Do you know your creative thinking style?

  • Do you like the big picture or the detail?
  • Are you a muser or a yeller in brainstorms?
  • Do you like structure and order or do you prefer to push boundaries?
  • Do you like to share your ideas immediately or do you prefer to noodle for a while, before you share your thinking?
  • Do you like to take risks?
  • Do you have 100’s of ideas that fall out of your mouth in a torrent of half-formed sentences or do you have one or two well-formed ideas?

Did you know that you have preferences in relation to creativity and the way you think about problems, just like you do with anything else? Different styles can lead to different approaches to challenges and therefore different ideas. As the legendary Paul Arden said: “It’s not WHAT you think, it’s HOW you think.” Research has shown that diversity of teams and thinking styles is key to creativity and high performing teams know how to harness this.

At Now Go Create we are trained in a tool called the VIEW which assumes that everybody is creative and it asks the question: How and in what ways are you creative? This is different to many approaches to creativity where people consider the question: How creative am I? It’s often talked about as something that you could perhaps score out of ten or say: “I’m on fire, average or terrible.” Often people say to us at the start of training “but I’m not very creative.” We set out to tackle this head-on and help people understand that everyone is creative in different ways. Often this lack of creative confidence has been brought on by a specific incident at some point either personally or professionally in the past or simply eroded by being in brainstorms and being talked over, ignored or knocked down.

Some of the key insights are around how you approach novelty and problems as well as how you work with others. You will have a preference towards what’s called the Explorer or the Developer style. It asks questions like:

  • How do you prefer to deal with boundaries, parameters, and authority?
  • How do you feel about and react to structure?
  • How do you prefer to respond to novel challenges?
  • When do you share your thinking?

These insights can have a profound effect on the way you conduct brainstorms, facilitate creativity and approach problems yourself. When I first took the assessment as part of the MA into Creativity and Leadership I changed my approach to brainstorm facilitation and training the very next day as I realised that my own preferences in terms of creative tools and process were not necessarily those of the rest of the group! The session was far more productive as a result.

Next time you’re planning a session consider the different types of thinkers in the room. You won’t know how everyone thinks but you should assume there’ll be a mix of people. So, have a variety of tools, use open and closed questions and problem statements, break people into smaller groups and if you want to push the ideas to the next level, ask the group what would happen if you took more risks, if you want to ground the ideas, ask the group how to make the ideas more workable. These are all skills we teach on our most popular creativity training & we’re running open creativity workshops in London in November.

Contact lucy@nowgocreate.co.uk to find out more. Written by Claire Bridges, Founder Now Go Create. Link up with Claire on Google+

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