It is in
creativity that the
are found to the incessant issues that arise in the course of building a
creativity is all about
To maintain the altitude that keeps a company going, you must
What follows are five steps for forging an attitude that
creativity into your
1. Find the
opportunities, don't wallow in the problems
to solutions. The problem "We ran out of money " can be restated, for
example, as a question that nudges you closer to a solution, such as: "In
what ways can we convince a bank to lend us money?" Solutions are apt to
arise more frequently when the right questions are posed.
2. Separate idea
generation from idea evaluation
more ideas you have the better. Set aside a
time to generate ideas and a completely different time to evaluate each.
Don't mix the two, or you may be killing the babies before you know what
they might grow up to be...
3. Change lenses
Now let's get to that
evaluating. You must,
like the photographer who takes 1,000 shots for the one ideal image for the
book jacket or advertisement, compile a broad array of ideas. The more you
have, the better your chances for finding just the right one for your
However, numbers aren't the whole story.
Creativity also involves a practice called "forced association." When
evaluating ideas, in other words, a simple technique is to listen to all of
them, clear your mind, and then open a dictionary and pick a random word.
Think about how that word or its attributes relate to your company's issue,
and you will find yourself with a new perspective.
Avoid the trap of entrenched thinking
Humans operate 92%
on autopilot, and only 8% consciously, even, sadly, those entrepreneurs
among us. The challenge is to break from those entrenched patterns so that
you don't, subconsciously (or even consciously), eliminate new options. You
need to be aware that new patterns exist and that you must make an effort to
5. Risk something big
Write a poem about your work. Or paint a
picture. Or tell a story. The point is that what might be considered
silliness when juxtaposed against the serious job of
company building –
humor, physical activity, or the creative arts – might actually work to
loosen you up in times of stress.
There is a similarity, after all: it takes
a lot of
passion to act silly – and to create a company. These days, top
business schools are teaching the liberal arts, as well as painting, poetry,
improvisation, so that students can better express themselves and
experience the differing perspectives that lead to
Entrepreneurs would do well to do the same.