Developing Creativity Part 3

November 17, 2006

As mentioned in the previous posts, creativity can be developed and there is a process that governs this.  Mentioned earlier, there are four phases to this – knowledge accumulation, incubation, “eureka” and the implementation/monitoring part.  On a personal note, knowledge accumulation (KA) is the most important of the four, thereby, the focus of this third and last part of the series will be on getting the right knowledge at the right time. KA is actually part of our academic foundation.  Therefore, factors such as school, peers, parents, and other external environment are critical in the building of the right foundation and normally depend on who you want to be in the future when you were a bit younger.  Through a solid academic foundation, different scientific and other theories are learned for proving later in the real world.  These you will have to remember in actual and real situations in the near future, when you are working.  But most of the time, kids are totally clueless of who they want to be or what they want for the future.  So I guess, true knowledge accumulation starts somewhere when you totally know what you want and enjoy doing.  And from this, you would know the type of knowledge you need to acquire. 

 

Personally, learning is much more fun if done in the right context within the right perspective depending on why and how you need the knowledge.  Therefore, you are pushed to learn whenever the need arises as opposed to just accumulating massive information for future use, which is very much dependent on your memory capacity.  Immediate applications of different learnings are a sure way of appreciating intellectual empowerment.  (Though I must admit this may increase the lead time to come up with great ideas.  But then again, since we have new tools to learn things faster, I know we can manage.  I just hope we do things much faster than our counterparts.) However, that is just a one-third of the entire phase.  The second third deals with knowing where to find the right information for you.  There are numerous unconventional channels where one can get the knowledge.  For a marketing guy like me, simple/themed parties/events are just one of the most powerful tools in feeling the market and knowing what they will want next.  Talking to strangers, friends, old acquaintances is another venue for you to get something new to marry with your old thoughts.  In the second part of this series, the mix-and-match strategy plays very importantly in processing these pieces of information as you would normally get in touch with people from different financial and social arenas. 

Another area where you can feel the market would be, where else but the market place – super market, hypermarts, wet markets, flea markets.  Especially if you are working in the FMCG industry, these places would definitely give you the right feel of what’s going on.  These places are filled with the newest finds, the most popular goods, the not-so-loved ones, the old and the new married in one place. Nothing can beat learning through indulging the 5 senses – sight, smell, touch, hear, taste.  Actual experience with these places, products, people reinforces the knowledge accumulated and have the most potential to be used and applied to your workplace or your personal lives.  Who can go wrong with personal experience, as this is not bounded by any limits, standards, except for your own personal lists?  And this makes learning really great!  That’s why, while the Internet provides you almost everything you need, it does not fulfill the smell, touch and taste senses.  And besides, the Internet is so mainstream and you do not even know if it provides you the accurate information.  However, the blog remains to be a popular site to read on since it provides actual experiences of other people.  So with that, it makes blogs more reliable. 

Knowing how to use these accumulated intellectual powers is the third to complete the phase.  While this maybe already touching the second phase, the incubation phase, it definitely plays a big role in directing you to the right sources of information.  It also guides you in screening the information you have just gathered and would help identify the right track towards the third and fourth phase of developing your creativity. Just a few reminders:

  1. Always have something with you to write on.  Use those cellphone SMS inbox of yours and type away relevant experience and information rather than use for nonsense chismisan, etc.
  2. Remember to categorize the entries.  It makes screening so much easier.  Create folder in your SMS inbox for each category.
  3. Please backup your information and transfer them to a more reliable storage area.  Much better if you could print them.
  4. Always review the list daily.  Have a habit of, at least before starting your day, reading one to two entries per category.
  5. Apply the knowledge immediately.
  6. Always have plan A and plan B in using the knowledge.  You will never know, plan B just might work better.

2 Responses to “Developing Creativity Part 3”

  1. dwinnix Says:

    I agree that actual experience is still the best teacher, but applying this in the business parlance can be a waste of time and can be costly too. This is why documenting Best Practices of past experiences has now become a very relevant component of Knowledge Management, because it expedites the learning process – allowing one’s creativity to crop up faster. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Companies would rather hire experienced people, in fact poach them, than build the skill from scratch.

  2. dwinnix Says:

    to clarify, i was in the perspective where the necessary skills and the required or eventual creative outputs pertain to competencies that are not considered core for a company’s operation. in fact, most companies now would resort to outsourcing such non-core activities.

    however, in companies where research and development is considered a core competency or where the primary goal for an activity is to generate radical innovations, then nothing beats first-hand experiences in acquiring the right knowledge.


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