Creativity & Innovation

“The man with a new idea is a
crank until the idea succeeds.”
Mark Twain
Ideas & Innovations
E N T E R P R I S E S K I L L S & E D U C AT I O N M A N A G E R
Creativity exercises #1 & #2
 Individual exercise
 1 minute to identify as many
different ways of using the object
as you can
 Theory of Categories
 Group exercise
 2 minutes to identify as many
different ways of using the object
as you can
 Theory of Variety
The barriers to creativity
 Habit – tried & trusted
 Lack of stimulation
 The ‘intelligence trap’
 Not asking the right question:
 “what is a shoebox for?”
 “what could you use a shoebox for?”
 “how many uses can you think of for a shoebox?”
 “can you think of 100 uses for a shoebox?”
 The fear of being wrong
“It is better to have enough ideas
for some of them to be wrong,
than to always be right by having
no ideas at all.”
Edward De Bono
Different approaches
Convergent thinking
 Good for evaluating ideas
 Rubbish for generating ideas
 Focusing tool
Divergent thinking
 Good for generating ideas
 Rubbish for evaluating ideas
 Scanning tool
Principles of creativity
 Suspend judgement
 Only converge after diverging!
 Quantity not Quality
 Feed your brain something different – variety
 Have the confidence to make ‘mistakes’
 ‘As if’ – free your mind
 If I was Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, the Queen...
 If we had £1,000,000...
 If we had double/half the resources
 If it had to be.... Fun?
Tools for Divergent thinking
 Re-expression:
 With alternative words
 Using different senses i.e. Illustration or Role-play
 From another’s perspective ‘as if ...’
 Related worlds
 Has anyone tackled a similar problem in another company/industry?
 Revolution
 Identify ‘The Rules’ and then identify ways of breaking them
 Random links
 Innovation is applied creativity
 Innovation is about improving existing activities with new
New products
New processes
New market positions
New business models
 Improving how?
More effective, Faster, Cheaper, Less Wasteful, Prettier...
 Innovations are:
Evolutionary – incremental developments
Or Revolutionary – really alternative developments
The drivers of innovation
 Need
The identification of
problems or hurdles
encourages people to solve
 Connections – often
 Possibility
Another breakthrough
provides a ‘stepping-stone’
(the ‘adjacent possible’)
Someone asks ‘what if?’
between disparate ideas
Time and space to explore
A willingness and ability to
move beyond ‘comfortable’
frames of reference
“Engineered Serendipity”
“Chance favours the
connected mind.”
Steven Johnson (2010)
Innovation Exercise
 In groups
 Think about one product or
service you’ve used today:
Can you create a better
Can you develop a better
process to access the
Can you sell that
product/service to a
different market?
Can you find a different way
to make money from the
Tactics for a more creative life…
 Do the things you don’t normally do
Different activities in…
…Different places with…
…Different people
 Take an alternative route
 Write your ideas down
 Share even the silly ideas with others
 Have more holidays (or at least days away)
 ‘As if’
 Put a different sock on first in the morning…
Beermat Idea Challenge
 Brilliant idea?
 In 140 characters?
 Submit and vote online
 Or grab a Beermat and stick
in the box in Senate House
 The best ideas win prizes!
Good books
 ‘Sticky Wisdom’ - ?Whatif!
 ‘The Art of Innovation’ – Tom Kelley
 ‘Edward De Bono’s Thinking Course’ – Edward De Bono
“Problems cannot be solved
by the same level of thinking
that created them.”
Albert Einstein