as ally, continue.
Conscious celebration helps
renew energy to re/engage the creative cycle
- Specific values authenticity, humor, play, empowerment,
elegance, spontaneity, creativity
- Symbols globe to symbolize worldwide launch, etc.
- Ritual fresh rather than stifling (invent new ones regularly!)
- Special role of leadership in event's design and implementation
Terry Deal and M.K. Key, seven reasons for celebration:
- Cyclical gatherings to build sense of ongoing identity
in a group
- Recognition to celebrate heroes and heroines, focus
energy, share values, and provide motivation
- Triumph to spark creative energy, spawn stories, and
- Comfort and letting go to heal sadness, create continuity
from past to future, and help the group move on
- Succession bring closure, help departing people move
on, help replacements ease in
- Altruism to bring people together and give back to the
- Play to release tension, foster creativity, and generally
Stimulating a creative climate:
Chaos and order: chaordic
Need not just new rules, but a whole new game: new paradigm, worldview,
central organizing principle (see table page 102)
Leadership: empowerment by appreciation of everyone's potential to
Taking risks: intelligent
failure, competent failure, "high learning, unwanted results"
Appraisals and Rewards:
- Achievement producing a specific result
- Behavior performing with designated skill or style
- Learning (transferred) a new learning has actually been
communicated or published or used by others
- Effort passing milestones on a critical path, or a key
"SATISFIERS" intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards (all of us need
at least a maintenance level of both
relationship heroism, rather than heroic leaders
Must be both relationship-oriented and task-oriented, or attuned
- Attunement on
personal purpose and interpersonal relations
- Alignment on
purpose and vision, roles, empowerment, processes for working
- Product champions:
transmit excitement and enthusiasm
- Sponsors: diplomats
- Inventors: originators
of the idea
- Project managers:
stabilizers, carrying process forward effectively
- Coaches: give guidance
to less experienced personnel
- Gatekeepers: monitor
external conditions and relay updates to internal teams
- Internal monitors:
review ongoing ideas and creative climate of organization
- Facilitators: help
elicit new ideas, foster collaborative teamwork
Innovative meetings clarify
and explicitly define these roles:
- Tell: I decide, you
- Sell: I decide, you
do because of this persuasive reason
- Consult: before I
decide, give me your input
- Participate: we decide
- Delegate: you decide:
- Produce this result,
but check with me before acting
- Produce this result,
inform me of your actions
- Produce this result;
I don't need to know.
(from Doyle and Straus)
Prof. Oliver Markley:
Creative Problem Solving exercises: try this
process on your next problem.
Tapping the "self within" by using a variety of "depth
intuition" exercises: try "Experiencing
the Needs of Future Generations."
Has anyone ever done
similar work? Under what circumstances? With what results? Comments?
Want more refreshing
on these ideas? Go to Stuart Forsyth's
notes on the creativity module.