Tag Archives: creativity

How does one disrupt thought patterns?

Free thinking

Does one need to empty their mind to allow new thoughts?

This week we are being challenged by the topic Perturbing Thoughts and how to disrupt our well-established mindsets that seem to dictate so much of our everyday lives. Let’s face it, us humans are creatures of habit, whether it be the route we take to work, where we sit in a lecture theatre or the camp site for our  annual  holiday.

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The road ahead may not be clear but it is the road less travelled.

Of course there may be practical reasons for why we adopt such predictable behaviours but when it comes to finding new ways of  creative thinking and being open to innovative actions; there needs to be a disruption to our usual thought patterns. Easier said than done, I hear you say.

Edward De Bono’s research which produced The Six Hats of Thinking strategy offers some insights into our own ways of thinking and how we can adopt a different coloured hat or bring in others to obtain the missing thought processes to come up with workable solutions and ideas. Being a “blue hat” myself which involves being focussed and keeping the process on track means that I may overlook some other processes that can prove useful.

Since starting this voyage of self-discovery, I have been bouncing different thoughts off my husband. He doesn’t consider himself creative in any way and likes to keep busy with manual work. But his thoughts are not contained like mine which unwittingly have been moulded into the “status quo”. It’s not that I’m not creative but rather I park some ideas to the side while I deal with everyday business of life and work.

Driving home the other night, my husband and I, were discussing lateral thinking and adopting a different approach to solving problems. Living in country areas or semi-rural locations, has created a conflict with wildlife and motorists trying to share the same space. Sadly, this often results in road trauma for our native animals and increased risk  to drivers.  Down our country lane lives four giant wombats who cross the road at night and can be rather difficult to see when they step out from the side of the road. We have lost one large  male this week.

My husband made the suggestion that maybe we should paint the wombats with “high-vis” orange paint so motorists could see them better. I was ready to dismiss this silly idea but then I realise without such thoughts how can one proceed to the next step of formulating a solution to such a problem. His other idea was to fit some sort of sonar device to vehicles to deter wildlife. I’m not sure, but I think there is such a thing in Scandinavia to warn off wild deer.  Our exchange also highlighted to me the need for more than one thinking hat to successful problem solving.

Living on 25 acres, also requires some lateral thinking as well. It is not big enough for large-scale farming so I am trying to think in practical and creative ways to use our land. Exposing myself to new ideas and concepts through alternative farming practices which encompass organic approaches and land management, has been a valuable experience because I add to my knowledge base and network with many other people on small acreage.  This will be a long-term joint project with my “outside the box” thinking husband. Hopefully, it may help disrupt my thoughts in a perturbing way!

 

 

 

 

 

What stops me being creative?

 

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Reflecting on creativity

 

As we enter week two of our university unit on Creativity and Innovation, we are being asked to be introspective about the possible limits one places on themselves when it comes to being creative. What stops me may be the same for you, or totally different. Whatever it is that stifles creativity, it is a topic well worth exploring. Without creative thought, the world would be a much poorer place. Why, only today the invention of the bicycle is being hailed 200 years later. This was in response to a problem when drought conditions caused lack of feed for stock including horses and the need for transport. Today’s cycling paraphernalia is a far cry from its humble beginnings when pedals were not included in the original design.

How does this relate to me being creative or not? Coming up with ideas can be the easy part; however converting them into actuality is another story. Allowing one to be creative is to be applauded but it will disappear into the ether if not harnessed. Creativity has to break through the internal and external factors that place barriers in our way. We need to look at what is self-imposed that we can deal with directly and those outside our control may need more work but can be overcome if we “think outside the box”. Already today, I have fallen prey to procrastination. There is church in the morning followed by coffee, then my daily one-hour walk (which does set my creative juices gurgling!), a chat to the young neighbour who has been sick with her three children for the past week, catching up on washing and preparing dinner. I’m just about to go off and check the oven now! Five minutes later I’m back with a drink in hand. I think you get my point, many of us are guilty of being distracted from our creative pursuits.

We can argue that creativity needs to have free rein but that is probably just an excuse for not making space in our lives and our environment for this important process to fulfil its potential. Many successful writers are often quoted saying that you must write something each day, whether that be a 1000 word limit or a chapter each week. Those of us who worked as print journalists understood that a deadline was exactly what it meant. Not much point writing a beautifully crafted story if it never makes it into print!

I often think it sad that the work of  many talented artists is  worth more after their death. While money shouldn’t always be the motivation to create, the recognition of one’s volume of work within their lifetime would be a sign of respect.

I was surprised but John Cleese of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python fame, had some useful insights via a training on-line clip in relation to creating an environment to foster creativity. Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from places that inhibit our creativity or ability to problem solve. He was an advocate of “sleeping on a problem” overnight when a solution was not forthcoming. I also agree with this approach. Brain fatigue dulls the senses and the next day can provide fresh perspectives.

As this day draws to a close, I too will sleep on it and hope that my creative senses will be revived. If all else fails, keep a note pad handy by the side of the bed when you feel inspired so not to lose the essence of your thoughts.

Who wants to be creative?

 

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Don’t let the sun go down on a good idea!

What does it mean to be creative and innovative in a world that is undergoing unprecedented technological change? Why do I want to be creative? I have long understood that creativity extends well beyond literature and the visual arts to encompass a way of thinking that brings about ideas that can be converted into solutions and as a means of tackling previously unthought-of innovations.

As a writer, avid reader and enthusiastic photographer, creative thought is constantly at the forefront of my mind. But how many opportunities do I miss when I fail to act upon those promptings.  Thinking about creativity in the workplace, I have witnessed many inspired ideas, even offered some of my own, which get no further than the last minutes of a group meeting. During my employment with a large not-for-profit over six years, I needed to be open and creative in my thinking, if our mission to help disadvantaged individuals and families achieve positive pathways to better lives was to be fulfilled. Not an easy task!

Watching innovation guru Steven Johnson’s animated clip Where do good ideas come from?” got me thinking about the processes involved. One thing that clearly stood out for me was the need for collaboration to help to fill in the missing gaps in our creative thinking. Being in a vacuum is not much help to fulfil your purpose.  Johnson makes the comment about a “historic increase in connectivity” which is bringing more people together from a wider sphere and more opportunities to share ideas. There is also the aspect of where or the environmental factors that offer a conducive space to create. Staring at a blank screen at my office desk rarely sparks my imagination but transport me elsewhere where my senses can be stimulated and shared with others, may be the genesis of  a brilliant idea.

There is no doubt that that we will see monumental changes in the near future as to how we work, live and play. We can adopt the doom and gloom attitude or embrace the chance to change things in clever and meaningful ways. One of the challenges I see is to ensure that in this race towards new innovations that we do not leave the vulnerable behind. Hopefully, as I explore this subject in more depth, I will be part of the solution not the problem

 

Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. 

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi