Creativity isn’t just for artists.
Anything you do that generates ideas to solve a problem is creative.
Creativity is both trainable and testable. The quick below exercise will help you test and train your own.
Here’s the problem:
Your neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking. You’ve talked to him, and he refuses to do anything. How can you get the dog to shut up?
Grab a piece of paper and scribble down as many ideas as you can. 2 minutes. No peeking. Go.
Are basically infinite. People come up with all sorts of wacky things, because we all have a different perspective.
Here are some solutions, both everyday and zany:
- give the dog treats to befriend it
- hold an intervention in the living room
- murder the dog with a pitchfork
- buy a bear to scare the dog away
- convince the neighbour their house is haunted, so they move out!
Notice how many of these are funny and violent and silly. If you kept evaluating ideas as you went along, you would have slowed yourself down.
We hold ourselves back from greater creativity by being “practical”, aka critical of our own ideas. Most of us get into the critical phase too early.
That won’t work. But how could I do X? That’s weird. That’s expensive.
These are poison to creativity. Create first; judge afterwards.
The dog test didn’t care about the practicality of your solutions. It cared about how many you could think of — the wilder they were, the more you could have.
Be a child in a sandbox. Combine unlikely things. Splosh colours together. Ask yourself not “Wouldn’t this be hard?”, but “Wouldn’t this be cool?”.
The road to novel solutions lies through weird ideas.
Your most innovative ideas require a lack of early inner judgement to reach them.
You are creative. Get out of your own way.