Barrier 3 Judgment

Another great barrier to creative thinking is judgment. Here I'm talking about judgment of others' ideas and judgment of our own ideas. Judging ideas during the exploration phase of the creative process is rarely beneficial. Most often, it is very destructive destructive to the idea in question, destructive to the creative process, and, perhaps most damaging, destructive to the individual whose idea is being judged. I see many ideas stifled while they are delicate little seedlings because we...

Barrier 4 Attachment

Another great block to creativity is attachment. Attachment to the old, resistance to change, and reluctance to even explore what might be a better way of doing things. A big part of attachment is unconscious. People don't say, I'm not going to come up with a new idea I'm going to attach myself to the old. On the contrary. They don't even consider that there might be a better way of doing things. Of course, all of this is interrelated. In my work with companies, I often find greater attachment...

Barrier 2 Fear of Looking Stupid

There's something else that we fear, sometimes even more than failure. And that is the fear of what they'll think about our idea. Our only consolation is that we are their they when they're fearing what others think. But this fear is nothing to be scoffed at it prevents people from taking a leap. I can see the apprehension around a new idea in the work I do with businesspeople every week. Often they look at a new idea, then think, Hmm, they're not going to like it. I might look like an idiot. I...

Doityourself Lobotomy

Open Your Mind to Greater Creative Thinking Adweek Books is designed to present interesting, insightful books for the general business reader and for professionals in the worlds of media, marketing, and advertising. These are innovative, creative books that address the challenges and opportunities of these industries, written by leaders in the business. Some of our writers head their own companies, others have worked their way up to the top of their field in large multinationals. But they share...

Creativity Is a Matter of Degree

Of course, you could make your thinking 90 different, or 10 or 17 4 different. And, yes, those might be fresh pathways of thought. But I like 180 Thinking because it's usually easier to determine the exact opposite of something than to find 10 of difference. The opposite of a soft bed is a hard bed. Easy. What's 10 from soft I'm not really sure. We were looking for a good promotional handle to introduce a new customer service idea for a major client, a supermarket chain down South. It was a...

Dimensionalizing Your New Creative Tools

In Parts I and II of this book we covered some of the fundamental aspects of creativity that I felt must be laid down as a foundation for the Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy thinking tools covered in Part III. Here in Part IV, we touch upon a potpourri of other subjects. I've found, as a creative thinking coach, when these topics are more clearly understood they help students of creativeness make better use of the tools the mechanics of the creative process to help them become more fully realized...

How to Get Over Your Fffear of Fffailure

There is probably nothing that holds people back from coming up with ideas more than, well (and I look over both shoulders as I say this), you know. . . fear. Well, would it comfort you to know that fear is actually a good sign when pursuing things creative It really comes down to fear of the unknown, because we're not sure this idea is good, that it will work, that others will like it. Well, if we were sure of those things, that would mean the idea has been done before, which may alleviate our...

Planning Is Overrated

A number of years ago I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal that talked about the dangers of adhering too closely to a plan. The point of the article was this If you stick slavishly to what you plan to do you might miss better opportunities that pop up along the way. In Bottom Up Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout speak of strategic planning as being overrated as well. These two gentlemen, who have guided the marketing world for years with best-sellers such as Positioning and Marketing...

Open Your Mind

So remember this, when you engage in the creative process and something comes up that you didn't intend, don't be so quick to discount it as being wrong. It just might be better than what you intended. And, to those in management, if your charges come back to you with something you didn't ask for, before you dismiss it out of hand, take a good look at this new idea. It just might be better than the idea you were looking for in the first place. It could be accidental genius riding a white horse...

Knowledge IS Power

But not in the touchy-feely 1980s sense of giving yourself permission to be your best self, although you certainly had better be doing that. True empowerment means giving yourself the understanding and resources to make major contributions to your industry, your company, and your self-worth. The great irony of the information age is that knowledge is not as powerful as it used to be. There was a time on this planet when only a few people had knowledge, and they...

Redefining the Acceptable Range

Every individual and every corporate culture, it seems, has an acceptable range of thinking, a spectrum of consideration, a comfort zone in which they evaluate ideas. The more open-minded people and more progressive companies obviously have broader acceptable ranges than their less open counterparts. This concept of acceptable range became apparent to me over the years when I first recognized a rather vague pattern of behavior following many of the brainstorming sessions I conducted. I also...

The 2Minute Creative IQ Test for Individuals

Learn about your creative strengths and weaknesses. Your results will help you prioritize your reading. (Take the test below or go to Creative IQ test, oh really you ask (with a little suspicion). By creative IQ I mean Imagination Quotient, the basic habits and practices that individuals exercise that lead to fresh ideas. This test, which I have developed over the years, has been taken by more than 100,000 people throughout the world. The gauges used are modeled after common thinking habits of...

The Consequences of a Bad Idea

It has often been said that a bad idea is like a virus. It lives. It grows. It sustains. It spreads. When you execute a bad idea it can be like taking the lid off that potent alien virus vial once it's out, there's little hope for those who come in contact with it. Bad ideas can spread even faster than good ideas. Their ramifications to the people involved can spread even faster in the ultracompetitive corporate world, where the grapevine often makes the news services look like the pony...

