Linda Gorchels blogs

Creativity and Innovation

The War of Art: Conquering Creative Resistance

The War of Art book review

I recently came across a book that challenged me a bit as a writer. It’s not new (the first copyright – the version I read – is 2002).  But I found it relevant in my current efforts to spark my own creativity in fiction writing. After all, I spent most of my career in more analytical, “business-friendly” pursuits. The book is “The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle” by Steven Pressfield.

I don’t recall how I heard about this book. And it took me a while to get around to reading it. I skimmed through the book quickly. The main theme I picked up was that creative people use a host of excuses to forestall progress (a process he refers to as Resistance.) Ho, hum.… Read the rest

The Creative Process: It’s More than Games

The creative process is not a singular flash of insight. It doesn’t come simply from throwing Nerf balls around the room. Or playing with Duplo blocks and pipe cleaners. There’s more to it than that. While there is no single “best-practice” approach to creativity, there are some typical components. And that’s true even for diverse disciplines.

When creativity is discussed from the perspective of the arts, it usually has a relatively individualistic, free-flowing aura. When it is applied to business, it is more commonly associated with innovation and the development of tangible (and profitable) value. Yet both stem from several similarities in general approach.

Here are the steps of creativity. Although I listed them sequentially, the actual process is more iterative than step-by-step.… Read the rest

I Have a Great Idea … Don’t I?

Creative ideas sprout up all the time. Not all are brilliant. How can you make sure you have a “GREAT idea”?

Discipline. Research. Judgment. And a tough skin.

As creativity morphs into innovation, the focus shifts from creation to evaluation. Think differently. Here’s a tool to get you started on your great idea.

Six Thinking Hats

It’s hard for people to critique their own ideas. And people get stuck in their own habitual thinking styles. If you’re optimistic, you evaluate from that mindset. If your tendency is to be risk-averse, you approach judgment from that perspective. It takes a conscious act of will to consider an idea from multiple perspectives.

That’s where Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats comes in. Similar to the sorting hats in Harry Potter (which assigned new students to one of four school House), de Bono’s hats separate questions by mindset.… Read the rest

Organizational Creativity: Motivational Blueprint

Creativity comes in many shapes and sizes. That’s true for individuals AND organizations. But individual creativity can exist without an organization.

The reverse is not true.

Organizations are not inherently creative. They rely on individuals for original ideas. In fact, “organizational creativity” is almost an oxymoron.

I said almost.

While organizations are not creative per se, they set a stage. They provide the environment (culture and blueprints) that either enable or stifle it.  I’ll dive into culture in a separate post. Here I’ll focus on a basic motivational blueprint: Teresa Amabile’s Componential Theory of Creativity.

Componential Theory of Creativity

Amabile's Componential Theory of Creativity

According to Amabile’s model, creativity relies on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic refers to drivers inside each of us. These are the circles in the Venn diagram.… Read the rest

Three Ways to Kick-start Creativity on Demand

It’s hard to be creative on demand. Yet people are expected to do it all the time. Deadlines force it. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to kick-start creativity on demand.

Deadlines move creativity from ideas to action.”

Linda Gorchels

Templates

Yes, there are templates (of sorts) for creativity. Writers use them all the time. Larry Brooks, in Story Engineering, for example, describes a template with four contextual parts of a novel. Part 1 is the setup, Part 2 covers the hero being confronted with a problem, Part 3 is the hero’s attack on the problem, and Part 4 is the resolution. Starting with a framework gives creativity a boost.

Mystery writers apply similar templates for setting up the crime, the investigations, the clues and red herrings, and the final resolution.… Read the rest

Creativity Killers and Defenders

We’re faced with a slew of creativity killers every day—many of our own making. Here are some of the most common ones.

Procrastination as a Creativity Killer

How often do you have great ideas you’ll get to “someday”—the infamous “tomorrow?” But then tomorrow never comes.

The hardest part of creativity is getting started. You will never get to all those books you’ve stacked, all those articles you intend to read, all those half-started projects—yet they provide a frequent excuse for procrastination. Creative people often feel they are pulled in many directions, with little chance of finishing anything. Sometimes it’s due to perfectionism. Other times it’s simply a defense mechanism. But nothing is going to change unless you change the way you think.… Read the rest

Myths and Realities about Creativity

People have a lot of different beliefs about creativity. And some are just plain myths. Here are some common myths and realities about creativity.

The Right-Brain Myth

Which side of the brain is responsible for creativity? If you said the right-side, you get partial credit.  For decades the right-brain meme has dominated articles on creativity. Creative people (thought generators) were often described as right-brained. Analytical people (logic-driven) were called left-brained.

It’s true that the two hemispheres of the brain function differently. And it’s also true that the spontaneous processing of those Aha! Insights involves more of the right hemisphere. This is especially true for emotional processing. But these insights represent just one type of creativity. And it doesn’t mean that ONLY one side of the brain was involved.… Read the rest

Yes, You Can Be Creative

Creativity is the hot topic of 2019. Scan almost any magazine within the past six months, and chances are you will find articles on creativity. Some are fluffy click bait, but many offer decent tips on improving your creativity.

Most provide tips on becoming more creative. Is that even possible?

50 Shades of Creativity

Yes, it’s possible. There are at least 50 shades of creativity. It is NOT a one-size-fits-all concept. And your DNA doesn’t hold you captive.

Scott Barry Kaufman raised an interesting point in his Psychology Today article,  Genius, Genes, and Gusto: How Passions Find You.  A person’s natural endowment may explain between 22 and 36 percent of the differences in creative achievement in the arts and sciences.… Read the rest

Spark up your creativity: Traits of creative people

 

Most people say they want to be more creative. They want to build more traits of creativity. But what does that mean? That they want to be the next Steve Jobs? Or that they want to relax into an imaginative hobby?

Does it mean they want to spend more time alone, thinking prolific thoughts?  Or that they want to charge into stimulating conversations with diverse thinkers?

Hmm … (Pause to think prolific thoughts).

What is creativity?

So what is creativity? Here are a few definitions.

  • Originality, progressiveness or imagination
  • The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns
  • A mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside of the box

From these definitions it’s clear that creativity links to individuality. But there are other perspectives.… Read the rest

Amplify your creative curiosity

(This is the 2nd of a 9-part series on creativity traits.)

Curious: passionate for fresh knowledge; desiring to learn new things
Resilient: capable of overcoming setbacks; able to take risks; ambitious
Evaluative: willing to experiment and evolve your creativity beyond the idea stage
Autonomous: independent; norm-doubting
Tuned in: open and alert to the world around you; highly perceptive
Introspective: driven by innate (intrinsic) rewards; self-accepting
Visionary: having dreams and aspirations; original thinking
Energetic: adept at managing and recharging your energy Creative curiosity

Be forever curious

We are surrounded by new ideas. In various stages of formation. All the time.

But we might not be curious enough to even notice them. Don’t lose your sense of curiosity.… Read the rest