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Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

Being, Not Doing: An important part of the creative (and innovative) process

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Sometimes we're rushing around so much that I think we should be called 'Human Doings' rather than 'Human Beings'.  We're coming in early to work, rushing from meeting to meeting and checking our smartphones in every spare minute, trying to get stuff done.  It's no wonder we don't always feel particularly creative or innovative.

change requires creativity and innovation

Creativity and innovation don't just happen, though companies often think they should.  Creativity is born out of knowing as much as possible about the subject at hand and then giving your brain time to ruminate or incubate.  Instead, we're sent to off-site 'brainstorming' meeting, where we're pushed from one session to another, talked at, presented with endless PowerPoint decks, talked at some more - and then suddenly we're told:  "Okay, for the next hour we're going to be creative, people!  We're really going to innovate!"

It just doesn't work.

Here are a few ideas to help get your team's creative juices flowing:

1.  Restructure the off-site meeting:  Instead of putting the 'free time' portion of the off-site/retreat at the end of the end, have meetings on the first few days, during which everyone can learn about the topic at hand and facilitate discussion.  Then schedule downtime to allow that information to simmer.  Come back together the next day and you'll find creative ideas have come to the surface.

2.  Schedule recess for adults:  If you've got only limited time, try adding an extended break in the middle of the meeting.  Gather your team together and make sure everyone is well-versed in the problem or challenge you're trying to solve.  Then send everyone off on a walk, by themselves, out of the building if possible, for 20-30 minutes - no emails, no phones, no talking to anyone else during that time.  Then reconvene and ask for ideas - you'll be surprised how productive those 30 minutes will have turned out to be.

3.  The mini-break:  Get up from your desk and walk outside - don't take your phone, don't check your email, don't talk to co-workers and don't surf around the Huffington Post.  Start with 10 minutes and work your way up.  giving yourself permission to just be for a few minutes will, I promise, almost guarantee your ability to think better and do more in the long run.

Remember:  If you've long been frustrated with the lack of creativity and innovation that you and/or your team have been able to generate, it's probably time to try a different approach.  Continuing to do the same old thing won't generate different results - just increased frustration.

 

Read 8618 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 May 2014 03:53

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Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
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