Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Learn how to be creative?

A two day workshop

Last week we had a two day training/workshop on creativity. Some of our customers took a class on this and were enthusiastic about it. So I contacted a company called COCD (www.cocd.be). First assumption of many people is that they are not creative because they are no artists. Second assumption is that you cannot learn to be creative. Both assumptions are false.

Invention of a new toilet!

Techniques to think out of the box
Problem is that it is hard to think outside the box, and that is what creativity is all about. Everybody thinks in patterns because that helps you with everyday tasks. You can be very creative without being an artist. Everybody can learn some techniques to think outside the box. That was what we did during the training. We learnt different approaches to solve a problem/question. We started with a normal brainstorm session to solve a fictive problem, after that we start using techniques like provocative analogies (take two very different concepts and try to find the elements that are the same). Other ways to extend your view on a challenge/problem: think how your hero would solve this problem, or how a solution will look when you reverse the problem.

A simple but effective way was to write down solutions on post-it's, stick them on your table and after that change seats with people. On your new table you found the ideas of another person and you had to add two new ideas. Then you had to change seats again. It surprised me how many extra ideas were generated this way.

Funny activities to relax

Creativity is hard work
At the end of the first day we used a real question (How can we offer a more powerful learning experience) and nailed down this challenge. There are basically 3 phases in every problem-solving session:
1. Problem Definition
2. Idea Generation Phase (Divergence)
3. Idea evaluation Phase (Convergence)
4. Action plan

If you want to learn the basics of creative thinking, please visit the small but nice online course on this: http://www.cocd.org/international/course.htm

So basically it is easy to improve your process of creation by using pattern-breaking methodologies. No paint; just hard work, an open mind and energy is needed!

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