Skip to main content

Mind Storm

Creativity in business is a funny thing. We all pay lip service to how important it is - but when times are tight and money is short we tend to pull up the drawbridge and say 'We can do without all this new-fangled innovation. While we're in trouble we need to stick with what we know.'

In reality, of course, this is absolute tosh. The very time when you need to be most creative as a business is when things are difficult. But it's understandable that, in times of financial stress, you don't necessarily want to spend lots of money to train people in being more creative.

There's an assumption in that previous sentence, of course. I'm taking it for granted that there is benefit in training people in creativity. I hope there's no doubt about the need for creativity. If everything around you stayed exactly the same, then you could carry on as you have before and thrive. But the fact is that the environment (financial and physical) is changing. Your customers are changing. Your competitors and your industry are changing. Techology is changing. You need creativity for new ideas, and you need it to solve problems. I think it's no exaggeration to say that in this environment, creativity is nothing less than a survival essential. It's a case of be creative or go to the wall.

However, is there any point in training people in creativity? Haven't they either got it or not? And what can you possibly do? Give them a pot of paint and say 'Get creative?'

In fact, there is a huge point. Everyone can be creative, but most of us suppress that natural ability. We block it in ourselves and in others. We're great at doing this. (If you doubt that statement, next time you are in a meeting, watch out for someone coming up with an idea, then see how everyone else finds reasons why it won't work.) And in the last few decades practical techniques have been developed that will enable anyone to come up with a much richer pool of ideas, and help them to develop and implement those ideas effectively. We're not talking about airy-fairy conceptual creativity, but down-to-earth, practical tools that solidly deliver ideas and problem solutions.

So, creativity training, good - cost of creativity courses, bad. If your business has the money, I would still get yourself a proper course. You can't beat the interaction with a good creativity trainer to get people up and running with creativity quickly. But if the budget doesn't run to it, I've put together a simple, self-managed 25 module course in the form of a PDF ebook called Mind Storm that won't break the budget at £19.99.

To get a better feel about what's involved, the first chapter of the book is available to download for free - or you can find out more details and purchase the full course here.

I really think, given the current conditions, any business that isn't doing something about its creativity is asking for trouble.


  1. It's great that you have done this. People are forever telling me that they're "not creative" and it drives me nuts. Actually, I have developed a power point presentation, which I'm also turning into a series of articles, called Literature for Social Change. It's based on how my novel led me to the founding of my writing workshop in Cambodia, but actually, it is about how creativity can not only be taught but more importantly, that those skills are transferable to the outside world. Good luck with this latest effort of yours!

  2. Thanks, Sue.

    I do a lot of creativity work with small and large businesses and one thing I always go through is the ways we block creativity. The first of these is people believing they aren't creative. The trouble with this is it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you aren't creative then you won't be.

    This seems to be primarily because you are then hugely self-critical of your own ideas. You know your ideas are rubbish, because you aren't creative. So you don't mention them or try them.

    Something else I point out that is always happening in business meetings is the way this attitude results in people shooting down their own ideas. So they will say 'It's stupid, but…' or 'I don't suppose it will work, but…' - in an attempt to protect themselves from being laughed at, they actively undermine their own ideas.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope