Why it pays to be more “creative”

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Not everyone likes the idea of being “creative”. For some people being “creative” can have negative associations. It can be threatening. Why? Because you will have to put your ideas out there, putting yourself on the line, and perhaps face criticism. Others may laugh at your ideas. They may think you’ve gone “soft”.

Yet if we look around we see that “creativity” is pervasive in our lives. It helps us find new approaches, come up with solutions and new products and services. For the ideas that succeed, we all benefit. Better food, clothing, cell phones, comforts at home, exciting entertainment and ways to even access coastal holidays at a fraction of the cost of full ownership.

Some people have complained that the word creativity has helped only to confuse and mystify. If you look back 100 years or so, or even further, the word “creativity” wasn’t used much as it is now days. But people were still coming up with new ideas, linking or connecting unrelated objects or concepts to come up with new ideas. Think of Johannes Guttenberg, a goldsmith, who developed the printing press which was a combination of wine screw press and a hand mould to create metal movable type.

In my book “Breakthrough Ideas” I have tried to steer away from the word “creativity”. Instead, I have used terms like “new ideas”, “idea generation” or “new concepts”. This is deliberate. My purpose is to show that anyone can come up with new ideas. It doesn’t matter what your “creativity” score was at school or when you were subjected to psychometric tests (before being accepted for jobs and so on). Everyone is creative. Some just use their creativity more than others.

It’s one thing knowing about idea-generation techniques and quite another knowing about the process of idea generation. Most books on the subject of idea generation will give you techniques and tools. A whole lot of them. So many that it is unlikely you will ever use more than a dozen of them. That’s why I’ve selected only those that have been proven to work, some over many decades. Once you have the basic tools, you’re free to search for others that you may want to experiment with.

My book gives you a basic process or framework for coming up with ideas, developing and implementing them. My seven-step process is: problem definition, idea didn’t generation, idea evaluation and selection, development, testing, planning and implementation. It is a process anyone can follow and work to their advantage.

Why is an idea process or framework important? If you have an idea for a new food product, for example, a source from a family recipe, you need a basic process to develop and implement your idea into a physical product. But if your idea involves something complicated such as a vaccine patch, you’d need a more detailed process. In fact, an innovator who has come up with biodegradable needles for a disposable patch to deliver vaccines painlessly via the skin hopes to bring it to market within five years after clinical trials, development and implementation.

For more complicated innovation processes, you can use Min Basadur’s Simplex creative process, which has eight steps or stages. The stages are: problem finding, fact-finding, problem definition, idea finding, evaluation and selection, planning, acceptance (sell idea) and action. It’s been used by large corporations as a formal process for developing new products.

Do you want to learn to accelerate your idea generation through speed thinking? I strongly urge you to read “Breakthrough Ideas“. By investing a few hours in yourself, you’ll find solutions faster and come up with more viable business ideas.

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