Creating an Innovative Mind: People

Creating an Innovative Mind:  People

This is my first post in a three post series on becoming creative.

Where do innovative people come from? Why did Thomas Edison become one of the greatest innovators in history? Was Steve Jobs born an innovator? Was it his Serbian culture that caused Nikola Tesla to become a creative genius? Was it genetics that made Bill Gates succeed? Was it the revolutionary environment that sparked Benjamin Franklin’s thinking? Or is it just the opposite? Why are some people not creative?

All humans are designed to be creative. We are all pre-wired for creativity. To me that is a simple fact (and reinforced by David Eagleman, author of The Runaway Species).

However, some of us think that we are not creative. Why is it that some people seem to exude creativity while others struggle with it or even avoid it? I have heard some people say that they are not very creative. This amazes me! Since I am convinced that everyone is creative it makes me think that something happened in the past to suggest and reinforce this false belief among some individuals.

Could it be that others around us did not encourage creativity or perhaps our environment has restricted the creative notion in some. I have often considered that larger and larger class sizes in our schools may have contributed to this non-creativity belief. As class sizes have risen teachers have had to resort to more classroom control instead of allowing individual creativity. This is understandable as we do not want to encourage Johnny to bang the drum during nap time or to have Jenny painting a picture in the middle of a soccer match. I think that the larger the number of students in a class, the greater the desire for teachers to have all of the students to participate in the same activities at the same time putting an emphasis on managing students over enriching them. This process focused thinking may have contributed to the restriction of creativity. Or perhaps we experienced failure and so we retreated from trying?

Regardless of the cause of this non-creativity self-assessment some of us have managed to break free of the standard learning process to embrace our inner creative self. If you think that you are not creative I think that there is something you can do about it.

Start by collecting the raw materials of creative thought. Stimulus through our varied senses is that raw material. Having rich full lives, full of a diverse range of experiences, is an important first step in creating a creative mind. The more stimulating inputs that you can collect as part of your life experience the more creative raw material you will have. When looking to add to your raw material database think in terms of people, places, and pondering. People are a rich source of diverse experiences. Places allow us to perceive space in a different way which can prompt our thoughts in new ways. How we ponder what we learn can affect the outcome of our thinking. By immersing yourself in the universe of life, you will be immersing yourself in the raw materials of creativity and innovation.

People. People are an amazing source of inspiration. If you want to build your life experiences then meeting, listening and interacting with the great diversity of humanity is a great place to begin. You can start with those who are around you at this very moment. Get to know the people you work with. Ask them about themselves. Ask them about their goals, their perspectives on the world, their politics, their preferences, their culture. Ask people questions and listen, really listen to what they have to say. You will learn a lot.

But, don’t stop there. Talk to the clerk at the checkout counter. Talk to server in the restaurant. Talk to the Uber driver. Talk to the receptionist. Talk to the hotel cleaning staff. Talk to the security guard. There are many opportunities to add to the raw materials of your life. Learning their stories or learning about where they come from and what they think will provide you with many opportunities to consider other ways of looking at what challenges you and maybe provide insight in to other ways to meet these challenges.

You can also meet people online through social media or by simply researching about them. You can read about famous people like Mozart, Hitler or Anne Frank and gain insights into their worlds. You can learn about characters from works of fiction, movies or even cartoons. Characters such as Bilbo Baggins, Iron Man, Tinkerbelle or even those innovative kids Phineas and Ferb.

Use every method at your disposal and you will be rewarded with a vast knowledge that will add to your life experiences and contribute to the raw materials that you can use in your creative, innovation activities.
Are people born creative or is there a process that created them? Is this a trait found in our DNA or are we a product of our education? Do you think creativity comes from the schools that we attended or that teacher who made a special connection with us? I think it comes from the stimulus of our lives.

What do you think?

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