The Five Greatest Barriers to Creativity

A very big part of achieving your creative potential is increasing the things that lead to creative realization. Broadly speaking, those things include better understanding of this magical stuff and greater command of the actual thinking skills that lead to fresh ideas. For the most part, those two areas of concentration have been the focus of this book to this point. If you have filled out your Creative ForceField in the Appendix, you've discovered that increasing your creative effectiveness...

The Best Managers Want Fresh Thinking

Weekly, I hear top managers lamenting the quality of creative thinking they are getting from their people and the lack of inspired thinking they're seeing in the pool of potential employees. Happily for people like yourself who are reading this book, you'll soon discover a way to let go of what you know whenever you want to to ramp up your creative thinking ability, to make your mind a nimble, prolific creative idea generator to give yourself a wealth of the new currency that is driving...

Typical Rational Jobs

You typically find the less imaginative players from the Thinking hemisphere in the following job functions Rational dominants comprise the less imaginative thinking workforce, and for that reason, those who function only in the rational mode rarely stretch to create solutions beyond the known and are therefore often the lower-achieving members of the thinking strata. Most people in business are rational dominant.

Typical Career Laborer Jobs

Laborers are most often the less career-minded side of the doing workforce. These same doers who have upward mobility on their minds or who take jobs as a temporary means to an end are not permanent members of this typology (e.g., the student just out of school, the actor who waits on tables). Even the most creative minds rocket scientists, for example while mowing the lawn on their off-hours, enjoy periods in this no-brainer mode. Career laborers, those who function principally in the laborer...

What Kind of Thinker Do You Want to Be

Do you want to be the kind of thinker who comes up with the idea of a personal computer with a larger hard drive and faster processor just like everyone else was doing in the late 1990s Or do you want to be the kind of thinker who comes up with the idea that made iMac the top selling personal computer for two years running It wasn't faster. It wasn't bigger. It was blue. Excuse me, blueberry. Do you want to be a thinker who develops one more in a long line of shampoos that gives your hair...

Use Them or Lose Them

As soon as you can, use them. When you put down this book, even before you finish it, use any one of your new thinking tools to deal with whatever problem, challenge or opportunity that comes your way (which means anytime, anywhere, because everything is a creative opportunity). Have you ever taken a golf lesson, a tennis lesson, a piano lesson, or such If you don't use the newly honed skills immediately, what happens Let's say you wait a week before going to...

Great Minds dont Think Alike

In 1998, I was leading a brainstorming session for Sears in one of its major foreign markets. We were trying to come up with a millennium idea you know, a big PR, community-serving concept that would be executed within the millennium context. We had 35 people from the Sears marketing team and a few dozen assorted dummies assembled for brainstorming. (Maybe I need to explain this a bit more. We held the session in a very cool environment for brainstorming, a retail display warehouse with, among...

Salesmanship Long on Theatrics

One of my favorite theater tricks is something I performed years ago. This particular act was more pantomime than song and dance. We said nothing. In fact, a passive, static prop provided all the theater. This particular selling idea came directly out of the advertising idea that we were trying to sell, which came directly out of this product's primary point of difference. My ad agency worked for Lotus Development Corporation, and we were presenting an idea for...

Plot Your Creative Force Field

On the worksheet chart your creative forces, positive and negative. And don't hold back. This instrument is most valuable if filled out fully and frankly. Positive forces. List the forces that promote, encourage, allow, or even demand creativity for you. They are inner-driven (e.g., natural curiosity) and outer-driven (e.g., My boss expects it). Negative forces. List what discourages, limits, blocks, or prevents creativity for you. Again, these are things within you (e.g., my fear of failure)...

Why I Dont Use These Tools

These methods of thinking have become second nature to me. Because I have used them so regularly for so many years, I usually think this way without using them consciously. I almost always ask better questions, not always to the applause of my wife and others around me. I love looking at many possible solutions to any given problem, and I love thinking of lots of ideas very quickly, so 100 MPH Thinking as a formal tool is no longer necessary for me. I also love to find inspiration for ideas in...

Suitcase History of Intergalactic Thinking

I was sitting down with a high-level executive at one of the major luggage companies a few years ago. He asked me how Intergalactic Thinking might work on product design in his company. I asked him to go to the farming galaxy and name five things that had something to do with a farm. He named pig, fence, tractor, hoe, and silo. Since I knew the routine, as he said each word I simultaneously let the concepts push me in different places relative to luggage design. I kept the thought process to...

Book You Dont Have to Read

I have built a number of self-navigation elements into this book (as though you weren't going to do just as you pleased anyway). It started with the Creative IQ test you probably just took. After taking this quick little quiz, the order of the chapters in this book has already changed from a priority perspective, at least. (You already may have read half of this book. See what I mean ) Wooo This book will have lots of random, out-of-place material, kind of like this. See more on the law of...

