Where To Start?   

There are several things you ought to consider when working with Creativity in management:-

  1.   It works best when people are being playful
  2.   It also works best when you trust the process
  3.   You can switch it on and off
  4.   There are a good number of simple techniques to use – so use them

How To Be Playful

I’m sure you recognise the difference between someone playing the fool and just being playful. In business creativity we need the latter. The reasons are simple – it helps the brain to relax and allows it to do more (because it isn’t also having to manage stress and other inputs).

So how do YOU become playful? The first thing to do is to realise that it is actually a business benefit and not to be frowned on. Culture in the office that frowns on playful interactions is a bad thing – so make it clear that serious isn’t the only acceptable way to behave. Of course on the shop floor playfulness can have serious health and safety consequences but we are talking about how people interact when they are trying to work out a solution to a problem that isn’t governed by safety protocols.

So being playful can allow engaging in child-like activity to some extent to allow our brains to relax. Life isn’t entirely a game but neither is it to be treated with utter solemnity all the time. The better you get at this the easier it will become to switch on creativity when it is most needed. So look at your business culture and make sure it is allowing of play.

It’s one of the reasons why away-days can be so successful because people are taken out of the normal serious environment and merely the change of location can help lighten the mood.

How To Trust the Process

If I give you a process to follow – what are you going to do? There are those who will follow it religiously and those who will take the idea and then interject their own thoughts.

In creativity the latter only works when the individual knows how to use creative techniques properly and why they do what they do. Blind assumption that method A or B is appropriate and will give the right answer is foolish (in a bad way).

Lots of detailed research has gone into the various techniques that are around. Where they are appropriate and how they should connect one with another. So follow the recipe. I remember my dietician sister, many years ago, telling me that the reason I was the best cook in the family (and by the way everyone in our household could cook quite well) was that I followed the recipes and understood what worked and why. That experience has subsequently allowed me to get more creative and cook interesting food to a good standard sometimes producing very unusual dishes that are a surprise.

The same applies when following a process in creativity. The outcome isn’t necessarily what you initially expect but you have to trust that the process has produced a good answer. The difference is that it wasn’t originally in view.

Failures occur when people get the surprising answer and then dismiss it because it doesn’t fit their preconceptions. You’ve chosen to use a process – so that also means accepting what that tells you. The person who only hears what they want to hear is a fool of the worst kind.

Switching On and Off


Make it a deliberate choice. ”Now I’m going to be creative”. Then relax and start working through the processes for the techniques that you want to use. It really is that simple.

Going back to the kitchen analogy – the moment you walk into the kitchen and start getting ingredients and a recipe book you are doing just that. Even if YOU aren’t a cook you can recognise that whoever IS in the kitchen is putting aside other stuff to be able to prepare food. They’ve changed their mental state to allow them to get on with a job of creating something using a process (the recipes) and a series of tools (ingredients) and techniques (see below). They aren’t suddenly going to abandon the recipes and expect food to appear miraculously from the oven!

It is also clear that at times you need to switch back to a more serious mode – often of project delivery. Make the distinction in your mind and make sure that everyone around knows that is the change that is occurring. As long as people understand why the switch is being flicked, they will also get rapidly into the right mode for the moment. It can be as easy as saying ”Let’s plan this out for the moment and see what that looks like”. You’ve immediately changed the focus onto activity that is structured and serious.

When you want to switch back – make a similar statement indicating the change. It’s really that simple. You can do this internally (if it’s just you who is involved) by telling yourself which state you are about to adopt. After a while you get used to switching back and forth and knowing which state is to the fore.

Finding Usable Techniques

There are lots of usable techniques around. The web is full of links and ideas. However it’s a good thing to get hold of a suite that works for you most of the time. We recommend getting hold of a copy of 101 Executive Uses for a Square Camel. This is packed full of ideas and techniques with explanations of why they work and where they are appropriate.

You won’t need anything else for quite some time.

What Else Would You Like to Know?

We’re always happy to help people get their heads around this stuff, so get in touch and start the conversation. It will help you understand more as part of a free consultation. We look forward to helping you transform in ways that take account of who you are as well as what you do. If you’d like more information online, then you can also follow this link.

Rob Wherrett can be contacted at https://robwherrett.com/contact/

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