Creativity &

No innovation without creativity

Changes in the economy are happening faster and faster. The product cycles are getting shorter and shorter. 30 years ago a new car came on the market every 12 years, now it is every 2-4 years. Creativity, the basis of all innovations, is the engine of the economy. But creativity is not only required in business. As well in  our society it is playing an increasingly important role. Creative people enjoy a special status, whether in art, marketing or sports. Creativity is not only important in special professions. We have to be creative in all areas of the company, whether that’s production, administration or logistics. No innovations and improvements without creativity.

One of the worst misconceptions of our time is that few people are gifted with creativity. Totally wrong! Everyone can be creative. But creativity that is not used cannot develop. It withers away and you get the impression you have no ideas. But the more you use it, the more it flourishes.

People with a new idea are considered crazy until the idea has caught on

Mark Twain

What is creativity?

Creativity includes a creative act that invents something new and that requires thinking “out of the box”. Creativity is a mental, creative process that brings new ideas into the world. Ideas arise from the combination of different information in our head. We bring together neural networks that had nothing to do with each other before. 

Brain and creativity

The brain plays a big role in creativity. Neurobiology shows us that a special form of thinking is required. We are often focused on work. In this mode, beta waves can be measured in the brain. However, if we are creative, then we are outside of our beta range. That can always happen when we go through the world in a relaxed and calml fashion. The brain connects existing information, to unprecedented ideas, to something new. The change of focus and relaxation is therefore an important prerequisite for creativity.

As a child, everyone is an artist. The difficulty lies in staying one as an adult.

Pablo Picasso

Creativity is a process

Creativity is not just the moment of spontaneous inspiration. It’s true, there are moments that seem like AHA effects to us and appear for no reason. Every inspiration is the result of a creative process that can take a few hours or weeks. If you know how it works, you can save yourself a lot of time generating ideas in the future. Here are the steps:

1. Question or formulation of a problem
The right question is incredibly important in creativity. Often questions are not specific enough and too general. They are too complex for our brains. So ask the simplest possible question.
2. Information gathering
In this phase we collect all information on this topic. With this we activate the necessary networks in our brain and add additional important information.
3. Incubation
Then we consciously do something completely different. We go for a walk, read a book or bake a cake. The brain unconsciously thinks about the problem. It works without us noticing anything.
4. Insight
And suddenly there comes this great idea, or even better, the many ideas that represent a possible solution. It is not possible to say exactly when the idea will come.
5. Evaluate options and make choices.
We evaluate the options received and select the best option.
6. Implementation
This is where we get into action and implement the best option.

In total, you can start with three components to increase your creativity:
– Expertise: deep knowledge to bring all the facts together
– Creative thinking: ability to solve problems in the imagination
– Motivation: Energy to hold on with a task to the end

Overcome blockages

In our society there are tons of mental blocks that inhibit our creativity. Here are the most important ones:
– The conviction: I’m not creative at all! This is nonsense. Everyone has the assets to be creative. But you have to practice and use them.
– There is only one correct answer to every problem. This is nonsense. There are tons of solutions to every problem.
– It’s not logical. Many believe that a solution has to be logical. These are usually the non-creative solutions. That’s why they’re creative.
Be practical. This sentence is the killer of all kind of creativity. Creativity is just the opposite. Not logical and at first glance not at all practical.
– Strict goal orientation, fixed solutions and processes from which one does not want to deviate
– Strong fear for a bad judgement inhibits creativity
– Thought barriers and beliefs are perhaps the greatest obstacles to creativity. Values and norms prevent thinking in different directions because you don’t allow yourself to think like that. They come about through upbringing or cultural constraints.

These blockages are real killers. Don’t let this fool you! In neuroleadership we identify these blockages and convert them into creative energy.

How can you increase your creativity?

Stick to the process. Keep yourself occupied with the topic, but also give the brain space to think about it. It takes incubation time.

  • Do less with yourself. Do your research on the area
  • Try to be amazed and discover something new every day. Write down what you were amazed at every day
  • Try to amaze at least one person a day
  • When you feel a spark of interest, follow that feeling
  • Start each morning with a specific goal to look forward to
  • Everything you do well brings joy (transform everyday activities to bring joy)
  • Increase the complexity of a task when you are under-challenged