Bad or Better

One of the greatest lessons to be learned from 180 Thinking is that we should not be so quick to discount our so-called bad ideas or Don't discount an idea just because it is wrong according to traditional thinking or because it isn't what you intended. If an idea is totally against what you intended to do, or partially against it for that matter, don't be so quick to think it's not valid. Some notable examples of accidental 180 Thinking that could be included in the innovation hall of fame...

Bo Doesnt Know

Another commercial that benefited from some accidental genius was from Nike in the early 1990s. Most students of advertising remember the epic Bo knows Diddley spot created by Wieden + Kennedy for Nike's cross-trainer using cross-sport athlete Bo Jackson and rhythm-and-blues great Bo Diddley. The commercial featured big-name athletes from various sports saying Bo knows insert appropriate sport . Michael Jordan saying, Bo knows basketball. Jim Everett saying, Bo knows football. Joan Benoit, John...

Collaborate with Genius

The next Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy tool is a technique I call Collaborate with Genius . This is a variation on Intergalactic Thinking, but rather than going to a galaxy of thought outside the area that you're working in, you instead go to a mind other than your own. You shouldn't collaborate with just anyone, however. Try to choose the assistance of a brilliant person. Because if you're going to collaborate with someone unbeknownst to them, why not collaborate with someone who can greatly enrich...

Exhibit

Warning It's important to use this list only as a prompt for forces that really exist in your life. This is not a place to add something to your list because it sounds good. Also note that these items are listed in no particular order and without regard to magnitude. Most of these forces are stated in very general terms. Frequently Mentioned Positive Forces Communing with nature Exposure to the arts Freedom to fail Working under pressure Open-minded people (specify) Frequently Mentioned...

Bring People in Early

A couple more things about selling When you show people ideas that are undergoing development, they can take ownership. They can say, Hey, I kind of like where that's going. Then, after you fully develop their idea, they are already onboard. I must tell you that people don't generally derail projects they have a vested interest in. Show them ideas early so they can be partners in the solution. Again, in the advertising business I've seen many creatives who are petrified of showing others their...

Better Question Better Ad

I received this lesson early in my advertising career. I was working on the first tennis shoe commercial to air on television. It was a product owned by Colgate-Palmolive, called the Fred Perry tennis shoe. And I remember when research told us . . . drumroll . . . comfort was the major benefit of this shoe. Okay, the other creative team members and I said with a deflated sigh. Okay. Comfort. Big deal. But then the entire team, account people and creatives, started asking better ques- Arkwear is...

Responses and Recommendations

Question A Are you quick to find fault with ideas, yours or others Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship. carton ww Have you ever seen the Gary L fbedroo ffo r Poor little Todd cant step loot on bed for fear of the boa constrictor living W There were monsters who used to terrorize 1 on thV droom- ,0 - 1 used ,alk t0 the C wallpaper (vintage 1950) tor comfort ,oday 'augh. But then it was Virtual f r melf ha(j ms 'rozen in tea the fears 8131 Prevent people m coming up with brilliant ideas are...

Selling Creative Ideas Requires Its Own Creativity

It's one thing to come up with a great idea. Conceiving, so to speak. It's quite another thing to give birth to it and raise it to maturity. And the trickiest part of that postconception routine is getting others to embrace the new idea, what we commonly refer to as selling it. When I address groups on the topic of creativity, I often ask, How many of you sell Unless I'm working with a sales force, I almost always encounter only a smattering of hands. Most people don't consider themselves...

Moment of Acceptable Truth

So, are you happy with the final output I asked the client, knowing I was likely to get an affirmative answer because we had just completed a session that reduced their time-to-market cycle from 120 days to 87 days, actually three days shorter than the target. I'm very happy, said the client, smiling at me. I probed further. We had uncovered hundreds of ways to shorten their production cycle, dozens of timesaving steps, it seemed, at each stage of the production process. So, what are some of...

The Basics of Mind Farming

Every person in your company has unlimited untapped creative thinking capabilities more than they themselves might know exist. And the first step in developing these dormant capabilities is to identify where people stand currently in realizing their creative thinking potential. Let's start by making a distinction between thinking and doing, using mind and body, as those modes of working relate to the primary functions of individuals and jobs. We all think and do virtually every waking moment,...

Please Please Collaborate with Me

In the book The Beatles Anthology John Lennon talks about his development of the song Please, Please Me. He says he was just trying to write a Roy Orbison song. (If you sing this classic Beatles song aloud or just hum the melody to yourself and you're at all familiar with 1960s rock 'n' roll, you'll recognize Roy Orbison's sound right away.) As Lennon was playing with the lyrics, there was something missing that he wanted to bring to the song. He found what he was looking for in, of all places,...

Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick

The great irony is that when you ask the question early you don't have to work on it. Your subconscious mind will work on the problem. Your subconscious mind is working at levels you have no awareness of. That and your superconscious mind are tapping into all that's around you. At a conscious rate we can process only 120 to 130 bits of data every second, but on a subconscious or superconscious level we can process millions of bits of data. For example, perhaps a bird flies by and triggers a...

