Rousing Creativity: Think New Now!

Rousing Creativity: Think New Now!

by Floyd Hurt

Other Format

$17.95

Overview

Here's a book that takes the philosophical challenge of building a creative environment in an organization and turns it into a practical, understandable approach that works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781560525479
Publisher: Crisp Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 05/28/1999
Series: Professional Series
Pages: 163
Product dimensions: 7.44(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.46(d)

Read an Excerpt

Welcome
Why Rousing Creativity?
Techniques Introduction
Introduction to The Game
Epilogue


Welcome

Thanks for trusting me with your time.
What you learn from this book is entirely up to you. It can push you and offer challenges, but when you put it down and go back to work, you'll be dealing with the same problems-the same faces. Your world will have retained its old mind-sets and those around you won't truly be interested in what you've learned.
Your charge: stick with it and usher in new ideas and new challenges. It will be tough. The raging tide of status quo is a running, thundering tide of self-perpetuation. To alter it even a little takes guts, stamina, and a determined sense of who you are. There'll be bullets to dodge; so what. Isn't that better than sitting at the grey center of the merry-go-round watching the brass rings flash by in a vanishing world of "maybe next time"? There is no "next time." There is only here and now . . . and you.

This book has two objectives:
To make you think!
To make you act!

If this is not achieved, we all lose. To help me fulfill this obligation, continually ask yourself these questions:
Am I being challenged?
Am I giving my full attention?
Am I looking for applications in my life and work?
Do I understand that learning is my responsibility, all mine?
Will I let somebody or some "situation" hold me back?
and at the end of your reading
What have I gained and how will I put it to use?
You'll quickly notice several features of this book designed to help you make it work for you.
First is the "Doodles and Notes Pad." Use this space to interact with the text, agree, disagree, argue. The more you commit to active reading, the more you will get out of it.
Second are the worksheets. They are intended to be copied and used. Do so and reap the creative rewards.
Third is "The Game." Use it to break into uncharted territory.
Fourth is my phone number (804-296-3980) and home page address (rousingcreativity.com). Use these to continue your dialogue with this material, to further your education, to ask questions, to make suggestions. I welcome your input and will respond.

Let's get going . . . ENJOY!
back to index



Why Rousing Creativity?

. . . because man cannot create on motivation alone. We all love the platitudes; they feel good. "Mind over matter." "Think positively." "Can Do." But platitudes don't solve problems: YOUR ACTIONS DO.
This book promises more than just another exercise in corporate cheerleading. It doesn't build you up, only to have reality knock you down. It prepares you.
It prepares you first as an individual. A prerequisite to realizing effective creativity is understanding and adopting some critical philosophical principles. Without this foundation any new-found creative drive will quickly atrophy and you will slip back into the comfortable, habitual patterns of your life.
Secondly, it prepares you to participate in and lead groups which will expand or step outside established boundaries. Without a thorough and clear understanding of the philosophy of creativity, your ability to spark new thinking will be limited indeed.
This book focuses primarily on creativity in the corporate environment. To explore it, however, with only that in mind would be to miss so many other applications of the principles and techniques. Whether you are
leading a team in developing a new business strategy,
joining a committee to simplify order processing,
discussing with a colleague ways to improve morale,
attending your local PTO meeting,
helping your family plan a vacation, or
thinking up better ways to organize your closet
the philosophy and techniques here can benefit you.
YES, use this book to push your business over the top. BUT don't stop there. Creativity, much more than just an effective business tool, is a way of life, a way of seeing the possibilities and opportunities in your world rather than its limitations. Use this material to find and embrace opportunities in all areas of your life.
Every aspect of this book is designed to make the creative process more productive and enjoyable. Read with an open disposition. Keep bias and prejudice from your mind; they will taint and limit your understanding of this material just as they will destroy any creative session. If you approach a creative session with even one small pre-conceived notion, you will restrict yourself and those around you.
Take a risk. Turn the page and make the journey. Leave that proper, corporate image and that stuffy, societal baggage at the door. Open you mind to all the options. Who knows who you will become along the way.
back to index



