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Unleashing Your Creative Genius: Touch The Snake

In a brilliant Ted Talk, David Kelly (founder of IDEO, an innovation firm on steroids) shows us how everyone can be a creative genius, it just takes a lot of mini steps.

The analogy he gives is a story from Dr. Albert Bandura (the greatest living psychologist in the world, also born in Mundare Alberta, fact) who is world renown for curing phobias in a radically short period of time, sometimes in 4 hours or less. His secret? He does it in many small steps,working up to the finale, the crux, the thing they’ve always been afraid of.

He’ll bring a patient into his office and tell them there’s a snake in the room next door. The patient obviously thinks it’s ludicrous that they’ll ever go into the snake filled room. He opens a one way mirror to let them see the snake, calms them down. Then opens the door and calms them down. Then into the room, then calms them down. Recognize the pattern?

It’s a series of many steps, over time, they contribute to a major outcome. It’s really how we humans get anything done.

With this process in mind, David encourages everyone that they can be creative and they can come up with novel, unique solutions to problems they never thought were possible before. In small steps, over time, you can be come a genius.

The Greatest Myth About Creativity…

is that it just happens. Creativity is an art form, an unquantifiable, an intangible quality. It’s easy to claim “I am creative” then hide behind “but I have writers block” and not do anything, you’re not creative, you’re lazy.

Creativity does not just happen.  It doesn’t come out of no where at random. Creativity comes from discipline. Creativity only exists within constraints. Once you define the limits of your thinking, then and only then can you explore how far within those limits you can go.

People don’t just “become inspired”, you get inspired when you wake up every morning and create something. When you have a religious discipline for the creative process.  You have bad days and good days, brilliantly creative days and horribly useless days. The most important part isn’t the act of being creative, it’s the fact that no matter what happens the day before, you get up the next day and try again. Creativity is a habit of the relentlessly disciplined.