Monday, August 10, 2009

Corporate Creativity

I am always curious about people who create. Sometimes people who write about creativity aren't particularly creative themselves. Not so in this case.
I have featured Gaia and Andrew Grant in recent blogs so I emailed Andrew and asked him about his personal creativity. This was his reply.

Wayne: In what ways does your creativity get expressed?
Andrew: Designing programs to help people. There is nothing more exciting than to design a program (leadership, team or personal improvement) and then see how it can change people’s lives.

Wayne: Was there a point in your life when you recognised that you were creative?
Andrew: No one AHA! moment, just ongoing reinforcement from those around me to recognise and use my talent. I held onto creativity at school but the last few years were hard as school only rewards correct not creative answers. One example of this was the subject English which I failed at high school (as it was very much rote learning) but got high distinctions all through Uni (as it was about creating ideas). If I had not been rewarded at uni with these marks I may have never started writing the educational programs I do now.

Wayne: How would you describe your creative process?
Andrew: For corporate work it’s not good enough to just get people to finger paint or look at the clouds. Many corporate people have a left brain bias or a mix, so this needs to be acknowledged and used. They need to see the value of using both sides of the brain in the creative process. So I have had to think creatively to come up with a workable creativity and innovation models and experiential learning activities that engage both sides of the brains. For example, we have developed one exercise called ‘The Chocolate Factory’ that could be seen as a very left brain cross functional process redesign exercise - it borders on six sigma - but what we do is play the game twice with the second round making sure that the participants use creative thinking to come up with significant breakthroughs in redesign (not just incremental steps) and show how this can improve the process by over 200%. This excites the more analytical thinkers and shows them the value of a creative process.

Wayne: What suggestions / tips do you have for others who want to explore their creativity?
Andrew: Look for it. Be aware of it. Know when you are using it or need to use it. Surround yourself with creative people and learn about and practice skills and techniques to develop it. There are great books and seminars etc so there’s no excuse.

Wayne: Do you have any ‘habits’ associated with your creative expression? e.g. a certain place to create, conditions when you are most creative, states of mind, special / favourite tools / equipment / media, any rituals?
Andrew: My creative thinking can come when I’m focused at work - for example when I’m giving a keynote talk or seminar my mind is so focused that ideas that I may have read about connect with the principles I’m trying to teach, and they work together to make a very strong point. It can also come out playing sport like surfing, when I am away from the everyday hassles and stresses BUT I don’t believe that you have to climb a mountain to get inspired. I do believe, however, that doing mundane tedious work that taxes your brain enough to block creative ideas without opportunities for relief or release can be a big killer.

More about Andrew and his offerings at

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