Sparks For Creativity

A Universe Of Possibilitiesidea

I am so frustrated when I hear people describe themselves as not creative. If you consider it, each sentence we utter is a creative act. In fact, every problem, every product and every moment in our lives is an opportunity for creativity.

I just picked up a book from Tina Seelig, InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, and she said something that really resonated with me: "Creativity is an endless resource, and we can tap into it at any time."

Innovation Enginemodel

Seelig offers a new creativity model, that she calls the "Innovation Engine," to explain how ingenuity is generated and fostered. Chapter-by-chapter she explains specific tools, techniques and conditions that together enhance creativity in individuals, teams and organizations.

Her approach to unlocking creativity is a holistic one. Her model has six parts – three that come from inside of you (knowledge, imagination and attitude) and three that are generated by the environment in which you live (culture, resources and habitat).

"These are not isolated factors. You have to look at them in concert," Seelig said.

Knowledge, imagination and attitude overlap and are internal because they reside in the mind. Knowledge is the toolbox for your imagination; your imagination is the catalyst for the transformation of your knowledge into new ideas; and your attitude provides you with the drive needed to push through difficult problems.

On the other side, culture, habitat, and resources are of the outside world. Culture, habitat, and resources influence the process by which imagination catalyzes the transformation of knowledge into ideas. Thus the individual and the environment are interdependent in interesting and non-obvious ways and essential for creative problem solving. 

Inventive Solutions

Seelig said both imagination and innovation can be fostered in a few simple ways.

Look at things from a new perspective. According to Seelig, we often allow our imagination to dwindle as we age. One of the way we do that, is by asking ourself constraining questions such as: 5 +5 = ?

“There is only one right answer. Really creative people don’t look at the world like this. They look at problems through different lenses and they reframe the problem,” said Seelig. Instead, creative people ask questions like this:  ? + ? = 10

Reframing the question this way, opens up the parameters and allows for an infinite number of inventive answers. 

Rethinking of failure as research. Even under pressure, you must not be afraid of failure, said Seelig. You can always gain knowledge from unexpected results. This way you won't won't fear being innovative, just in case things don't come out the way they are expected to. 

"We all have creativity within us," Seelig argues, "and there are endless opportunities to use it."

 Watch this TedX talk by Tina Seelig on unlocking creativity. Seelig will take you through her innovation model and the various components needed for creativity.tina