The more I read about innovation and creativity, the more I feel like I need to stop reading about innovation and creativity.
Too many of the stories about people who are big, bold, creative thinkers don’t involve them being experts on innovation. They are experts, for sure, but they don’t know everything there is to know about how to have big ideas. They spend time reading a broad range of topics, they spend a lot of time noticing the world around them, and they spend a lot of time just thinking.
Most of the books I’ve read on being innovative or creative or having original ideas have included these basic concepts, if not labeled so succinctly.
So how do we do this?
Reading is the easiest. You don’t really need an action plan for reading – just pick some interesting books and get started. Although you may need an action plan for making the time to read. I would argue, however, you don’t really need a plan – you need will power. (Here are 15 ways to find extra time in your day – they all involve not doing other things instead.)
Noticing the world around you seems easy, but how many times have you driven to or from work and not remembered the trip. You were on autopilot. It’s a wonder there aren’t more car accidents, really. We spend a lot of our time each day on autopilot. You see the roses, but you need an action plan to stop and smell them.
Thinking requires a combination of making the time for it and having a plan to do it productively.
To be a bigger, better, more creative thinker you need: Time (or maybe just willpower) and an actionable plan to notice and think.
Sounds fairly simple, right? But we all know it isn’t.
I don’t have answers for you right now, but I’m on a mission to find them.
Stay tuned for more on how to implement some innovation every day.
Book 12 for my #50BooksIn2016 challenge. Find out more about the challenge here.
Flourish was such a fascinating read. The idea of positive psychology – focusing on building the good, instead of eliminating the bad – really resonated with me. At a very basic level Seligman says that if you spend all your time trying to eliminate things like sadness, depression, and anger you end up empty, which is not any healthier than feeling sad, depressed or angry. So you should spend as much, if not more even, time building on the positive things – what is working well, what are you grateful for, increasing your self-discipline and self-determination. These are the things that will ultimately lead you to living a better, happier life.
The five main components of “flourishing” or what makes up well-being are 1) positive emotion, 2) engagement, 3) meaning, 4) positive relationships, 5) accomplishment
My favorite part had to do with increasing accomplishment or achievement in our lives. I don’t know what that says about me. Seligman piggybacked on the work of Angela Duckwork, whose PhD work at Penn was focused on GRIT, the combination of very high persistence and high passion for an objective.
I watched a TED talk recently from Duckworth on this topic, so getting into more detail of the research and theory behind it was incredibly interesting.
The TED talk is here. You should watch it. (But after you finish reading this.)
The underlying theory of achievement Duckworth proposed is this:
Achievement = skills X effort
Skills are made up of the cognitive process of automatic knowledge, heavy cognitive thinking about planning, refining, error checking and creativity, and how quickly you can learn new material to make it automatic.
Effort is just how much time you spend on something. And the biggest factor of that is the character traits of self-discipline and GRIT.
Those two character traits are really the only things you have a significant amount of control over when it comes to the formula for achievement.
So if I want to build Prodigy & Co to a massive success and help people change the world, I need to work on my GRIT – and help my clients with their GRIT.
But it also tells me that is what students and kids need to help them become their best selves, and the sooner we can help them increase their GRIT, the better off they will be. (Exciting news on this front coming soon!!)
I can’t wait to see Duckworth’s research on what you can do to actually increase GRIT. She has a book coming out May 3 that I have already pre-ordered.
Let me know what you think about the achievement formula and GRIT. I’d love to hear from you.
I recently had an article featured on GetMotivation.com on using creativity to succeed. Check it out…
Now, more than ever, companies need creativity and creative thinking in the day-to-day operations in order to truly excel and rise above the competition.
We often think of the great innovators such as Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs as the “creatives”, the kind of people who had such revolutionary ideas that they changed the world. Or we read stories like that of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, who developed a simpler, less painful way to test blood that has turned her into the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world and we think “I could never have an idea like that.”
These stories are great examples of game-changing creativity and innovation, but they overlook the everyday creativity and innovation that makes companies tick. And that is the kind of creativity you can use to drive sales, product development, or customer service improvements in your own company. You don’t need to have ideas that change the entire world, you just need ideas to change the world you live in.
Creativity and innovation in the day-to-day starts with looking at things differently and taking on the perspectives of others. Get inside the head of your customer, boss, partner, or supplier to determine how you can impact their outcome in a positive way. This is especially critical for your customers, thinking from their perspective to understand what they want and need. But even if you don’t interact with your company’s customers on a daily basis, think of your boss or partner as a customer, and find a way to delight them with your work.
After you’ve flipped your perspective and taken the view of those around you, start testing. New perspectives on a problem or process can give you lots of ideas about how to improve things or move the needle in terms of sales or growth, but until you try some of those ideas you will never know which is the best or right choice. Without the feedback you get from trying out your ideas, you can’t have enough data to move forward. Don’t get stuck analyzing all of your options without testing at least some of them first. If testing isn’t really feasible with your specific situation, make sure and talk to a number of different people about your ideas and options.
I used to think I wasn’t creative because I wasn’t an artist or musician. That was creativity to me.
Nevermind that I spent a significant part of my childhood with an imaginary friend named Anderson, or that my best friend and I played “bank” where we created money, checks, and a teller line and we waited on pretend customers, or that in middle school a friend and I developed a man’s entire life story just for fun. I never claimed to be an ordinary child, clearly.