The Rational Mode

The first of the two thinking modes comprise the rationals. When we operate as rationals we're operating principally in the known. In the more mundane aspects of this mode, we are often performing routine mental tasks. On the more developed end of the rational spectrum, we are solving problems by finding solutions in the known, that is, ours and others' experiences, the tried-and-true. Those who function much of the time in this mode must have a great deal of knowledge and experience to draw...

When the Close Ruins the Deal

I so often hear about salespeople going in for the close, and I'm sorry, but I believe that is an old-fashioned concept that doesn't treat the sellee as an important player. To me that's often manipulation and an unfair tactic, going in for the kill. I don't mind asking for the order under many conditions, but under just as many conditions I recommend not asking for the order, particularly relative to truly creative ideas. I recommend saying, This is the new idea now before you commit to a yea...

Raiders of a Nearly Lost Scene

If you remember the original Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, you might recall a very funny scene in the public marketplace where our hero shoots the big, ominous sword-wielding nemesis. To refresh your memory, the crowd parts as the imposing villain taunts protagonist Indy with an impressive series of swooshing-blade moves. The Harrison Ford character, holding his patented bullwhip, sums up his immense challenge, then makes a face, puts the whip in his other hand, pulls out a gun,...

Another Level of Creativity

To anyone reading this book who has ever wished more of their ideas would be embraced by those around them, I challenge you Use these concepts, wisdom, and practices not just to come up with great ideas, but also to sell them. Asking better questions is a great place to start. Even before you start thinking of the problem, think about the people you need to sell the solution to. And don't guess what's on their mind ask them. As for applying 100 MPH Thinking to selling, when you've worked very...

The Process to the Chaos

There's some semblance of order to learning the tools covered in this book and the concepts behind the tools. It's an order that will help you grasp them and use them more readily. This book covers some foundational elements first, in Parts I and II primarily, before we get into the tools themselves in Part III. We save what I cleverly categorize as Dimensionalizing Your New Creative Tools for Part IV. As valuable as this order of presentation has been for the more than 100,000 people I've...

Collaboration with Genius Example

Let's say you wanted to have inspiration from Abe Lincoln to help you solve a problem. First, you write down some traits of Abe Lincoln and go from there. For Honest Abe, you might write down the following list of traits Now practical and tall are two very diverse things to write down. I remember a program in which i was asking people to improve passenger comfort in the coach section of an airplane and someone using tall came up with the idea of more headroom. It didn't seem practical because...

Give People Freedom

Another way to develop creative thinkers and problem solvers in your organization is to give your people freedom. Lots of it. Freedom to think beyond the known, the tried-and-true. And, perhaps more important, you must give your people freedom to fail. Few people like to fail. Yet there are organizations, even industries, where failure is accepted, even encouraged. Engineering and science are two fields where failure is simply a part of the exploration process in problem solving. One of the...

How the Mind Works Kind Of

Each of these stars represents a bit of data. Each of us lives in our own galaxy of thought, where our mind resides almost all of the time because our thoughts default to the known. My own galaxy includes thoughts of family, my environment, my favorite sports teams, and so on. Each of these stars represents a bit of data. Each of us lives in our own galaxy of thought, where our mind resides almost all of the time because our thoughts default to the known. My own galaxy includes thoughts of...

Taking Notes

Many of the greatest thinkers of all time were great note takers because they recorded almost anything that came into their minds. Leonardo da Vinci was a great note taker, and to this day some of his manuscripts have survived. A number of years ago, I went to the Museum of Natural History in New York City when the codex of da Vinci notes owned by Bill Gates was touring the world. I don't know if you've seen any of da Vinci's notes, but he wrote his ideas down backward so people wouldn't steal...

So Easy My Dog Can Do It

A few years ago my black Lab, Millie, showed me just how easy 180 Thinking can be. When invited to go for a ride in my new two-door convertible, Millie was faced with the challenge of getting her rather wide frame through the narrow opening that led to the backseat. Her solution She aimed her ample body in the opposite direction and jumped on the back of the front seat, only to propel herself again in the opposite direction toward the backseat. This then became her everyday method of getting...

Whats the Pressure

The brakes on a train operate by air pressure. But the air pressure is not used in the way it was originally intended. It's used exactly the opposite way. You see, the first air brakes on trains were designed to operate as follows Someone who wanted to stop the train would pull a certain lever, air pressure would trigger the brakes, and the train would stop. Problem was, the hoses that were used to channel this pressurized air were made of rubber, which erodes, wears out, and can be delectable...

What Happened

When you continually reprocess a topic and push it in different directions, particularly if you do it quickly and succinctly, a number of things can happen You can solve the problem. Just by throwing a great deal of concentrated energy against an issue you can actually force a solution. You can make progress toward a solution even if you don't fully solve it. The progress brings the ball farther down the field, even if it's not a touchdown, so that you might be able to solve it later. You...

The Rewards of a Great Idea

When you have a great idea you have something that has tremendous potential. Like an asteroid crashing into the ocean, it can cause monumental initial impact and can effect a tidal wave of repercussions for amazing distances for a very long time. Someone had the idea of the wheel. That tidal wave is still cresting and causing impact today. Of course, not all ideas are quite so magnificent or recognized as world-changing events. Take that simple little fastener device called the button. Who had...

