Coaching Tip – Increasing Creativity

Lightbulb“Imagination is more important than knowledge”- Albert Einstein

Many clients often express a desire to develop personal creativity
. The pressures of living on a day-to-day treadmill may mean that time is spent in coping with demands rather than reflecting in a creative way.

The following are a series of activities that a client can engage in to assist them increase creative thought.
Time to Reflect
Creativity is unlikely to happen while an individual is rushing around preoccupied with usual daily activities. Therefore clients need to block out time on both a daily and weekly basis simply to reflect on life. In addition to creating time clients can also be encouraged to use existing dead time (such as when travelling on trains) to develop the art of day dreaming allow the individual’s thoughts that are out of conscious awareness to surface. Safety is crucial so clients need to bear such factors in mind when engaging in this activity – for example, daydreaming is not recommended when driving.

Use your Imagination
Visualisation is a useful technique and clients can be trained to use this ability to vision what it is he or she wants to achieve.  It is important that the client does not apply logical analysis of whether the ideas will work until he or she has fully experienced the full range of images, thoughts and feelings associated with the visualisation exercise.

Listen to Music
Research has shown that various types of music such as classical music and in particular Mozart have had an effect on increasing creativity and thinking ability.  Therefore the client could be encouraged to listen to music during his or her reflective time.  Portable CD players now make it possible to listen to music while travelling and there the client can be exposed to the benefits of music throughout the day.

Generate Many Ideas
The more ideas an individual can generate the more likely the chances of finding a winner.  Therefore the client needs to be encouraged to carry a journal around with them in which to note down ideas and thoughts.

Become Curious
Creativity tends to be assisted by stimulation so a client needs to be encouraged to stretch and stimulate him or herself.  For example joining evening classes or groups for even short-term courses or activities on subjects that would not normally be considered.

Laughter is not only good for stress relief but it can also help ideas to flow more freely.

Random Words
This is a method developed by Edward De Bono (1992) and is a powerful lateral-thinking technique. De Bono called it the “Out of Context” technique. The associations of a word generate new connections in our mind, often producing an insight or intuition.

Random inputs can be words or images. Some techniques for getting random words (and the words should be nouns) are:

  • Have a bag full of thousands of words written on small pieces of paper, cardboard, poker chips, etc. Close your eyes, put in your hand and pull out a word.
  • Open the dictionary (or newspaper) at a random page and choose a word.

Once you have chosen the word, list its attributions or associations with the word. Then apply each of the items on your list and see how it applies to the problem at hand.

This exercise works because De Bono works on the principle that the brain is a self-organising system, and very good at making connections. Almost any random word will stimulate ideas on the subject.

Applied Imagination
Alex Osborn (1953) developed a technique where the client thinks of an idea he or she asks a set of questions around the following headings.

Put to other uses
New ways to use as is or modify?

What else is like this? What other idea does this suggest?

New twist? Change meaning?

What to add? More time? Greater frequency?

Make Smaller
What to subtract? Smaller? Condensed?

Who else instead? What else instead? Other ingredient?

Interchange components? Other layout? Other sequence?

Transpose positive and negative? How about opposites? Turn it backward?

How about a blend? an assortment?, combine units?