Creativity Training

More and more, universities are encouraging – requiring, even – academics to produce more innovative and interdisciplinary research proposals and to work more collaboratively. Yet there are so many demands on their time and resources; it can be difficult for busy academics to find practical ways to develop the skill set necessary to solicit and develop more innovative proposals or use the language and methods of creative team science.

If you want to learn more about the training that Knowinnovation offers that help academics, scientists, researchers and research development managers who’d like to sharpen their creative thinking and facilitation skills, click here.

Or read on to learn more about what it’s like to participate in a KI-led training workshop:


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A Creative Process Primer

A Creative Process Primer

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 Skill Building

Online Skill Building

Knowinnovation has run our fair share of two-day training workshops during which people get very enthusiastic about creativity, but when they return to their jobs and their busy lives, the excitement wanes. The immersive experience of a workshop is a fine way to start, but it’s probably not enough. Creative thinking is a skill, and skills are developed by sustained practice. The idea that someone could actually develop a skill – rather than just begin to understand it – by taking one intensive workshop is a bit like trying to learn to play tennis like a pro in one single weekend. begin

Throwaway Data

Throwaway Data

During the creative problem solving process, there’s a stage when we encourage people to capture all the information about the problem we’re trying to solve. We’ll ask them to write down any piece of information about the challenge that might be pertinent. At this point, the client – or stakeholder, or problem owner – will describe their situation, beginning with a preamble, after which they go on to describe the situation, which is when people start taking notes. Rarely does anyone write down the throwaway data.

It’s Down to Preference

It’s Down to Preference

Some people thrive in a group setting, and their creative flow is sparked by the frenetic and popcorn-style of a fast meeting with lots of ideas, or even if it’s not fast, in an environment where ideas are exchanged and developed by a number of people. Others think better when they’re operating solo. They solve problems and get more new ideas by brainstorming alone, preferring to work out solutions on their own…

Be Deliberate

Be Deliberate

Creative ideas sometimes come as a surprise, but they don’t have to be an accident. Instead of waiting for good ideas to arrive at random or by luck; we can hunt them down. When you use a creative process – whether it’s for a short meeting, a 2-day or week-long workshop or a 3-year project – you can deliberately to take up the challenge to generate from scratch, and on demand, a creative solution.

Wondering Mind

Wondering Mind

A subtle shift in language provokes our thinking and makes our brain more nimble. Instead of complaining about what doesn’t work or isn’t happening, the problem posed as a question starts a chain reaction that ignites our curiosity. We realise it’s not so much about naming the problem, it’s more about wondering what are all the problems embedded in the challenge and what are all the ways to address it.

Defining Brainstorming

Defining Brainstorming

In 1958, Yale University conducted a study to test brainstorming and concluded that brainstorming individually was more effective than brainstorming in a group, but it was widely misinterpreted as “brainstorming didn’t work.” The Yale study created a debate that has percolated for fifty years. Does brainstorming work or not? Does a group generate more and better ideas than the same people would if they were working individually?

Right People in the Room

Right People in the Room

There is an alchemy of elements to create a successful workshop. It includes a casual setting that creates an open climate, a thoughtful agenda design, delivery by facilitators who can build a rapport with the participants, and the presence of willing, committed participants.

Whatever the purpose of a training or workshop – for innovation, skill-building, team building, strategy development – a sure-fire sabotage is to invite people to attend who aren’t committed to the meeting outcome, or who have another hidden agenda.