Big Lesson from Little Brother

My brother Michael was born with a hole in his head. It was his mouth. When brother Mike, 13 months my junior, was drawing at the kitchen table as a youngster, you never had to guess what he was drawing. You could always hear what he was putting down on paper. If Michael was drawing a farm, the rest of the family could tell from two rooms away. Oink Oink we'd all hear, or Moooo or Cluck, cluck, cluck. If we heard Pow Boom Pow or Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, we knew Michael was drawing a war...

How to Ask a Better Question

When I first started my creative coaching, I was working with a TV station whose news numbers were very low compared to the competition. i remember taking a group of executives into a brainstorming session and separating them into four or five smaller teams of five peo ple or so (see Chapter 19 for tips on group brainstorming). I began by posing questions about how to improve the news questions that made them stretch their minds How do we do a newscast in one minute How do we do a newscast with...

Last Stitch Effort

The airplane has to be an isolated case, right Maybe too big for most people to get their minds around. Take the sewing machine. In fact, you might as well take this timesaving device across the Atlantic where the Wright brothers went to fly their new idea. Yup, that's what Elias Howe had to do to get someone to buy his newly patented device in 1846. After a lifelong pursuit of perfecting the automatic stitching machine, this tailor-turned-inventor gave up on selling the patent to American...

The DoItYourseLf Lobotomy Early Years

In the spirit of 180 Thinking, I'd like to end this book at the beginning. People often ask how long I've been practicing many of the habits and tools covered in this book. To be honest, I don't know. I do know that I had some great early encouragement from my parents, particularly my mother. One story you'll like recalls the time my mom let my brother and me create our own wallpaper. Like lots of boys growing up in the 1950s, we had cowboy wallpaper. I can vividly recall the classic images of...

Third Things First

It's becoming increasingly apparent that people today don't necessarily take in information linearly, as many who present it have thought for so long. Whether in books, periodicals, theater, film, songs, TV advertising, even spoken language, we have all been taught that to communicate clearly we need to state our case in a basic order. Our communications typically have a beginning, a middle, and an end. A case is often presented in brief, the details are given, an analysis or argument is...

The Politics of New Ideas

The first of Thomas Edison's 1,093 patents was for an automatic vote counter he developed to make counting election ballots quicker, easier, and less prone to human error. Well, the idea didn't make much sense to all the municipalities Edison showed it to (we dare not ask why they wouldn't want a more foolproof method of tallying votes), so the yet-to-be most prolific inventor in U.S. history moved on and swore never to develop another product for the public sector. A promise he kept until the...

Better Questions on Top of Better Questions

Once I was leading a brainstorming group for a major computer manufacturer, and we were exploring better phone support for their consumer pC line. As you may understand, computers sold to people in business are acquired by a central purchaser (IT, MIS, whatever) who is computer-savvy and purchases thousands of units. In offering phone support for such people, you can speak their language. But in offering phone support for home users, you have to take a different approach. We were well into the...

Inspired by 180 Heat

Lyricist Sammy Cahn, one of the most prolific songwriters of the twentieth century, with standards such as Carolina in the Morning, High Hopes, and All the Way to his credit, tells a story about how he and his songwriting partner Jule Styne were inspired to write a song using 180 Thinking. It seems they had just exited a Hollywood producer's office with an assignment to write a song for an upcoming Bing Crosby movie. As they were going from the air-conditioned sanctuary of the office out into...

Self Assessment for Self Improvement

How potent is your idea power Are you and or your people able to come up with an abundance of tremendously creative ideas when you need them with little effort or pain Dozens of ideas Hundreds of ideas Thousands of ideas Well, there's a lot more method to this madness than most people realize (or perhaps, madness to the method). And it's surprisingly easy to accomplish. To help make this learning process more meaningful and therefore more effective for you individually, here are some...

Selling the Unknown

As I mentioned very early in this book, new ideas are part of the unknown if they're truly original, that is. At this point in the book I shouldn't have to explain or defend the value of new ideas. This is not a book about the tried-and-true and the obvious. If you want lessons on selling the tried-and-true and the obvious, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of books that will help you. This book is about coming up with fresh ideas and using just as many creative resources to sell those...

V

Athletic shoes are lightweight and flexible, right As a rookie copywriter I cut my teeth in the athletic shoe arena, and I can tell you I must have written light and flexible into a thousand different ads. But not often enough for my clients. Well, a few years ago when I developed painful heel spurs, from who-knows-what physical activity, my podiatrist suggested I try a particular Nike training shoe that wasn't exactly light and was far from flexible. In fact, the shoe is damn heavy and...

Understanding Is the

To develop as creative thinkers in your organization, first your people have to understand that creative thinking is the most important weapon your company has in the battle to compete in the rough-and-tough, even hostile world of business. Your people need to know that creative thinking and problem solving are fundamental to virtually everything else they do in all realms of their particular jobs. There is another kind of understanding that can help your people become great achievers in this...

