Wick Communications

Making yourself creative

In Innovation on 15 Mar 2013 at 9:18 am

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 1.29.21 PM

Compare these equations:

5+5 = ?

?+? = 10

They add up the same. The first one prescribes a single answer. The second one, however, has an infinite set of possibilities.

“This is profound because the way you ask the question determines the answers you’ll get. The answer is usually baked into the question,” said Tina Seelig, a professor at Stanford’s famed Design School during a presentation on creativity recently. (I pulled the quote and other stuff from the Stanford Journalism Department’s Peninsula Press.)

So, what does this have to do with you? Well, Seelig says this kind of rethinking of old problems is the key to unlocking your creativity. We could all be more creative.

I confess that for my entire career I have thought of writing most news stories as a matter of putting together the puzzle pieces. I even use that terminology sometimes. Seelig says I have it exactly wrong.

“True innovators, true entrepreneurs, really creative people are not puzzle solvers,” Seelig said in her lecture. “They are quilt makers. They basically leverage all the resources they have and put them together to come up with something that’s actually much more interesting and much better.”

Incidentally, Seelig identified six creative inputs: Imagination, attitude, and knowledge, which are all internal things, and outside influences including culture, resources and habitat. …

It’s fun to think about these things. Try looking at your next assignment in a different light. Start at the end and work backward.



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