Idea Management

    Have You Made the Creative Choice?

    GreggFraleyCasualv2smHave you made the Creative Choice?

    There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — there’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices, etc. Some of this literature is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also quite interesting. Finally there is also a good deal of useless, boring drivel that only reinforces unhelpful mythology about creativity. If you intend to be more creative and to use that capacity to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments, but don’t get lost in all the words, don’t forget this:

    Creativity, the wellspring of innovation, starts with something very simple — a choice.

    Creativity is not something that happens to you. Or doesn’t happen to you! It may feel that way at times when your creativity doesn’t seem to be present. People over many years have bemoaned how elusive creativity seems to be, and term it a muse, an angel, a gift from God, etc. Creativity is indeed connected to spirituality. In my view it is part of the soul. So, I understand why people would connect it to things divine. And I understand it’s elusive nature, I don’t deny that.

    And…

    Creativity is Not a Muse, it’s a Choice.

    Thinking of creativity as a muse is like giving away the key to your own mind. When you make an active choice to be creative, your life changes. You open the door to your own creativity, you take back that idea engine between your ears. When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say “I’m creative” you’re choosing a path, and, you’re telling your brain how to behave. Good things flow from that choice. When you make that creative choice, creativity, over time, becomes something that’s part of your being, your personality, how you think and act — all you do. When you integrate it into your life and mind, elusive creativity shows up more often and stays longer. You’ll notice that good ideas will pop into your head more often. Over time people will notice and start calling you creative.

    It can change your life, and for the better.

    If you question your creativity “am I creative?” or even worse, say, “I’m not creative” your brain will listen. It will believe that you aren’t interested in the ideas it’s processing for you, and, won’t give them to you. You will process challenges with no energy or momentum. And, you’ll be living life tentatively, with fear, and with no confidence — and that’s no way to live. If creativity is a muse, you’ll have told it to go somewhere else. Belief in your own creativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy — as is the opposite belief! 

    If you think this way now, that you are not creative, remember: creativity is not just about artistic talent, at its root creativity is best defined as the human capability of solving problems. If you’ve ever solved a problem, you are creative. Humans are a successful animal because we are so adaptable. Problem solving is part of every human being’s chemistry.

    Creativity defined as artistic self-expression is one of the dominant myths about creativity. Many people believe that if they have no artistic talent they are not creative. This is just not so — but the belief inhibits. Another myth is the idea you need to be Einstein level brilliant. Not so, a high IQ is helpful but average people are also creative. Average  people can have amazing ideas. Again the belief that you must have a high IQ is inhibiting to more creative effectiveness. Toss that notion out!

    So, young people, old people — creative people — I urge you to make the active choice. Say it out loud. Write it down in your idea notebook (which you have with you at all times). Pick a time, every day, to remind yourself of your choice. Maybe it’s the morning mirror, maybe it’s an oak tree you pass, maybe it’s the door to your home, maybe it’s the first taste of coffee or tea. That’s your reminder moment, your re-choice moment. Pick your moment now.

    Try this for a month and see the difference in your creative results. I’d wish you luck, but when you make this choice you no longer need it. I’ll just say — happy trails to you, until we meet again.

    PS: If you want to start into more advanced practice, you might consider my book – Jack’s Notebook, a business novel about creative problem solving.

    PPS: If you liked this post or found it interesting, note that this concept is also a keynote speech I’ve given many times to corporate groups and associations, see: The Creative Choice.

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    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation?

    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation? Underway? Running like a Swiss Watch? Missing in Action? Innovation Peeps: The year is nearly half over. Okay, in a month it will be officially half over. I’m doing this with seven months left this year so that you might get a running start on an innovation initiative — an “FEI Cycle” that you can complete by year end. FEI stands for Front-End-of-Innovation. This is the perfect time to take a half-year checkpoint on your innovation efforts because there is still time to get some significant work done in 2014. On July 1, you’ll have six months left to get something done, or, complete something already underway. Consider the next thirty days your

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    Training is an Innovation Accelerant

    Creativity and innovation training is a highly effective accelerant for business results. When I step into a room to facilitate an innovation, strategy, or idea generation session I nearly always find a great deal of energy. What I also often find is inexperience — in the kind of thinking necessary to innovate. Successful managers and leaders are promoted up the ladder because of their great analytical thinking skills. Day to day, operationally, that’s what’s called for and that’s what’s rewarded. The bad news is the more imaginative and divergent thinking required at the front end of innovation is rarely used and almost never rewarded. That’s why those sessions often start with a great deal of pizazz but fade into lethargy