Additional Study

For periodic updates to this reading list, go to For experiential professional development workshops in various areas of creative thinking, go to www.creative-camp.com events.html. For corporate professional development programs and brainstorm facilitating, go to www.before-after.com. See 180 wedding day story on page 236. See 180 wedding day story on page 236.

Ceativ Y

Leaders are creative problem causers. the answer is. Aha, you have the primary condition for creativity wonder. As this diagram of the creative problem-solving cycle points out, change causes problems that trigger creative thinking. And that brings us to a place where creative things happen. But what does creativity do Creativity changes things, which causes problems. This triggers the cycle to go on indefinitely. The question is where are you playing in the cycle Change is inevitable. It's...

Creative Force Field Analysis

What's your Creative ForceField This is a quick self-assessment to help you better understand the forces that enable your creativeness and the forces that limit you in this area. Your level of creative realization is a direct product of the conditions inside and outside of you that either contribute to your creative achievement or inhibit it. What are the forces helping you to be creative What are the forces limiting you These forces strongly influence your individual achievement on the job and...

The Creative Department

I ran an ad agency creative department for many years at a company that went by many names, starting with Leonard Monahan. All ad agencies have creative departments. I must say with a lack of humility usually reserved for parents that this creative department was one of the best in the world from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and I challenge anyone to argue that point. Schenck, Lubars, Baldwin and Goodrich, just to name In addition to having some extremely creative people in the creative...

180 Wedding

One early example of my use of these tools was on my wedding day. A mere 20 years old, and my bride, Audrey, even younger, we exhibited clear 180 Thinking in choosing the setting for our official wedding album photos. I figured, Hey, everybody shoots their wedding pictures at a park or in a garden, always someplace serene and beautiful. So why not do something at the far other end of the spectrum (I had not yet unveiled the term 180 Thinking.) Why not go to a dump Well, thankfully, I didn't go...

Quick Demonstration of Creativity Problem Solving

Let me demonstrate how fundamental problem solving is to creativity. Actually, you're going to have to help me demonstrate it. Here's what I'd like you to do. Ready Be creative. That's it. Be creative. Go ahead. Put the book down if you must. Now be creative. Come on. What are you waiting for Be creative, for pity's sake. Have you done it yet Are you ready to give up When I do this with people at my seminars, one of two things happens. The thing that happens about 99 percent of the time is...

DoItYourself Lobotomy Incision Goes Here

Virtually all of the thoughts that you process daily are conspiring to make you a boring, uninspired thinker. Scientists tell us that we have billions of thoughts running through our minds every day. On a conscious level, it's estimated that we process between 125 and 130 bits of data every second. That's over 11 million bits of data just on the conscious level each day. Then there are the subconscious and superconscious levels. Literally billions of bits of data on or near the surface of our...

Abusing Talent

On the other side of the coin, this clarification should also raise a caution to people who use their immense artistic talents in tandem with mediocre or even lousy ideas. Just because it looks good, sounds good, or tastes good doesn't mean it's creative. In advertising, I see so many wonderfully produced commercials and other advertisements that are well crafted and finely executed, but are they built around a great idea Too often the answer is no. Advertising is an idea business. Craft...

Flower Power

A friend of mine who grows orchids took me to his greenhouse and showed me what looked like tens of thousands of orchids. He explained, I enter them in competitions and I win prizes. When I asked which ones would be the prizewinners, he said, I don't know. They're all seedlings right now. If I took this one, he picked up a beauty, and nurtured it because this is the prettiest one now, it doesn't guarantee it will be the prettiest one later. The ugliest one now, which I might be tempted to throw...

He Doth Protest Too Much

Even in a world where creativity is supposedly revered, it's fairly well known that Berry Gordy, head of Motown, had a hard time embracing Marvin Gaye's landmark What's Goin'On album in 1971. I can hear the less than harmonious voice of management crying, But protest songs are for folkies from Greenwich Village. Gaye's masterpiece, featuring songs such as Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology), Save the Children, and Inner City Blues, went on to sell millions and is considered one of the top records of...

Is It the Tool or the Worker

If you're having an impossible time coming up with a fresh idea using this or that tool, or even if you're coming up dry using all of the tools, ask yourself, Is it the tools, or is it me Think about it. The whole reason I developed these tools is because people become attached to old ideas, so they often need strong levers to pry their minds off that old stuck place. I have worked with companies where some people walked into the room saying, There's no way to do this better. The stuck person...

Different People Process Information Differently

In my reading of business theory and professional development books over the years, I've often found myself skipping this section or that, jumping around from B to Z and A to L, rereading something I had covered earlier, and so on. I have done this in order to take in the information as I needed it at the various times I picked up the book, with all due respect to how the author intended it to be read. I have often wondered whether others read (or should I say process information) in this...

Problem

It's all a matter of perspective and self-motivation. Michael Dell changed the rules of how PCs were sold. He caused problems for his competition that took years for them to neutralize. Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines causes problems for competing carriers every time he enters a new market. When Southwest entered my home market of Providence, Rhode Island, they caused many other airlines to change their fare structures, change their routes, and even...