Those things, among many other random things I did, required a lot of imagination and creativity. But at no point did I look at my life and see creativity. I mostly saw a weird kid, but let’s not get into my self-perception issues.
Now I know that creativity is about so, so, so much more than just making art or music. Any new idea about anything is creative.
One of the definitions of creativity is: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.
That’s a lot. And it sounds kind of daunting. But it really isn’t.
We transcend traditional patterns of life every single day. We take new routes to work when accidents leave traffic at a standstill. We make up dinner with just the food in our fridge. We find some sort of tool, anything really, that will get the broken cork out of the neck of the wine bottle. That is all creativity. (It’s also problem solving, but we’ll talk about that later.)
Think about all of the things you have done today that wasn’t just your same old routine. Creativity! Bam!
Don’t be like I used to be, not seeing your own creativity and imaginative power. It’s all around you, if you just realize it.
So tell me, how were you creative today? Leave a comment and let me know.
We are hosting our first ever giveaway here at Flipside Thinker! Things have been rocking and rolling for us, and we want to celebrate with YOU! Because you are the reason we are thriving.
We have partnered with some great companies and people to bring you some amazing products and services that will help you accelerate your success! Foster your creativity, learn more about yourself, and generate ideas with this bundle.
We want you to be massively successful! That is why we are here!
One Grand Prize Package valued at over $300 – it’s a doozey!
In addition, the first 400 people that enter the contest will get a free code to take the Fascination Advantage Assessment, courtesy of Sally Hogshead.
Look at all the awesome stuff one lucky winner will receive:
1. Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko (A signed copy) – from Michael Michalko ($20)
Thinkertoys is an amazing resource for learning tools and techniques to generate ideas and spark your creativity. The creative thinking tools in this book can help you tackle any type of problem and generate lots of new ideas. Michael Michalko has graciously autographed this copy for the winner! You can find him on Twitter, or on his website, CreativeThinking.Net
2. Conjure Your Creativity Tip Cards – from Unstuck ($25)
The Unstuck Conjure Your Creativity card deck is a handy, reusable resource to help you think through issues or problems that you are stuck on. There are 30 cards with different sticking points and suggestions for how to overcome and move past them. Find out more at Unstuck.com or follow Unstuck on Twitter.
3. Getting Things Done: The art of stress-free productivity by David Allen ($12)
The brand new 2015 edition of one of the most influential business books since its original publication 15 years ago. You get the updated edition of the original “manual” for GTD with detailed overviews, examples and coaching advice to get your system up and running. This revised 2015 edition also contains new material on the rise of digital technology in our always-on world, and recent cognitive science research that validates the GTD methodology.Check out the book here or follow GTD on Twitter.
4. A $50 Magazines.com gift card – from Magazines.com ($50)
Expanding your knowledge outside of your industry or specialty is a great way to foster your creativity. The broader your information base, the more likely you are to make seemingly random connections which often turn out to be the basis for revolutionary ideas. Magazines.com donated this gift card so you can get a couple of different magazines to expand your horizons. Check out Magazines.com website or follow them on Twitter.
5. How to Fascinate Assessment and How the World Sees You Book – Sally Hogshead ($30)
Discover how the world sees you with your Fascination Advantage. This test will give you your top two personality advantages and tell you how you can use them to excel by becoming more of who you are. Along with a copy of Sally Hogshead’s latest book “How the World Sees You” you will learn to recognize your own value and use it to impress and influence those around you. Learn more about the Fascination Advantage and Sally Hogshead at howtofascinate.com and follow Sally on Twitter.
6. Voice Technique for Video, Webinar and Podcast Success Online Course – from Tracy Goodwin ($127)
Voice improvement training is a set of techniques that gives you a more engaging and interesting voice. In this course, you will learn techniques that you can apply immediately to presentations to captivate your audience. Tracy Goodwin is known around the globe as the Red Sweater Lady for her extensive collection of communication and voice training videos. With over 20 plus years’ experience in voice, on camera and communication training, she is a master of her game. Tracy has trained clients all over the world from professional actors to news personalities to C-Suite Executives. She can teach you how to Captivate the Room by creating and delivering engaging content in a captivating and persuasive way. Tracy’s methods are guaranteed to work and have been perfected over the years through education, training and consulting. See all of Tracy’s offerings on her website TheRedSweaterLady.com and connect with her on Twitter.
7. Work it Out: Creativity in Problem Solving E-Mail course – from Flipside Thinker ($37)
The highly anticipated course offering from Flipside Thinker. Get 15 daily emails that will boost your creativity, walk you step by step through the problem solving process, and propel you to success. More course bonuses to be announced during the launch in April.Learn more here.
8. Idea and Creativity Journaling – from Flipside Thinker ($20)
A 3 pack of Moleskine Cahier Journals and ten colored Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens to record your ideas and creative sparks as they happen.
There could be more added as we go along, you just never know!
A big, huge, giant thank you to those that have contributed and good luck to all the entrants!
Disclaimer: Giveaway is open to US residents only, void where prohibited. The contest ends 04/15/2015. The winner must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours of being chosen otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen. Prizes will be shipped or sent electronically once the winner’s mailing address is received. Entering your email in the giveaway provides agreement to be subscribed to Flipside Thinker email updates. If you are not interested in our updates, please do not enter the giveaway. Please do not mark us as spam, when we’re clearly NOT spam. It’s not nice. And you are a nice person.