Creative Thinkering

Book summary by Thanh Bui – IT Specialist, School for Family and MWR
Michalko, M. (2011). Creative thinkering. New World Library, Novota, CA.
ISBN: 160868024

Creative Thinkering

Michael Michalko tells a very familiar story: as much as we want to be creative, we just can’t seem to create anything new that works. This book does not necessarily contain revolutionary ideas that will change the world, but at least it would help us re-energize our creative engine by changing the way we see, think, and solve our problems.

One of the many great examples from the book describes the 3-step process that helped Walt Disney realize his fantasies:

1-Let your imaginations run wild: do not let anything stand in your way.
2-Finetune your concepts: try to convert theses concepts into something more practical.
3-Reality check: would that really work? How would you modify the concept to make it work?

Michael Michalko suggests that geniuses were those who could see things differently and allowed themselves to work on bizarre concepts until the end. This could be a long process but eventually, the solutions were found where they were least expected. There’s no common setting for the environment where these “Aha” moments occurred, the only thing we know is that it’s almost always unrelated to the work in question.

So, for regular people like us, what are the odds of producing innovative ideas if we only rely on accidental successes? Very slim, needless to say. However, if we try to mimic that “unrelated” environment in our work place, we might be able to create some new things that really work.

To replicate that environment, one of many suggestions from this book is to combine 2 randomized and unrelated terms (Verbs and Nouns for example) or to blend dissimilar concepts (and then follow Walt Disney’s 3-step process.)

Humans tend to resist changes subconsciously and therefore choose the more obvious or predictable concepts. So even though there’s no right or wrong way to be creative, there’re some techniques that may help fight the invisible force that keeps us from being creative:

– Change the way we think: avoid the obvious; if it’s not crazy enough, it will not be worth trying.

– Imagine opposite or contradictory ideas simultaneously in our head; this might help create the conditions permitting a new point of view.

– Change the way we look at things: use multiple perspectives when looking at things, then combine/select the information that is most innovative.

– Change the way we speak: use positive instead of negative statements: Say “Good” instead of “Not bad”, or “Let’s do it” instead of “Why don’t we do it” etc. This positive language will eventually affect our positive attitude and creative mind.

– Change the way we approach problems:  never say I CAN’T, but rather, put the problems aside and let our subconscious mind work the magic.  This is because our creativity sometimes works best subconsciously. How many times did you find the solutions for your problems while doing something else?

– Talk to our “Creative Self” inside of us: write a note to yourself about the details of the problems and give yourself a deadline; mail it to yourself or stick it on the wall; revisit and update the deadline if needed.

Learn more about the author.

Comments are closed.