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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sparking Creativity-The Wall Street Journal Approach

I don't normally associate Wall Street Journal with in-depth articles on creativity, but now and then I get surprised.

A recent article entitled "Tactics to Spark Creativity" caught my eye and unlike many of the inane and overly simplistic "how-to" articles you find online nowadays, the article is well-researched and worth the read. It begins:

Why is it that some people rack their brains for new ideas, only to come up empty—while others seem to shake them almost effortlessly out of their sleeves?

Whether creativity is an innate gift or a cognitive process that anyone can jump-start is a question so intriguing that researchers keep studying it from different angles and discovering new and surprising techniques.

As it goes with serendipity, I happened to watch a video online regarding the "designing mind" and one of the interviewees said, "many of the techniques we teach here are over 40 years old." Unlike the article, the people in the video seemed to be saying that there's nothing new, just variations on the old stuff.

Certainly many authors and innovation experts like to come up with their own models for creativity and creativity processes. One of my favorites coined the phrase "stage gate" where all the many ideas you have swim up to the dam and can't move forward unless you examine them and help them "through the gate."

As with any other readings, what you get out of it is up to you. I have the best visual, courtesy of a quote towards the end of the article:

"you have to be able to float through your environment with your antennae up, like a butterfly, and just let things ping your antennae."

Read the entire WSJ article here.