The Creativity Myth 

There is a general belief that creativity is a gift handed to us upon our birth.  Some have this talent and some do not.  Through the years, many of us have been told that we lack creativity.  In fact, our school systems are really good at making us conform to a standard way of thinking, limiting our creative outbursts.  Eventually, we believe what we have been told:  leave the creativity to others.  

Every one of us has the ability to be creative and apply that creativity to problems we face.  We just need to push that doubting voice out of our heads and give it a try.  Recent research suggests that there are some common activities that creative people do in order to be more creative.  The good news is that we can all do these activities and find some success in being more fruitful in generating ideas.  Here are a few concepts to follow: 

The more the better 

Most creative developments are not the result of one brilliant idea.  They are a combination of many good, bad, and ugly ideas that eventually formulate into one that works the best.  A goal of all creative thinkers should be to create many ideas and not restrict yourself by believing you need to develop one perfect idea. Edison made more than 1,000 attempts before getting his idea right. 

Include others who think differently 

All the baggage that we carry with us from a lifetime of living taints our ability to think about problems from unique perspectives.  These existing mental models oftentimes limit our creativity.  Applying ideas from outside the realm of your normal thinking can spark something new.   

According to leading experts on creativity, ideas form easier when a challenge is viewed from different vantage points and unique perspectives.  For example, if you bring a business consultant to your company to solve a business challenge, you’ll get a business solution.  Bring a sociologist in to solve a business challenge and you might get something unique.  Bring these two specialists together and great things might happen. The lesson here:  don’t look at your challenges from one perspective.  Stand back and look at the situation from somewhere else.   

Give it some time 

Those who say they work better under a deadline are kidding themselves.  Research suggests that our brains need time to wrap complex ideas into manageable puzzles.  We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of “sleeping” on an idea and waking with a clear answer.  Time is your friend when it calls for creativity.  Sleep on your ideas for a few days and better ones will emerge. 

For more information on understanding the design process download our free guide “5 Quick + Easy Steps to DESIGN.