The Lies of Creativity

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The Lies of Creativity

The Myth of Creativity

The Idea:  Legendary former Intel CEO Andy Grove once shared that inflection points are when the “fundamentals of a business are about to change.” And they normally are unannounced and sneak up on an organization. Have you ever been ambushed by a competitor’s act of creativity?

Rita Gunther McGrath, a strategic management scholar and professor of management at the Columbia Business School believes, “Today the dynamics of competitive advantage have shifted once more. Companies are achieving advantage through access to assets rather than ownership of them.” We all must learn to connect dots, uncover new alliances and become comfortable stating “I don’t know.” Creativity doesn’t just happen by chance. Humility, curiosity, and silence all aid in birthing innovation and minimizing competitive threats.


Are You Too Headstrong?

Adam Grant reminds us that solution-only thinking creates “a culture of advocacy instead of one of inquiry,” where each person comes into the situation locked into their way of solving the problem and lobbies hard for that solution, rather than considering multiple perspectives.

When you’re trying to come up with a creative solution to a problem, you might be tempted to buckle down and focus until you solve it. But recent research shows that taking breaks at regular intervals leads to better outcomes. We tend to come up with redundant ideas when we don’t take regular breaks.

Adapted from “To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks,” by Jackson G. Lu, Modupe Akinola, and Malia Mason

Do You Embrace Solitude?

The act of daydreaming is an act of creativity. Too much pressure, excessive thinking, or a heavy workload depletes us all. The research shows that if you want to increase your creativity you must value daydreaming, moments of reflection, and solitude.

Author and lecturer Susan Cain reminds us in her bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that we live in a world biased towards extroversion. But creativity often requires a unique blend of collaboration and solitude, meaning extroversion is never an absolute answer. The literature shows that the most creative people are adept at exchanging and advancing ideas with others, while also engaging in quiet time. The mystics got it right; you must be willing to wander in the desert to birth new discoveries.

Embrace Structure

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and Making It All Work states that creativity does not require discipline if we have allowed the time for it. Creativity comes naturally when we have cleared the way for it by having a trusted system in place for our projects, calendars, and commitments. We’ve made room to tap into our creative intelligence in an organic way.

Most of the creative people I work with design a plan to be creative. It doesn’t just happen – they create an atmosphere for creativity to show up. They spend a lot of time upfront pondering, reading outside of their field of study, connecting dots, and talking with people who challenge their views. They are creative because they value creativity and new ideas.

It is a myth that creativity is for the select few. We all have the potential to uncover new discoveries in the strangest places and at the most unpredictable times.


“Solitude is creativity’s best friend, and solitude is refreshment for our souls.”
Source: Naomi Judd


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