Techniques--Introduction

The groundwork has been laid. You understand the demands of making a creative life. You realize creativity requires a certain mind-set and hard, disciplined work. You know how a creative group or session runs. You have defined a problem and checked it for accuracy. What next?
Now it's time to choose a creative technique with which to attack your problem or exploit your opportunity. There are several techniques presented in this chapter. Each includes an overview of the technique's strengths such as breaking a problem down, generating a volume of ideas, or establishing and assigning action steps.
Familiarize yourself with the strengths of each technique and choose carefully. Nothing kills creative momentum more quickly than a session which seems to wander or does not clearly and directly address an issue. Remember, perception is everything. Make it easy for your group members, managers, CEO's to see the benefits of the creative approach and not perceive that the session as just a get-together yielding little or nothing of value.
Of course, absolute rigidity to a technique is not your goal either. Let solutions develop, always keeping the ultimate goal in your mind and in your sights. Be willing and able to marry, mix, and match techniques. There are not and should not be any impermeable barriers between the techniques. Know your problem and your goals and choose whatever technique or combination of techniques will set you on the path toward solution.
Note: Each of the following techniques is broken into workable steps to help first time or inexperienced facilitators work through them. There are, however, certain assumptions about the structure of a creative session, presented in Guidelines to Facilitators in Part 2, which are not repeated for each technique. To maximize your effectiveness and the effectiveness of your group, be sure you understand the basic structure of a creative group and a creative session. Always have a plan going into a session and at least one potential back up plan in case things do not ignite the way you had hoped they would.
These techniques are potent. They can launch you and your group on dazzling creative journeys. But this does not all happen magically. It is the result of hard work, good planning, and a healthy dose of risk taking. Do your homework, take some risks, and the rewards will be great.
back to index



Introduction to The Game
You've read. You've learned. You've Studied. You've practiced.
Now it's time to play.

