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http://www.inventium.com.au/ ...

http://www.inventium.com.au/

Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as a consumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had put her through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved. However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field, she realised that all these training companies had done was rip off Edward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as their own. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.

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    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Inventiumhttp://www.inventium.com.au/Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as aconsumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had puther through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved.However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field,she realised that all these training companies had done was rip offEdward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as theirown. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Amantha had always been a bit of a science geek and kept reading thejargon-filled academic journals long after leaving university. She noticedthat there were hundreds, if not thousands, of studies being conductedaround the world that looked at what variables increased a person’sability to think more creatively and a company’s ability to innovate.However, she realised that there was a great divide between this greatresearch that was being done in the world of academia, and what wasactually getting used in the ‘real world’.So in 2007, she had the idea of starting a company that applied thescience of psychology and neurology to boosting creativity andinnovation - something that had never been done before. SinceInventium opened its doors, Amantha and her team, have helpedliterally thousands of people across Australia, the United States, the UK,Europe, Africa and New Zealand improve their ability to generate greatideas.Get happy to get creative
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Get happy to get creativeOur emotional state has a big impact on ourability to think creatively. Researchers atPennsylvania State University conducted astudy which examined the impact of happyand sad moods on idea generation. To putthem into the required mood, participantswere first asked to describe a recent lifeevent that made them feel happy or sad.Following the mood manipulation,participants were asked to write down asmany things they could think of that couldfly. On average, participants in the happygroup came up with almost 50% more ideasthan the sad group.The happiness hypothesis was also exploredby Teresa Amabile at Harvard University.Amabile asked several hundred people tokeep a work diary that detailed their dailyactivities, moods and other workplaceevents. An analysis of these diary entriesshowed that people were more likely tocome up with breakthrough ideas whenthey were feeling happy, even if thishappiness was experienced the day beforethe idea was generated.When we are happy, the level of a brainchemical called dopamine increases. In thefrontal lobe, dopamine controls the flow ofinformation to other parts of the brain.When people feel happy, thoughts orimages of one concept – such as ‘thick’ –activate thoughts or images of many otherconcepts – such as ‘paint’, ‘stupid’ or ‘make-up’. Opening up connections betweenconcepts that are only remotely associatedwith one another increases our ability fordivergent thinking. In contrast, whenpeople feel sad, they become more detail-oriented with their thinking which meansthat they often will not see the greaterpossibilities. In other words, they getfocused on the trees to the exclusion of theforest.So if you are feeling a bit flat, chances areyou are probably not performing at yourpeak creativity. The common image of the‘tortured genius’ has fed the popular beliefthat the majority of creative geniuses weredepressed and emotionally unbalanced.However, studies have shown that peopleare actually more creative when they arehappy.
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Warm Up Your Brain ToImprove Creative ThinkingFor those of us who exercise regularly,doing a big workout without a warm-upseems silly. Our risk of injury increasesdramatically and it also makes it hard for usto perform at our best. Similarly, it is criticalto warm up your brain before engaging it ina creative-thinking workout. This is tocombat the fact that in general, most idea-generation and problem-solving meetingsare scheduled immediately after a strategyor finance meeting, in which your brain wasmost likely in analytical or linear gear.Most of us can appreciate how difficult it isto come from a meeting that requiresanalytical, rational thinking into a meetingthat requires us to think laterally (that is,thinking outside of our usual frame ofreference). When your brain has been inlinear thinking mode, coming up withcreative solutions is very difficult. The brainnaturally wants to jump to logical solutions,given the mode it is in, and finding lateraland creative solutions becomesunnecessarily difficult.Scientific research suggests that warmingup the creative-thinking parts of your brainwill help you perform more effectively andefficiently at creative tasks. These exerciseswill make it easier to jump from a financemeeting to an idea-generation meeting.Warming up this part of your brain onlytakes a few minutes to shift your brain intoan open-minded and lateral-thinking mode.There are many ways to warm up you brainto this type of thinking. One is an Inventiumtool called Fat Chance. Fat Chance wasdesigned with the specific purpose ofwarming up the creative-thinking parts ofpeople’s brains. The tool can be used before30-minute idea-generation and problem-solving workshops or one-day blue-skythinking workshops in which brains need tothink laterally for an entire day.Fat Chance requires no materials or stimuliother than one thing: an impossiblechallenge. For example, cure cancer bytomorrow lunchtime. There are two keyelements to creating an impossiblechallenge. The first is to pick a goal or anobjective that is almost impossible toachieve with technology as we know it
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184today. The second is to add an incrediblytight time frame. The tighter the better. Forexample, Raise Paris Hilton’s IQ by 100points by the end of the week. Give birth toan alien by dinner tonight. Marry Brad Pittby noon tomorrow.After you have developed an impossiblechallenge, the next step is to divide theparticipants into pairs or groups of three.This gives everyone a good chance toparticipate. Once groups are assigned,instruct people to generate at least threesolutions to the problem in five minutes.Encourage those who are finding it difficultand remind them that the solutions do nothave to be logical or rational – in fact, thosesolutions won’t actually solve the problem.After these five minutes have passed, youcan feel confident that the divergentthinking parts of people’s brains will besufficiently warmed up.Why does this tool work so effectively? It allcomes back to the impossibility of thechallenge. Given that it is impossible, non-creative thinking will not lead to a solution.The problem can only be solved throughtaking a leap and thinking very creativelyand laterally. For example, in relation to theParis Hilton problem, some solutions mightinclude bribing the instructor for theanswers, making the IQ test about fashionrather than general knowledge, or findinganother person named Paris Hilton whohappens to be very smart. Despite the‘craziness’ of these problems and answers,groups have then gone on to generateinnovative solutions to real life problemsthey were facing.Eyeing off creativityIn general, the left side of our brain directsour logical and rule-based decisions; similarperhaps to a stern headmaster. On theother hand, the right side tends to be moreinventive and intuitive. Research out ofNew Jersey has gone a step further andfound a way to maximise both the left andright brain hemispheres, leading to highlypractical and highly creative ideas.The researchers got their participants tocomplete a standard creativity test thensplit the participants into two groups. Onegroup was instructed to follow a target that
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184moved from left to right for 30 seconds,while the second group looked straightahead for the same time.The participants then completed the samecreative idea generation test. Keeping inmind that the participants sharedcomparable creativity before being splitinto groups, the participants who followedthe moving target were much more creativethan those who stared at the wall.The researchers concluded that movingyour eyes from side-to-side increases thecommunication between the left and rightside of the brain, thus resulting in moreuseful and creative ideas.So if your brain is still recovering from theweekend and you need a kick start, getthose eyes dancing from side-to-side andfeel your brain sing.