Creativity for the Logical Ones
The challenge is that many managers, even those in creative roles, are logical by nature. They are the left brainers. In their minds, creativity is a special gift belonging to the few crazy ones, the so called right brainers. In order to involve these people more in the creative process, it helps to provide some structured, left-brained logic to the process itself. It is also important to highlight points within the creative process where linear thinking is required, and where the Logical Ones have a clear role to play.
Step 1 – Select the issue that requires fresh thinking:
Before beginning the process of generating and developing possible solutions, it is important to step back, re-visit the issue or the challenge and define it as tightly and concretely as possible. “If I had one hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions”. Einstein’s quote emphasises the need for an analytical, left-brained approach up front to ensure that the right issue is being resolved. High involvement from the Logical Ones is needed here.
Step 2 – Stimulate thinking around the issue:
This is probably the most right-brained part of the creative process and one where left-brained individuals often feel least comfortable. One creative technique that encourages participation from the logically inclined is to get them to think how a similar problem has been resolved in another world by another brand outside the category. In one sense, you are simply ‘stealing’ what has been developed elsewhere and using this for the resolution of your own problem. The logic of the approach makes it left-brain friendly.
Step 3 – Spot nuggets with potential:
Having generated stimulus in the previous step, it is now time to make connections between different pieces of data to identify the seeds of a powerful idea. This is the equivalent of a detective looking at all the evidence in an incident room to piece together a hypothesis for ‘who did it’! If you are a rationally minded person, you will often feel more comfortable with connecting the dots as you are dealing with the hard and tangible facts generated in step 2.
Step 4 – Sculpting the nuggets to develop ideas:
Once nuggets with potential have been generated in step 3, it is time to build these in to ideas and concepts that can be communicated and expressed more easily with internal and external audiences. Some people are naturally good at this, others not, but this step, requiring the precision skills of an architect and a builder, is not the sole domain of the right-brainer!
Step 5 – Selecting winning ideas:
The preserve of the left-brained brigade! This is the time to use a number of objective criteria (with some subjective judgment thrown in) to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the developed ideas in the previous step. Even if your participation in the creative process as a logically minded individual has been limited to date, this is your time to shine!
So, in summary, it is important to understand two things. Firstly, you can make the creative process more accessible to creatively unconfident left brainers by providing some logic around flow and direction. Secondly, at certain stages in the process, a more rational mind set is required in any case. Creativity cannot and should not be considered the domain of the wild and whacky ones alone!