Friday, February 01, 2008

Creativity: Interview with Alan Black

If you want to be more creative and innovative in your business you will enjoy part three of an intriguing interview with creativity guru, Robert Alan Black.

Is creativity good for the bottom line?

I have been doing a "Meet the Pro" session for the National Speakers Association for several years with the title, "Do I have to be creative to be a professional speaker?"

The answer is....only if you want to be paid and asked back.

Yes there are companies who are "Me Too's" who copy the market leaders and succeed or have in the past. Yes there are companies who are creative for a short while and then ride their fame and brand for many years. But suddenly introduce true competition and the staid and true will flounder.

The history of business and industry is filled with examples of the creative wiping out the regular. Joel Arthur Barker in the 1980s became famous for his writing and talks about PARADIGM BUSTING and shared many, many examples of creative solutions that hurt established companies or even put them completely out of business.

What are the associated risks of creativity?

Possible failure, the loss of face, loss of security, fear of failure and/or fear of loss.

What are the differences between creativity, innovation and creative problem solving?

My working definitions are these:
Creativity equals the generation of new ideas or new combinations of old ideas.

Innovation is the improvement or advancement of existing things and ideas.
Some people define innovation as the practical application of creativity

Creative problem solving whether using simple single step tools to elaborate multi-stage, step or level processes is the application of a combination of open-ended (divergent) thinking and focused/narrowing/closed (convergent) thinking. Also it can include the willingness to try the unknown, to wander, to guess, to explore to go where no one has ever gone before.

How should a company encourage creativity?

I encourage my clients and audiences to begin a basic comprehensive system that is summed up in the acronym S.P.R.E.A.D. creative thinking.

Support creative thinking as often and in as many different ways as you can in all employees
Promote creative thinking everywhere in every department at least a percentage of the time (15%....3M is famous for ex CEO 1940s McKnight for this Rule).
Recognize and Reward people for their creative thinking whether successful or not.
Encourage all people to use creative thinking before the closed down on a workable solution. One way a supervisor or manager can begin to do this is to begin asking for 6 possible ideas every time until people automatically generate 6. Then move up to 12. Then repeat this until it is second nature and continually move the quantity up to 144 and more.
Apply creative thinking in meetings, in gatherings in casual discussions at lunch time at breaks. Deliberately take a percentage of every meeting and devote it to open ended creative thinking.

Develop creative thinking skills, styles and tools in people through books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, workshops, training programs often


Learn more about Robert Alan Black

George Torok

Host of Business in Motion

Motivational Business Speaker

Creative Facilitation

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