Back in 2010 we wrote a blog on How to help people to have good ideas.
In this article we summarised some of the key challenges that can get in the way of creative endeavour. These challenges were identified as: the physical environment, personal attitude towards creativity and organisational culture.
In light of our more recent work and interest in the intersection of design thinking and coaching for potential, we are reminded of how enjoyable and productive creative thinking can be for those willing to spend time exercising their creative muscles. Not only is creative thinking an integral aspect of the ideation phase of design thinking but we are also finding it is a key aspect in our coaching work to help shift a person’s perspective. But what gets in the way of a person or team developing their creative capacity?
“If you think you can or think you can’t – you are right” – a quote attributed to Henry Ford that unfortunately reinforces how individuals often think about their creative capacity. Sadly, many people view the capacity for creativity as polar opposites taking one of these stances – I am creative or I am not creative. Dr Carol Dwek’s book, Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential suggests that our mindset plays a critical part in the capacity to develop, learn and grow. She describes how people with a fixed mindset believe that innate capacity and talent is the reason people achieve a level of attainment, which they believe is inherently fixed and any judgement on their performance is viewed as detrimental. However, those with a growth mindset believe their level of attainment is due to effort, practice and perseverance, they welcome feedback and embrace failure as part of the learning process. The good news is that according to Dwek, mindsets can be changed.
So, to promote the benefits of developing a growth mindset and the benefits it brings to the creative process come and join us to celebrate creativity and innovation week in April 2021. You might just learn something and have some fun too!
Whichever problem-solving process you use, data plays an important role. As we know only too well, there is a wealth of data that are willingly being shared to inform people about how decisions regarding the Coronavirus situation are being made. But how valid are these data? This article highlights the issue that over-reliance on technology, data and algorithms is not always helpful.
One comment from the article suggests a need for a range of data to support problem-solving and decision-making:
“Our argument is simply that this logic, and these ideas, should be dropped. Indeed, a succession of recent failures and fiascoes has only underlined the paucity of the intellectual thinking behind this agenda as well as its lack of emotional intelligence”.
Design Thinking begins with the need to collect valid and reliable data about the people who are experiencing the issue and the circumstances that they engage with the issue, hence the need for design thinkers to draw on their skills of empathy; a key element of the emotional intelligence concept. Of course, currently it is difficult to immerse ourselves in the issues and situations of those people for whom we are trying to help but we are human beings after all and that is a good starting point. Self and Other awareness as well as empathic imagination could also help. However, design thinking is an inclusive, collaborative and co-creative process so with these strategies in mind any solution that is generated can be tested out in the early stages through prototypes.
Our event on 8 December creates a space for all the above to be experienced. We are using the context of reigniting individual passion and purpose, so why not come and give it a try – you might re-discover something joyful as well as learn about design thinking?
In March 2018 I wrote a blog on the 7 thoughts to support innovation, click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-thoughts-to-support-innovation/ with a slight, tongue-in-cheek nod to and attributed to the famous 5-boys chocolate advertisement of the early 1900’s
Design Thinking is a problem-solving process aimed at solving ill-defined, wicked problems, problems that have many possible solutions. Design thinking offers a structured approach to thinking and action and facilitates logical, creative and innovative thinking. Lately it has occurred to me that to be an effective problem-solving and embrace the process of design thinking is not enough, we need to approach our problem-solving activities with a particular frame of mind, something that I am calling a Design Thinking Mindset.
I thought it might be useful to revisit the seven thoughts to support innovation and reflect on whether they are still relevant and in particular do they offer any insight into how to go about developing a design thinking mindset. In this blog I will revisit the first thought – Inspiration. I suggested that inspiration is connected to being able to trust your intuition and intuition is inextricably linked to imagination. The quote I used to exemplify this was:
‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere.’ Albert Einstein
Inspiration arguably runs through any aspect of the design thinking process. As a facilitator of design thinking I might need to inspire the people I am working with to help them to get onboard with the process or idea of the moment. Then there may be times when I need to look deep within myself and tap into my internal reservoir in order to inspire my own creative capacity.
My view why I think design thinkers need to show and to cultivate the capacity to inspire is that the wicked problems are described as ill-defined and ambiguous and they often exist within uncertain conditions; inspiration may be something that can provide a degree of certainty to the people and to the problem itself. Something worth reflecting on further.
My suggestion to develop your inspirational qualities is to cultivate your intuition, know it, acknowledge it, listen to it (it may not always be right!) and be courageous to act on it.
Dr Gill Stevens
In December 2017 we wrote a blog on what makes good teamwork. Click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-steps-to-team-work/
Since that time the world has changed in ways that we would never have imagined. Our business offering has changed too in that it is more focused and in line with what we believe people and businesses need to live and work harmoniously and productively. We have embraced a design thinking approach to all that we do and principles that underpin our work and life are those that very much underpin our approach to coaching and problem-solving.
Our ‘7 steps to team work’ provided a snapshot of what effective team work looks like, now we propose an additional dimension to the what, in terms of who makes an effective team?
In our design thinking work we know that diverse, multi-functional teams produce richer outputs, however, this diversity can also produce potential conflict. People with different views of the world will undoubtedly have different ideas and opinions and when discussed and viewed positively can help teams to make significant breakthroughs.
In reflecting on team diversity, an interesting perspective to consider is one that discourages us to look at people as a stereotype, especially a generational stereotype. Social Psychologist, Professor Leah Georges suggests that generations do not actually exist, it’s a construct that enables us to compartmentalise people and allows people to act in ways that are widely promoted and assumed about that group and actually people of different ages are more similar than different in their needs and motivational drives. https://www.ted.com/talks/leah_georges_how_generational_stereotypes_hold_us_back_at_work
So how does this view help us when assembling a team for a design thinking Sprint? Perhaps we could start by being courageous to view people as unique individuals. Georges talks about a person’s “onlyness” and it would be helpful if we aim to understand them in an empathetic way and the contribution they have to offer, irrespective of their age or whatever stereotype we want to categorise them as.
What stories can you share that will highlight and help to breakdown stereotype barriers and encourage more diversity of ideas, behaviour and action in teamwork?
Let’s start a conversation.
Dr Gill Stevens
Taking inspiration from such an amazing collaborative effort between academia, researchers, formula 1 engineers and no doubt others who deserve a mention, this effort needs to be celebrated and praised and held up as a role model for multi-functional teamworking and output.