Boost Performance with Creative Insights

  Leaders may inadvertently suppress their people’s creative insights. While bragging about their innovative, out-of-the-box thinking, these bosses may fail to notice that company systems discourage creativity. This ingrained, often invisible problem has an adverse side effect: It can diminish profits. Improving performance for long-term success requires a two-pronged managerial approach: Focus on reducing errors while increasing creative insights. Most managers concentrate on reducing errors: the obvious half of the equation. They know mistakes are visible, costly and embarrassing. But many managers forget about the second step. Businesses cannot surge ahead in the marketplace without creative insights 4 Stages of Creative Insights When we put too much energy into eliminating mistakes, we’re less likely to gain insights. ~ Gary A. Klein, PhD, Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights (PublicAffairs, First Trade Paper Edition, 2013) Research into how the brain solves problems and generates “aha” moments has helped us understand the best ways to stimulate creative insights. British psychologist Graham Wallas proposed a four-stage process in his 1926 book, The Art of Thought. He asserted that creative solutions appear sequentially: Preparation => Incubation => Illumination => Implementation Psychology professors John Kounios and Mark Beeman tweaked the formula in The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight and the Brain (Random House, 2015): Immersion => Impasse => Diversion => Insight We must step back and painstakingly observe a problem (immersion), examine perspectives and context, reinterpret the familiar, become aware of unfamiliar and unseen relationships, and question assumptions and biases. If you reach an impasse, stop seeking answers. Seek a change of scenery, and give your brain a rest...
The Creative Power of Questions

The Creative Power of Questions

Asking creative questions can change everything. A big, beautiful question can generate ideas, inspire action, influence engagement and participation, as well as solve problems and spark creative genius. Provocative questions can answer most conundrums of life and work. Einstein allegedly said that if someone gave him one hour to solve a problem, he would spend the first 55 minutes making sure he was answering the right question. In business, we don’t ask enough questions for fear of appearing stupid or uninformed. Or we don’t want to challenge authority or be disruptive. But research is showing that there are many kinds of questions and, asked in the right way, they can lead to breakthrough thinking and disruptive innovations, such as those created by Airbnb, Uber, Pandora, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iPhone and many others. The Creative Process Let’s explore some of the questioning frameworks people use to find creative solutions: 4 Stages: Nearly a century ago, the British psychologist Graham Wallas proposed a four-stage process of creativity. In his 1926 book The Art of Thought, Wallas observed that creative solutions appear sequentially: Preparation => Incubation => Illumination => Implementation This creative process is still used today in many research and innovation companies. 5 Whys: The “five whys” methodology originated in Japan with Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries. Asking “why” five times in succession is a means of discovering the root of a particular manufacturing problem. But this can be applied to many areas, including behaviors. People are inclined to look for the easiest, most obvious explanation for a problem, so asking “why” five times leads to understanding a...