How many times have you been asked to "think up something new" without any clear guidelines. This "freedom" is supposed to allow you to be more creative, right? Wrong. Without some limitations you are being asked to think of the whole world. Because you don't know where to start, you spend a great deal of time wandering around looking for the spark to get things going or provide a fresh point of view. The Game provides this spark.
Far too often people sit in a creative session and are reticent to offer ideas "out of the blue" because of the risk involved. The Game, through its random selection of "creative prompts," puts everyone into the same "out-of-the blue" boat. This "creative equality" makes participants less self-conscious and more willing to get involved and present their far out ideas. The Game, as a result, sets a tone and a provides a forum conducive to creativity, past the edge of the expected.
Since creativity is often found in the unfamiliar, you often need to turn things upside down or inside out to get an unfamiliar perspective. The Game prompts you to explore the unfamiliar by providing you with a wide range of stimuli. These stimuli force your mind to leap outside everyday boundaries. The Game pushes you beyond the ordinary, beyond the already known.
How does The Game accomplish all this? It does so by providing the "players" with a wide variety of creative prompts. These prompts force new perspectives and new mind-sets. The prompts are collected into seven lists:
Aspects of the Problem
Verb Commands
Objects
Heroes
Picture This
Use your Senses
Game Break
The facilitator chooses the most appropriate "Creative Prompt List" and through a random number selection process, the "players" are prompted to look at a problem, situation, product, etc. from a new perspective.
For example, if a session were focusing on the problem of too much traffic in the copy room in the morning, the facilitator might choose the Heroes Creative Prompt List. Through a simple process, the number "3" comes up. Hero number 3 is Mahatma Ghandi. The group must now decide how Mahatma Ghandi might view this problem and the ideas he might have to solve it. This kind of shift requires everyone to bring a brand new point of view to the situation; one that allows them to escape from themselves and play with a new persona. Some ideas might arise like: "Have a silent protest." This may yield: put some chairs outside the copy room and everyone shifts seats toward the copy room each time someone leaves. "Boycott the copy room." It may force management to buy a new machine. "Go on a hunger strike." Provide an incentive if copying is done during lunch. "Meditate." Decide if that copy is really necessary.
Using Mahatma Ghandi has given the group a focal point around which to pile their now unusual ideas. These are not necessarily the ideas that will directly solve the problem, but by getting outside the ordinary and the expected, the group expands its horizons and moves toward a truly innovative solution which may not have been found by traditional methods.
The object of The Game is to force everyone to view a problem or situation from an entirely new perspective. By moving away from the expected, you think unexpectedly. Remember, creativity often requires taking the unfamiliar and making it familiar or combining unrelated ideas and/or objects.
The Game is not a trivial add-on to this book which you can skip over. It is not to be saved for rare spare time. In fact, The Game is an essential component of this entire creative enterprise. All that you have experienced up to this point has been leading you here. Trust in the power of The Game and allow yourself the freedom to make it work for you. Keep playing no matter how zany the ideas become. Explore the ridiculous and embrace the absurd. You will be amazed at the practical, usable results you'll ultimately produce.
The keys to The Game's success are your own mind's freedom, your willingness to take risks, the random selection of the creative prompts, and a capable facilitator to guide you. Each "player" needs to be completely at ease with wild ideas, strange notions, flights of fancy, and unexpected releases from dark taboos. Keeping the selection of the creative prompts random eliminates the possibility of finger pointing when a group faces a particularly challenging task. Don't underestimate the negative effects this finger pointing can have on your session.
Rule 1: Censor nothing . . . NOTHING.
Rule 2: Everything stays in the room unless agreed otherwise.
Rule 3: Have fun. After all, it's only a game.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement
Welcome!
Why Rousing Creativity?
Part 1 - The Journey to Break Point
Two Philosophical Challenges
Seeing the Need for Creativity
Break Point: Taking Control of Your Creative Future
Achieving Creativity: The Five Essential Factors
Part 2 - Setting the Stage: Your Role in a Creative Group/Session
Ground Rules
Guidelines for Group Members
Guidelines for Facilitators
Part 3 - Finding, Presenting, and Clarifying Opportunities (Often Disguised as Problems)
Problem/Opportunity Introduction
Opportunity Exploratory Sessions (OESs)
OES Worksheet
Brain Chain Reaction
Problem/Opportunity Clarification
Briefing Document
Briefing Document Worksheet
Part 4 - Nuts and Bolts: Creative Techniques
Techniques Introduction
Brainstorming
Nominal Group Technique
Attribute Listing
Attribute Listing Worksheets
Mindmapping
Force-Field Analysis
Force-Field Analysis Worksheets
Part 5 - The Game
Introduction to The Game
The Game Uses
Pre-Game Preparations
Playing The Game
The Seven Creative Prompt Lists:
#1 Aspects of the Problem
#2 Verb Command
#3 Object Stretch
#4 Heroes
#5 Picture This
#6 Use Your Senses
#7 Game Break
Part 6 - Walking the Walk: Taking Action
BenBalance
BenBalance Worksheet
Specific Actions
Specific Actions Worksheets
Resources
Resources Worksheet
Celebration Document
Celebration Document Worksheet
Sniper Trap
Sniper Trap Worksheet
Epilogue
Appendix A - Sample Sessions
Sample 1: The Pencil
Attribute Listing, Mindmapping, The Game
Sample 2: Big Jim's Grocery
Force Field Analysis, The Game
Appendix B - The Worksheet Bank
Appendix C - A Creativity Reading List

What People are Saying About This

Michael Michalko

Rousing Creativity: Think New Now! is a great "how-to" book on creative thinking. Hurt clearly presents tools and techniques that have proven useful for various creativity problem-solving situations. The guidelines for conducting group sessions provide very useful information not only for the novice but for those who are experienced meeting facilitators. Readers will find it fun to read and will find that it helps them to become more creative and productive in everything they do.

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