THE CREATIVITY PARADOX
Todd Dewett | July 12, 2021
I was super honored to be asked to speak at a recent TEDx event hosted at Texas A&M University. This is the lovely institution that saw fit to grant me a Ph.D. some years ago. It was also one of the few live events I’ve done lately due to the pandemic, so – it was a blast!
The topic is about the hypocrisy we see in organizations regarding creativity and innovation. On the one hand, they say we love creativity! On the other hand, when someone shares a new idea it is often treated quite poorly! New ideas are often ignored, shunned, and bullied.
In the talk, I suggest three things that can help you encourage more creativity at work. The talk brings these ideas to life with colorful examples, but the points are simple.
First, realize that occasionally you must poke a sacred cow! It requires a bit of bravery, but be honest, you all see the dead body in the room, right? It’s time to talk about it. Choose your words carefully, bring some friends, go!
Next, you must support the devil’s advocate. It must become valid to speak up when we hear lazy thinking or questionable ideas. Open debate and lots of candor should be the norm if you value innovation. When the devil’s advocate speaks up, try to listen!
Finally, focus on what matters. It’s shocking how much time we waste on more trivial matters. To maximize creativity, remember that it’s not so much how much creative capacity the team has, but what you do with it that matters. Use it on things that will move you forward!
Is there more to it? Of course. Lots more. On a personal level, you can boost creativity by mixing up your daily routines, managing your interactions to ensure strong positivity, and stimulating your brain with new experiences and education.
At the team and organizational level, there should be relevant training in place, the inclusion of creativity as a topic of interest in performance evaluations, and the allocation of resources for special projects and experiments. Much to be done!
Let me help you get started. No matter what level of creativity currently defines your team or organization, it can be better, right? Share the TEDx video with the team or organization and discuss. I bet you that actionable targets, such as those mentioned above, will come out of that conversation. Now go get creative! Your employees and customers will thank you.
WHAT’S UP WITH DR. D?
· Another TEDx? I think so. A school in Dubai has asked me to participate. The theme relates to change, which is part of my wheelhouse, so I think I’m in! More on that later…
· The nice people at World Class Performer posted an interview with me that you might find interesting (it’s a little personal…): https://bit.ly/3wBdbuH.
· I just finished writing the scripts for a course on enhancing individual and group creativity. I can’t wait to share it with you later this year.
Sometimes the fire burns out. We lose our drive. It happens. It can result from getting bored with the work, being overworked, or many other reasons. In any case, it is possible to rekindle the fire. Try these:
Shake up your day. You’re stuck in a rut so change things up: when you start the day, your morning routine, what you eat, who you talk to, the order of tasks you tackle, etc. Changing your routines very often wakes up the brain and helps you get excited again.
Step away. If you’re stressed or experiencing burnout, you need time off. Depending on your situation, it might be embracing daily fun and thoughtful breaks, or it could be a vacation, a staycation, or a paid or unpaid leave. Give the brain the rest it needs, and it can snap back.
Revisit the beginning. What lit the fire in the first place? Remember the moment, the person, the task. Look at the old pictures, videos, or work products. Articulate why you fell for your chosen career, point by point. Choose to feel gratitude and the motivation may return.
Curb the negatives. Small amounts of negativity, delivered with integrity in the name of needed debate – awesome. Negative Nelly’s who always criticize or see the glass half empty? You have no room for them anymore! You need helpful interactions. Demand positivity.
Seek inspiration. Don’t wait for it to happen randomly. Go read that thing that makes you feel warm, watch that clip that makes you laugh, listen to that song that lifts you, or go speak to that coach or mentor who moves you. Inspiration is an active sport – so get active now.
Until next time – stay safe, go learn something, maybe help someone, or at least do something interesting!
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All of my links in one place: https://linktr.ee/drdewett.