In a less tolerant age, bloody wars might be fought over the ‘one true definition’ of creativity. Such definitions abound, often focusing on one creative attribute, such as creative problem solving, idea generation, creative inspiration, inventiveness, or the skill and talent of artistic expression. At ZestWare, we embrace a multi-dimensional 6-H approach to creativity: Head, Hands, Heart, Humor, Hostfulness, and Holism. This article provides practices for developing each dimension.
There is an extensive body of tools and techniques for creative thinking and problem solving. Ideas and questions are the currency of the creativity marketplace, and developing a capacity for their generation is a valuable skill that will be explored in greater depth in future articles.
Practice: Keep a creative journal, and dedicate 15 minutes each day to filling it with interesting questions and ideas.
Ideas without action are sterile, or at best still-born. Action is required to turn creative potential into creative reality, and it is essential to develop a rhythm for creating. Using a light-weight creative process such as the ZestWare CREATE process outlined in a previous article, should help you establish such a rhythm.
Practice: Create prototypes, sketches, sales letters, presentations, and other tangible creations which embody your creative passions and ideas.
Creative passion, zest, desire, and the creative quest for beauty and elegance form the internal combustion engine that converts creative thinking into creative action.
Practice: Have a pet creative project and a higher creative purpose or cause that you are passionate about. Expose yourself to interesting and unusual experiences and the artistic or innovative creations of others.
Edward de Bono, the grand-daddy of creative thinking, weighs in with the following cosmos-realigning statement: “It has always surprised me how little attention philosophers have paid to humor, since it is a more significant process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perceptions, but the humor process is involved in changing them.”
Practice: Develop a sense of fun, and play with ideas. Write funny captions for photos. Look out for the ironic and paradoxical aspects of the world.
It is hard to conceive of a significant act of creation that is undertaken as a solo endeavor. An important aspect of creativity is how we host others in order to expand the scope of our own creativity as well as theirs. This dimension addresses the collaborative, organizational, and team-based aspects of creativity.
Practice: Speak to people of different national, ethnic, cultural, social, professional, religious, and political backgrounds. Even when you do not agree with a point of view, ask yourself: “What aspect of this conversation can I use to achieve my creative objective.”
The creative imagination has no boundaries in space or time. It stretches to the far reaches of the physical, conceptual, and metaphorical universes, and can be brought to bear on the big issues of universal importance.
Practice: Expose yourself to big ideas and thinkers in a diversity of disciplines. Think of the universe as your canvas. How can you paint a better picture for the planet and the future of humankind.
Engaging in such creative practices expands your possibilities by developing your capacity as a well-rounded creative entrepreneur.