Creativity is good, does that mean that non-creativity is bad? When is it appropriate to use new ideas and new decisions and when is it best to stay with the same-old, same-old? Have you answered those questions for yourself yet?
There are many viewpoints on the subject of appropriateness for using creativity deliberately, just as many as there are definitions for the subject. It’s hairy. And you know what, it just doesn’t matter.
During my first year of Creative Studies classes at the International Center for Studies in Creativity we learned the importance of properly defining problems using a technique I now call ‘what’s it all about’.
We learned how to get beneath the motivation for solving a problem or optimizing an opportunity by
- asking a question using a statement starter such as, In What Ways Might I, How to, or How might we…
- asking why do you want to do that and
- using the why answer as a new problem statement
Here’s an example.
- In what ways might I lose 10 pounds.
- Why? To look better
- In what ways might I look better?
- Why? So more people will pay attention to me.
- How to get more people to pay attention to me?
- Why? So I will feel important.
- How might I feel more important?
- Why? So I will have more confidence.
- In what ways might I feel more confident?
- Why? So I can have more fun.
- In what ways might I have more fun?
- Why? So I can lead a rich and meaningful life.
- In what ways might I lead a rich and meaningful life?
Time after time, through 25 years of leading this tool-learning with students, managers, leaders and top level executives the same end-response appears.
Creativity, what it’s all about, all those new ideas and new decisions, whatever the challenge it is applied to, is for people to lead better more fulfilling lives. That’s all anything is all about, ultimately. What’s really great about our diversity of focus, be it accounting, engineering, social work, manufacturing, sales, activism, etc. is that there are many paths to its realization.