Some people think that creativity is a bit of magic or genius – it can be – but we’d argue that it’s possible to be very deliberately creative by using a process. KI’s methodology is based on the Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS), a multi-step model developed by a businessman and an academic in the 1950s. The premise is that creativity is not uniquely a Eureka experience, but that we can apply a deliberate method to produce new ideas and novel results. Creativity doesn’t have to be an accident or a bit of luck; you can do it on purpose.
Online networks like these make it easier to connect with strangers. No longer are we confined to swimming into the small sea of connections in our own discipline. You can discover and tune into the conversations of strangers, and – if you are willing to invest time into building personal relationships online – you can turn strangers into friends and collaborators. And that is good for creativity, and good for science.
One of the hardest parts of being a facilitator is the timekeeping. On one hand, our role is to guide people toward interesting conversations, to help them relax and get to know who’s in the room so they feel comfortable thinking out loud, taking intellectual risks and tapping into their stream of consciousness. At the same time, there is a workshop agenda and in order to stay within a reasonable schedule, sometimes we have to drive things forward.
Think about what you need to be creative. It is more natural light or less? It is music or quiet? Are gadgets good stimulation for your thinking or do you want a slow workplace? Is your space right for the introvert or extrovert in you? It’s important to balance collaborative spaces with those designed for private thinking and execution; we need to make space for both types of thinking and working to be productive.
When people think about attending a workshop or a training – especially a professionally focused event – they don’t expect to hear music. This might be why it can be particularly effective for setting the tone for such an event. If people walk into the room and there’s music playing, already they can sense it’s going to be a different kind of experience. In terms of innovation, that’s what we want. A different kind of meeting is more likely to lead to a different result.
In our methodology, we call it deferring judgment, the capacity to set your opinions aside, temporarily, and accept a new or odd idea, or an unformed nugget of a something, and take the time to develop it before dismissing it. This is the cornerstone of divergent thinking. And it happens to be the first rule of improv: Say Yes.