19 Make Time to Think Creatively

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 19

You should give yourself time to think and innovate.

Exit pursued by bear

Exit pursued by bear

“Exit, pursued by a bear”. 

William Shakespeare – stage direction, in “The Winter’s Tale”.

“Exit, in pursuit of a beer”. 

John Brooker – seeking direction in a Russian winter’s tale.

Last month I was being driven from an airport in Moscow to the hotel. The driver had limited English (though better than my three words of Russian) but was very talkative. As we passed a large advertising hoarding next to a forest he said, “Fifteen years ago my friend’s…” I anticipated a tale of brave heroes “…car was hit by a moose there”.

I laughed. He continued, “In this forest we have moose and er… pork?” “Wild boar?” I suggested. “Da, da, in the forest, moose, pig, but no beer.”

I looked at him, puzzled, I guess no beer would ruin the barbeque and then I translated correctly.

“Ah, BEAR!” He nodded. “Da, da, BEAR. Beer you drink yes?” We both laughed but I wondered, shamefully, if a mouse rather than a moose had hit his friend’s car!

During the ongoing very slow journey, the “moose, pork and beer” trilogy triggered off the memory of a game called Giants, Wizards and Goblins that I use in some workshops. Some of you have played it. For those who haven’t, it is similar to the children’s game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” but acted out with the body.

In the game, Giants kill Wizards, Wizards kill Goblins and Goblins kill Giants, so it shouldn’t take you too much effort to see how the new words might fit with customer service.

Being in the process of designing a team workshop with the theme of customer service, I thought it would be fun to include this game, but wanted to make it relevant to the theme. Like “pork” and “boar” I toyed with the words, and came up with Clients (Giants), Whizz Kids (Wizard managers) and Gobbies (Goblin like staff). For those who may not know, “Gobby” is an English slang word for someone who talks too much.


Thinking further, I wondered what it was that had led me to this new idea. Essentially there were two things:

  • I had time in the car to think and I was relaxed
  • The driver set my mind off on a new train of thought

The lessons for me are that we need to:

  • Make time for thinking, but this is difficult, so we need to make use of “dead time” (commuting etc) to relax and begin to play with ideas. However mobile communications now do a good job of filling that time, so we have to force ourselves to use it creatively
  • Expose ourselves to different environments and be open to people so that it can spark creative thinking. As we say in Solutions Focus, the action is in the interaction. Creative thoughts might just arise from a conversation with a complete stranger
  • Make use of some of your dead time this week to play with ideas
  • Make an effort to interact with someone that you would not normally interact with
  • Encourage your colleagues or team to do the above


To Close

I may have had some fun with my Russian driver’s pronunciation, but life turned the tables on me at the end of the week when I had to give out course certificates. Trying to get my English tongue around names from Azerbaijan, Kyrgistan, Uzbekistan and Bulgaria amongst others had the group in fits of laughter and me praying for a quick exit in pursuit of a long chilled “bear”!

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

Yes! And… We facilitate leaders and teams in medium to large organisations internationally to:

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Contact John or Kate Brooker:

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