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The Innovation Blog

Don't just "Think Outside the Box"... Think in New Dimensions

Posted by Jay Terwilliger on May 10, 2013

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Topics: creative, innovative, out-of-the-box, thinking, think different, creative thinking skills

When Do You Come Up with Your Best Ideas?

Posted by Creative Realities on October 6, 2011

Newton did it lounging under an apple tree.  Archimedes did it soaking in a bathtub.  Einstein did it while shaving.  Those are the settings in which these great minds did their best thinking (at least according to legend).  The common theme is that they were in the state of relaxed concentration.  Rather than sit at your desk hammering away at a problem, it is often wise to let your mind wander.  In his terrific book The Element Sir Ken Robinson describes the process: 

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Topics: Chris Dolan, creativity, Ideas, Relaxed Concentration, creative thinking skills

Book Review: Little Bets, Big Insights

Posted by Creative Realities on October 5, 2011

In Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, a fantastic book about the creative process, Peter Sims builds a compelling case for why breakthrough ideas come about as the result of lots of little experiments. Drawing on everything from Chris Rock's method of developing stand up comedy, to the production process of the animation teams at Pixar, to the "HP Way" corporate culture inspired by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, to Frank Gehry's unconventional architecture designs, Sims advocates for a creative process that defies the common understanding of creativity. Sims slays the myth of the creative genius who gets hit with a bolt of inspiration out of nowhere like lightning. Sims argues that, instead, most people who are highly creative achieve success through a constant, deliberate cycle of experimenting, failing, adapting, and fine-tuning.  Here are a few of Sims key insights.

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Topics: Chris Dolan, creativity, Entrepreneurial, creative thinking, breakthrough, creative problem solving skills, creative thinking skills, approximate thinking, developmental thinking, implementation

Why is the sky blue? -- three tips for innovation

Posted by Creative Realities on June 26, 2011


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Topics: Jay Terwilliger, Relaxed Concentration, creative thinking, Innovation, Collaboration, 9 Critical Success Factors, breakthrough innovation, Essentials for Innovation, brainstorming, creative thinking skills, changing the game, connection making

When cars poop #2 -- Innovation skills

Posted by Creative Realities on March 23, 2011

Continuing the conversation about “When Cars Poop” from last week, my goal is to help people think differently, more innovatively, and to have some fun.  Along the way, we’ll introduce some innovation tools and skills.

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Topics: critical ideation skills, creative thinking, Innovation, strategic innovation, creative problem solving skills, brainstorming, creative thinking skills, approximate thinking, sustainability, technical innovation

Haikus for the Soul (the Innovative Soul that is) PART II

Posted by David Culton on September 24, 2010

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Topics: Amanda Hines, critical ideation skills, creative thinking, breakthrough innovation, creative problem solving skills, creative thinking skills, developmental thinking

Wake Up Your Creative Side

Posted by Jay Terwilliger on September 3, 2010

The single biggest myth about creative thinking is that creativity is a gift bestowed upon some people but not others.  We are socialized to believe that there are creative types and non-creative types.  According to a recent Nesweek article The Creativity Crisis, research shows that for the first time American creativity is declining.  The article discusses how our educational system is not
only failing to teach creative thinking to children, but actually stamping their creativity out. Given that the American economy is built on innovation, this is deeply troubling news for the future of business.  Fortunately, creative thinking is a skill that can be flexed and developed just like any other muscle.

The idea that creative thinking is not a natural talent but rather a skill that can be taught is not a new one.  Alex Osborn, known as the “Father of Modern Brainstorming,” was the “O” in the world-renowned advertising agency, BBDO in the mid-1900’s.  As a businessman involved in the business of applied creativity, he sought to learn how creative thinking happened and if it could be broken down into teachable principles.  To learn, he observed the behaviors and techniques of the creative staff of his agency.

In 1948, he published Your Creative Power, presenting the technique of brainstorming. In the 1950’s, along with Sidney Parnes, he developed the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) and cofounded the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), the world's longest running international creativity conference.

His work, along with many others since, has dispelled the Myth of Creativity.  While it is true that many people have a natural talent for creative thinking, the skills and techniques that they use naturally are teachable.  Anyone can become more creative in their thinking and Creative Realities is here to help.

Over the next 10 weeks, The Innovationists will share skills, techniques, and tools that will help you develop your ability to think creatively "on-demand."

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Topics: creativity, myth of creativity, creative thinking, brainstorming, creative thinking skills