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    Ten Ideas for Using Innovation Film Clips

    I’ve written an article on Innovation in movies – Inspiring Innovation Films: a Top Ten List.  It’s been published on the Innovation Excellence portal — I’d be most grateful if you’d read it and comment over there. Today’s post is a value add to that article with some ideas on how to use creativity and innovation clips in projects and meetings. If you’re an innovation educator, manager, or team leader you may want to consider using clips as training and/or stimulus tools. I’m a big one for keeping things entertaining no matter what you’re doing. Movie clips are a great way to do that. Here are Ten Ideas on how to integrate film clips into an innovation project: Send out a

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    Ideational Speaker, Gregg Fraley

    I do keynotes on creativity and innovation topics — and this is not something I hide. It’s all over my website and I do my best to promote my speaking on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and in my blog postings. So, it’s not unusual for me to be confronted — at a cocktail party or a business meeting — with the comment: So you’re a “Motivational Speaker.” It’s a fair observation, but it’s really…inexact when it comes to describing what I actually do. It’s not Wrong, but there’s more to my speaking than motivation. My talks are about ideas, so really, I’m an Ideational Speaker.  Yes, I make an effort to motivate people to be more creative and innovative. So, I

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    KILN Continues to Innovate Innovation Services

    I’m off to the FEI show (Front End of Innovation) in Boston this week. In my view it’s the most serious innovation conference in the world, and the USA edition features speakers and participants from a who’s who of international organizations. I’m particularly interested in hearing Denise Morrison CEO of Campbell Soup about their use of culture in the innovation process, and also Nelson Farris of Nike about corporate storytelling. It will be great to catch up with Idea Management System vendors like CogniStreamer, and innovation service firms like Ideas To Go and Maddock Douglas. They’re always doing something new. I’m glad the show is in Boston. After the recent troubles it feels appropriate that a conference dedicated to positive change is

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    Creative Resilience: Working with the Clay of Opportunity

    Guerilla Innovation Chapter 10 In the previous post/chapter of Guerilla Innovation we talked about “amping ideas.” I reviewed two tools for doing so. They’re good tools. And…there’s more to it than those techniques. Idea amping is a way of life for an entrepreneur — and especially so for a small business one. Nobody will do the hard work of making something special for you. Something in our culture encourages you to quit when things become unreasonable. Yet, entrepreneurship is in many ways being unreasonable with yourself — and accepting the lemons people give you and making lemonade. Being an entrepreneur is a contrarian state. Unreasonable, in the sense that you go beyond what reason or logic would dictate to you is

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    Notebooking is Innovation Viagra

    Guerilla Innovation Chapter Five Notebooking is Innovation Viagra What do Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Jack Kerouac, Beatrix Potter, Madame Curie, and Twyla Tharp all have in common? They all do Idea Notebooks. Call the behavior Notebooking. It’s not just ideas, it’s also questions, facts, observations — products of your curiosity. The big company version of Notebooking is an Idea Management System (IMS). Notebooks are the IMS for small business innovators. You have a Jungle Business Plan in your purse or man bag. It’s a short document that forms the outline of what you are doing in your quest for innovation. It’s a guide and you’re actively working it, evolving as the landscape in front of you changes. You use creative

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    Guerilla Innovation Strategies for Small Biz, An Introduction

    I participate when I can in a Twitter-based chat session, called Innochat. It happens every Thursday around noon USA eastern time. Most of the participants are innovation geeks like myself, consultants, writers, company innovation directors, professors, etc. — tune in, it’s interesting. Last Thursday we were chatting about innovation books. There are a ton of innovation books out there, some of which I’ve reviewed here. The insight that seemed to dawn on several of us at the same time is that there really isn’t a great innovation book geared for small business. Scott D. Anthony’s recent Little Black Book of Innovation comes close, but, forgive me for saying so, there is a certain “MBA-speak” (and just MBA ‘think’) even in

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    Scaffolding to Better Ideas #2 (Getting More From Virtual Idea Generation)

    Virtual idea generation is a growing trend in innovation. A trend I wholeheartedly endorse because it widens the cohort that normally contribute to “brainstorming” efforts. It gives people time to think and then post ideas as time allows in the nooks and crannies of their day-to-day jobs. It’s a great way to make idea generation and innovation part of the culture of an organization. It’s usually done with an Idea Management System (IMS) but in a pinch, it can be done with something like GoogleDocs or even email. Basically, you put out a focused innovation question and you ask for ideas. The virtual session could be as short as a few days, or as long as a few months. In

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