One of the reasons we close off so easily when confronted with problem situations is, of course, because we perceive it as a big mess. There is often a feeling of uncertainty, we don’t know where to start, how to get to the bottom of everything, nothing seems clear-cut and obvious. It’s just, well…A MESS.
When we find ourselves in just such a mess, we
- Freeze to a standstill – rather do nothing than make a mistake
- Choose the easy way out (usually a temporary ‘solution’ that starts to backfire quite soon)
- Lost sight of the important aspects because we feel overwhelmed
- Overlook the rue problem that is hidden somewhere in the big pile of THE PROBLEM
How on earth can we overcome this knee-jerk reaction to problems that arise regularly and instead get down to solving them in creative ways? What we need to do is
GET TO THE ESSENCE, SPIRIT
No creative process can be effective unless we first UNDERSTAND WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS. Ever had the experience of putting in a whole lot of effort, time, even money to solve a problem? To save us some wasted effort and precious time, we need to learn how to dig until we find the true essence of the situation. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Ask the right questions, probing questions until you hit the jackpot
- Sift through the information and discard what is irrelevant
- Make sure you understand the priorities
- Sift and refine until a single problem worms its way up from the pile
- Seek alternative routes to find the true one (this will mean some unconventional and unorthodox routes)
Jumping to conclusions can be a serious block to creativity, as we have mentioned. It can also be expensive and sometimes fatal. A story that demonstrates this clearly is the one about a community near a town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa who requested that a clinic be built in their area. The reason for this request was that children regularly became ill with stomach ailments and that several had died because of the unavailability of medical care close by. An investigation team visited the area and started asking probing questions. An important question was not: ‘Where should we build the clinic?’; the revealing question was, ‘Why are the children regularly falling ill with stomach ailments?’ This revealed the fact that the water used by the community was polluted. The solution? You guessed it: not a clinic, but a water purification system.
Want to practice getting to the essence? There are helpful activities in Creativity Uncovered. Buy it here in our shop.
Apart from these basic creativity skills we have mentioned in these blogs, there are many other skills and characteristics that will develop your creative ability. Some of them are
- BEING IMAGINATIVE
- TAKING RISKS
- BEING CURIOUS
- EMBRACING SERENDIPITY (THE “HAPPY ACCIDENT”)
- BEING SPONTANEOUS
- NOT HAVING TUNNEL VISION
And many, many more. In later blogs covering the Creativity Uncovered book, we will come back to some of these.
What to take along from these blogs covering this Chapter of Creativity Uncovered?
- We repeat: Creativity can be developed and practiced
- Creativity is being agile, fluent, having many ideas to choose from
- Creativity is being supple, flexible, considering many categories of ideas
- Creativity is being unconventional, original, looking for the unusual and unique
- Creativity is refining, developing, elaborating on good ideas in order to make ‘it happen’
- Creativity is keeping the mind open without jumping to conclusions or clinging to old beliefs and habits
- Creativity is understanding the essence, the spirit of situations, to dig deeper for the Gidden truth
‘Creative thinking may simply mean the realization that there is no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done.’