Foreign Genius Is Best

Most people tend to go to high-achieving people in their own industry for inspiration or collaboration. Although that might be better than staying in your own mind, one of the problems here is that most people within your industry are emulating or being inspired by those same high-achieving but like-minded people. This doesn't necessarily add an advantage, and in many ways it allows you to stay too entrenched in your own galaxy of thought. How do we get in the habit of collaborating with genius...

Scoring

Please note that this quick survey is an inexact process. Depending on the validity of your answers, this can give you strong indicators about what is working and what isn't working in your organization. 21-23 A 19-20 B+ 16-18 B 14-15 C+ 11-13 C 9-10 D+ 5-8 D 0-4 F Very, very good. You work for an amazingly creative organization. Either that or you find it impossible to be objective about your group's flaws. Very good. Your group is very highly realized creatively. Can I come work for you Much...

How This Book Works

This book is like the side of the brain you're trying to develop (Or skip this chapter and prove my point.) I'd like to explain how this book is organized, or unorganized, as the case may be. But first let's talk about why it's organized( ) the way it is. I believe there is a fair amount of method to coming up with original ideas on demand. That is the heart and soul of this book, right But I'll also admit ideas can come and do come without any procedure or inducement. In fact, that is how the...

The Ugly Side of the Information

The mental gridlock we often experience today that blocks creativity is a result of the cumulative effects of a world that has never been more highly educated and of overdosing on data in the information age. The human mind is capable of infinite imaginary thought, as proven daily by our children. But kids have an advantage over most adults Their minds aren't filled with knowledge. When you know the answer, your mind stops working when you don't know, your mind tries to fill in the blanks and...

The Benefits of Asking a Better Question

One benefit is that when you ask the right kind of question it triggers curiosity. I study high-achieving creative people, and the highest-achieving creative people of all time are tremendously curious. Leonardo da Vinci showed great curiosity How do birds fly How do fish swim underwater Thomas Edison was tremendously curious. Curiosity means putting yourself in a place you don't know. Putting yourself in a place of wonder. (Don't we often praise bright people with the compliment, She knows...

Why We Need to Develop All Sectors

If you haven't yet taken my Creative IQ Test for Organizations, and if you have not yet done a quick Creative ForceField Analysis, I suggest you do so now to make the rest of this chapter more meaningful. Dramatic Shifts in Makeup of Workforce Our need for Laborers has decreased over the years, as our need for Rationals and Dreamers has increased. Although most organizations need players at all positions on the Mind Farming map, never has there been such an urgent need to develop creativity in...

Welcome to [Your Name Goes Here in Wonderland

Wonder is a simple, childlike state of mind, but is often difficult for many people to achieve. The problem is that as we know more and more, we need to imagine less, and the center of wonder between our ears gets less and less of a workout. For many people, that part of the brain becomes virtually atrophied. Add to that the incredible fear that is gripping people in business today, the fear of doing or saying something wrong and being passed over or even let go, and there is very little...

Turning Up the Soil

With most brainstorming sessions I've been involved in, we are looking for a great many ideas, whether it's new products or services, promotional ideas, customer support, or whatever. In some sessions, however, we are looking for only one ultimate idea for instance, when brainstorming a name for a product, a company, or a URL. I'd say that in about half of the naming sessions that I have led, the final name is discovered after the brainstorming proper. The first few times this happened,...

Whos the Dummy

One of the first TV spots I ever wrote had Steve Allen comedian, musician, songwriter, philosopher, and all-around creative genius doing a comic bit with a ventriloquist dummy in his own likeness (don't ask) for a bank client. We recorded Allen's voice in advance for the dummy's lines, and during one of the early takes Allen stepped on his own line and proceeded to acknowledge the mistake with big eyes to the camera, in a broad early live TV kind of way. The director yelled Cut from off-camera,...

Acknowledgments

First I'd like to thank Pat Briden, my business manager and herder of the many cats that can be me. Pat's role in the development and writing of this book was absolutely invaluable. She provided the first wave of editorial comment at almost every stage, performed research, chased down the permissions, created the index, and did most of the many technical illustrations. I'd also like to thank all the people and companies whose stories and creative output helped me articulate and illustrate so...

Better Questions Pushing beyond the Known

Let's talk about the answers to my questions, both your answers and the answers I get in my workshops. Of course, for the first question about what I am wearing, you knew the answer. Black suit. Neutral shirt. And so on. The known. However, when you had to wonder, when you had to engage your imagination, that was a different story. To the second question, What kind of socks might I be wearing in my workshops the first answer I usually hear is black socks. Big surprise. Black suit, black shoes,...

Planet of Unconscious Thinkers

What do you do on your best days, when you have a great idea If you knew, wouldn't you do it all the time to improve your hit rate Is it something that you don't do on those days when you have a great idea Are you at all aware of what you don't do on those good days Is it what you don't do on the bad days Perhaps it's what you do on the bad days that's getting in the way. If you're not particularly conscious of your creative thinking abilities, you're not a freak. Most people aren't very aware...

