Yes! And® Blog

9 Be Lucky, Be Creative

YES! AND… Facilitate, Innovate, Transform – Creative Gorilla# 9 How can you be lucky and creative? “If an unlucky man sold umbrellas, it would stop raining. If he sold candles, the sun would never set; and if he made coffins, people would stop dying.” Yiddish saying quoted in “The Luck Factor by Professor Richard Wiseman This week I am running a course in Togo. It’s a hot, humid place; livid with mosquitoes eating Brooker Thermidor and my hotel is listed by the Foreign Office as being in a dangerous area. So am I unlucky to be here? Well, I swim in an Olympic sized pool every morning, the food is good, my co – instructor left me a good bottle of wine and the trainees are warm and welcoming. I figure I’m pretty lucky to be here and with that attitude, Professor Wiseman in his book (click the link in the quotation above) says that I am likely to be a lucky person. Great, but what has that to do with creativity? The book outlines how you can make yourself lucky in a few simple steps. As I read the book I can’t help notice the similarities between the characteristics of creative people and the lucky people described in the book. Take his Principle One (and sub principles): “Maximise your chance opportunities…lucky people create notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their life. They network well, have a relaxed attitude and are open to new experiences”. Substitute “creative” for “lucky” and you could read that in any book on creativity. Likewise Principle Two: “Listen to your lucky hunches… lucky... read more

6 Overcome Obstacles to Creativity…

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 6  How might you overcome personal obstacles to move your ideas to fruition?  “There are plenty of great ideas out there… but so few people actually do anything about them” Speaker on “Woman’s Hour” BBC Radio 4 Have you ever had a really great idea for work or personal life but not taken it to fruition? The quote above came from a lady speaking on the radio. She sought to sponsor a mature woman writer by offering an idyllic place for them to live and write rent free. She believes that by giving them the chance to get away from their frenetic home environment they can be more creative and productive, that they can produce a book that gets published. Sadly I was half asleep at the time and didn’t catch her name, but she did set me thinking about the variety of obstacles to creativity that exist within organisations but particularly within us.   I have devised the acronym PIGS to categorise these obstacles: Process, Individual, Group, and Structure. [If anyone would like to fatten up the idea, your thoughts are welcome!] For this article, I will focus on individual obstacles to being creative. These include: Premature judgement ~ writing off your ideas before they have a chance to flourish. Step back from judgement, allow the ideas to flow and sleep on them Lack of belief ~ giving yourself “ten reasons why my idea won’t work”. When you find yourself doing this, sit down and list ten reasons why it will work Lack of curiosity ~ accepting the first idea that comes in... read more

5 Clear Your Mind to be Creative

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 5 How can you clear your mind of all those problems whirling round it? “I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed in to my mind,” said Dumbledore…”at these times… I use the Pensieve.” From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling). Do you ever have the feeling Dumbledore has? You have some kind of significant, complex challenge, something you are concerned about and all these pieces of information run around in your brain. Facts, questions, half formed answers, things people have said, ideas, things you said or wished you said, the emotions, endlessly running around in your brain like an iPod on shuffle. Dumbledore’s “Pensieve” is a stone basin in to which he places his excess thoughts and then views them from a distance, to help him analyse them. When I was reading the book it struck me that here was a magical version of the “Essay” technique, a well known creative technique that helps you to explore a nagging problem or opportunity very quickly. The technique is one to which I have added a few “rules” and it seems to help most people, so let me share with you what I am now calling the “Pensieve Technique”. Take a paper pad and a pen (tear yourself away from the keyboard) and write down everything you can about your situation as possible. The rules I have added are: Don’t worry about your spelling (imagine the paper has automatic spell checking), your grammar or the legibility of your writing... read more

4 Create flow and motivate people

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 4  How might you increase motivation in your organisation by creating flow?  We’re in Flow “It’s a Zen feeling, like meditation or concentration.  One thing you’re after is when things become automatic… somehow the right thing is done without your ever thinking about it or doing anything at all… it just happens and you are more concentrated.” Rock climber, quoted in Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning by Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi (“chick SENT me high”). Have you ever felt a similar kind of feeling to that described in the quotation above? Either at work or whilst pursuing a hobby? Csikzentihalyi describes this feeling as flow, which occurs when both challenges and skills are high and equal to each other. I was on holiday in Brittany and reading Csikzentmihalyi’s book (a bit sad, reading business books on holiday!). His description was brought home to me when we watched a Breton band (bagpipes, drums and pipes) in the local square. They were brilliant, really lively music played very well, but I was most struck by their conductor. A small stocky lady, she would conduct when the band played a particularly difficult piece and her conducting was a performance in itself… She conducted with her legs, torso and elbows (you had to be there) and it worked brilliantly, every instrument stopping and starting on time and in beat. As she conducted, she seemed to be transported; a beaming smile on her face. As I watched I thought, “she’s in flow” and the whole band seemed to be in it too. A memorable evening. Cziksentmihalyi states... read more