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15 great creativity activities

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I found this slide deck from 2011 and I am surprised how relevant these ideas are five years on. I'm also happy to see that more authors from business and academia are building refreshing approaches to creativity, way more useful and evidence-based than what the old books and courses on creativity used to do (the "nine dot problem" is one example of silly creativity exercises)

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15 great creativity activities

  1. 1. 15 great creativity activities (Not the nine-dot problem again!) Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  2. 2. 1. Routine is o.k. The very first question you need to ask yourself or your team is “what must be left the same?” (This will let you focus on whatreally needs to be changed) Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  3. 3. 2. Permission Avoid intuition, transcend deduction/induction, understand then break the rules, do not expect inspiration, step over boundaries, be foolish, embrace ambiguity, pick a fight, make mistakes, work hard… give yourself and others permission! Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  4. 4. 3. Metaphors Grab today’s newspaper and find 3 metaphors. Most go unnoticed, so pay attention. Then build yourself 3 metaphors about your problem. You will know that this works when your analogies help you reframe your problem. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  5. 5. 4. Randomness Use randomness to go beyond intuition and commonsense. You may grab words at random from a newspaper and do something interesting like use them to rephrase your problem or the company’s vision. Build a random list of words and use them astriggers. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  6. 6. 5. Paradoxes A paradox is an apparently contradictory statement that leads to a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition. They are a great way to twist your thinking about the problem at hand. Discuss famous paradoxes, then find a paradoxical aspect of your problem or company Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  7. 7. 6. Thesaurus Words are powerful,polysemic, have rich connections and unexpected connotations when combined or modified. Use a thesaurus to redefine your problem. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  8. 8. 7. Try out ideas Paper and pencil are great to imagine ideas, but they are terrible liars. Leave your desk and try out your ideas: ask and observe people, build models, run quick implementations. If you do this right, your idea will necessarily change. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  9. 9. 8. Say stupid things Once in a while, warn people that the next thing you will say is “really stupid”, then go ahead and say what you really think. This little trick has a few effects: it removes pressure, gives you license to say anything, disrupts commonsense, and possibly can be analysed later for its actual merit or can be combined with other ideas. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  10. 10. 9. Mix Combine half-baked* ideas, join different trains of thought*. Bring together concepts from distant fields. If your brainstorming session seems like a competition, end it. If it feels like a jigsaw puzzle where the picture emerges from the contribution of everyone, you are on the right track. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com> * Here are some metaphors for free
  11. 11. 10. Talk to strangers Find strangers to discuss your problem: literally, people you don’t know, or people from different fields, young children, minorities, etc. Look for people who are willing to build analogies to their expertise and ask them to rephrase your problem in their own terms –listen carefully. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  12. 12. 11. Cultivate diversity Apply this in your team: include different profiles (sp. academic disciplines or professions). Apply it in your life: become interested in a wide range of things, learn languages, travel, read. Pick up a magazine you’ve never opened and read it carefully to learn one new thing about your problem. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  13. 13. 12. Pursue counter- intuition Avoid choosing “consensus” ideas, go for the controversial or those dismissed quickly. Pick them up andanalyse their worth: it’s there, it’s just probably not easy to grasp. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  14. 14. 13. Sacrifice a sacred cow Select the most “sacred” idea around the problem or the company. Then question it, trash it, reverse it, dismiss it. This works when it reveals an insight about the problem. Usually sacred beliefs made sense in the past but conditions change. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  15. 15. 14. Never become an expert Experience is valuable, except when you trust it. Always question previous experiences and never, ever, think of yourself as an expert. Experts believe they shouldn’t learn anything, and believe me… we are all ignorant! Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>
  16. 16. 15. Avoid creativity books Or websites, or experts. Become creative about your own creativity. Adapt techniques to your context, better yet invent new ones that work for you. Dr. Ricardo Sosa <sosa.ricardo@gmail.com>

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