Beware the Phantom

Some people are not who they appear to be if you don't look deep enough. There's the phantom dreamer, who has had a big idea or two, often early in her or his career, and has been emulating her- or himself ever since. That person is now probably a rational. Most business people are rational dominants. Among the most misidentified types I see in the business world are individuals who fall into a category I call the hyperrational. A hyperrational is a person who has many, many ideas but they...

Change Your Thinking about Change

Now I want to talk about a fundamental part of creativity that has been one of the foremost triggers of some of the greatest ideas of all time. In fact, it's probably the best impetus for great ideas. Yet it's resisted by people around the world and has been for centuries. I'm talking about change. In Chapter 2 we talked about problems that cause us to stretch. We showed that creativity and problem solving are virtually the same thing. We also demonstrated that we're usually at our best when...

Codifying the Creative Process

As a creative thinking coach, I work with people in industry in two principal ways. I help people improve their creative thinking abilities in a general sense through corporate training and skills development sessions. I also facilitate high-output brainstorming sessions geared to specific issues, challenges, and opportunities (new product ideas, promotional ideas, naming products, etc.). One of my most active industry sectors is advertising, a field in which creativity is so codified that...

Fertilizer

I often hear people who think they understand creativity say things like, There's no such thing as a bad idea. There are bad ideas all around us. There are horrible ideas that stay ideas, never making it out of the concept realm to be executed, thank heaven. Lousy ideas also come to fruition that at best never have a chance at succeeding and at worst put companies out of business. the conceptual stage. In fact, I think they're a healthy part of the creative process. I often hear people refer to...

Conviction Leads to Execution

If you want to take an idea from the conceptual stage to execution, nothing works like conviction. I'm not talking about force alone. I'm talking about a genuine belief that the idea you have is going to succeed in a very big way. When you use 100 MPH Thinking (often in concert with other of the Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy tools), you inevitably have many ideas from which to cull your shortlist. It makes presenting many ideas much easier, but more important than that, it gives you conviction. There...

Expand the Acceptable Range Even in Setting

In Chapter 16, Redefining the Acceptable Range, I discuss how sometimes when ideating, the win is not necessarily in going with the new idea, but in merely expanding the acceptable range. When you expand this range of acceptability, you can often act on previously unembraced ideas, ideas that were not acted on earlier because they were outside the comfort zone of some people. The same is true in selling. Show many ideas, and show some ideas that you believe are outside of the acceptable range....

Conceptual Solitaire

Here's a little exercise that I have developed to help people solve problems. I call it Sentenced to Death. This exercise is ideal for people who work alone or who need to brainstorm alone. If group brainstorming is like the Friday night poker game, this is more like Conceptual Solitaire . It's simple. Try it now. Take a few minutes to complete this exercise, using a problem you are currently facing, before reading further. Use the worksheet on the next page. Step 1. Choose an issue to...

Can I Show You Our Suit

When you're selling an idea, give people some selection. Don't just show them one idea. Nobody ever walked into a haberdashery that had only one suit. Nobody ever walked into an automobile showroom that had only one car. Nobody ever walked into a computer showroom that had only one computer. People want choice. Give it to them. When I first started in the ad business, a senior writer told me that if you show people one idea, one of two things will happen. If they like you,...

Is Your Acceptable Range More Accepting

A big part of being fully realized, creatively, is recognizing the value of fresh ideas when you see them. This book has systematically been helping you open your acceptable range of thought to give you a broader playing field upon which to operate. The early chapters of the book were written to help you better understand creativity, as we addressed many of the fundamental elements of this wonderful stuff the value of not knowing so you can wonder more, the role of problem solving, the...

Intergalactic Problem Solving

When do you need to think outside the galaxy When you don't know the solution (which really should be all the time, because even when you think you know the solution, how do you know it's the best solution ). When do you ordinarily not have a solution When you encounter problems you've never faced before. We already established in Chapter 2 that there are basically two ways to solve a problem Find solutions or create solutions. And where do you find things In the known, or your home galaxy....

Observation

Of course, this is not an original concept this is how Leonardo da vinci thought about creativeness. He felt as though observation was the foundation of his creativeness. And if y ou study the life of da Vinci, you'll find that observation was key to many of his accomplishments. He looked at birds, observed, and wondered, How do they fly He didn't know how they flew. But his wonderment led to some of the earliest thinking about the concept of manned flight. I still don't know how birds fly, and...

Listening Is a Great Creative Skill

A number of years ago, I attended a communications workshop and learned something about conscious listening. We all think that we listen all day long. But let's say you're in a business meeting or a brainstorming session, listening to a speech, or listening to a voice-mail message, and someone's remark sends your mind immediately off on a tangent of how you might follow up or respond. if you're thinking of what your answer is going to be, you aren't listening. You may be missing the answer to...

Problems Dont Have to Be Torture

Many years ago when we were developing a low-budget TV commercial, my creative team partner and I encountered a problem that caused us to stretch to a place that helped us generate a wonderful idea we probably would not have come up with otherwise. The spot was for a software product whose primary advantage over other software at that time was its extreme ease of use. We looked at many executions, among them an approach that showed or mentioned the problems of harder-to-learn, harder-to-use...