January 28, 2014 by Jeff James, Vice President & General Manager, Disney Institute
Fast Company recently shared “4 Ways to Find Inspiration Everywhere” and this quote from Christina E. Shalley, Ph.D., organizational behavior professor at Georgia Institute of Technology: “Everybody can be creative in certain ways. You need to find that outlet that brings it out in you.”
At Disney Institute, we, too, believe that everyone is creative. Below we share our perspective to add to these “4 Ways to Find Inspiration Everywhere.”
1. Challenge your preconceived notions.
We are all creative…the problem is that we spend a great deal of time fostering the left hand side of our brains with things like words and language, logic, numbers, reality based ideas and paying strong attention to the details. If we spend some time also fostering the right side of our brain, we move to whole brain thinking which is ultimately more creative. Spend some time with your imagination, using symbols and images rather than language, taking risks and looking at the "big picture" to nurture your right brain. The two sides together are a pretty powerful tool because they were designed to work together.
Remember that creativity is not always about the "big ideas." The biggest majority of the creative work you can do today is around incremental improvements that arise from the creativity surrounding the projects you are working on daily.
2. Plan creativity-stoking sessions.
When you are thinking up new ideas, there are some conditions that must be met in order to achieve the best results. You have to have great raw ingredients and these include the people that you invite to a creativity session (maybe its the unlikely folks who attend) and the information that is provided about the session itself. You must also have great tools to utilize in the creation process. Look for new ways to brainstorm, like “pass the paper” and “pick a card.” Finally if there isnt trust within the organization, its difficult to come up with the best ideas. Foster trust each day in your organization so when it comes time to have those creative sessions, everyone feels comfortable contributing.
3. Change up routine regularly.
Dont always invite the same people to ideation sessions. Mix it up! In fact, if you allow people in your organization to self select in and out of the creative process youll get ideation sessions where everyone in the room is excited to give ideas. Bring people into your creative process that youve never included before; it really builds your organization. All of a sudden, you have a big group of people who have worked in creative sessions in a cross functional way learning more about other parts of the organization. When they get back to your department, they are more knowledgeable about what everyone in the organization does and can bring that new expertise to your part of the organization.
4. Find what creates mind space for you.
Ideas from external sources to your organization will provide an environment where you are open to ideas coming from anywhere. This includes social media, other organizations like yours, other industries or trade publications that might not be your trade. Sometimes it might be talking to people. Talk to your customers to get raw feedback about your products and services to inspire you to think differently about what you do every day.
What inspires you to think differently?