Sunday, February 06, 2005

Five Steps To Creativity

Being out of the habit of writing here as often as I'd like - it's now a strange sensation to be writing twice within the space of two days!

But it's easy when it's not me doing the writing.

Here’s a great article on boosting your creativity by Harry Hoover, managing principal of Hoover ink PR.

Everything you know about creativity is wrong, according to scientists. We have discovered roughly 95 percent of what we know about the brain in the past 20 years.

So, you probably think that only "special" people are creative. You couldn't be more wrong. All humans have the potential for creativity. But like any other skill, it requires some work to get good.

Let's examine the five steps to creativity.

First on the list: opportunities. You must look for chances to be creative and you can't let our old friend “fear of failure” get in your way. Take risks instead of settling for the status quo. Examine your daily routine. List all the things you do by rote and look for ways to improve them.

Training is our next step. Whether you seek out classes, or you go the DIY route, there is plenty of material available to you. Read How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, or Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono. Pick up the Creative Whack Pack by Roger von Oech or Michael Machalko's ThinkPak.

The creative process requires encouragement. Seek out creative mentors. Hang out with other creative people who have positive attitudes. Negative nannies suck the creativity right out of you. Avoid them.

Practice your newfound creativity. Remember, ideas can come from both success and failure. Thomas Edison learned 1,800 ways not to build a light bulb before he found his first way that produced light.

Finally, our most important step: belief that you are creative. A quick story to illustrate: A New York publisher was concerned about the lack of creativity among his editorial and marketing staff. He hired psychologists to try to determine what differentiated the creative employees from the others.

After a year of study, the psychologists discovered that there was only one difference between creative and non-creative employees: belief in their creativity. Creative employees believed they were creative, and the non-creative ones believed they were not.

I believe that you are creative. Now, it's your turn.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX and Verbatim.