“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”
—Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Dr. Seuss”
I was perusing my Creative Whack Pack from Roger von Oech this morning and came across these little gems. Here are five creative tools you can use to move yourself and your team further down the path toward implementing a new idea. (These are re-written and enhanced from original ideas found in the Creative Whack Pack.)
1 – Believe in Yourself and Your Team
You are more likely to be able to implement an idea if you deeply and sincerely believe that you can do it. Whether it’s changing the way you speak in order to change the way you think, or writing out with extreme clarity the benefits of the proposed new idea, you must believe and help your team believe that you can do it. Look for ways to deepen and strengthen your belief.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
“What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.”
If you think you are creative, you will be creative. As you think, so you are.
Ask yourself and/or your team:
- In what ways are we creative?
- What about our beliefs is preventing us from being more creative (or implementing this new idea)?
- How can we change our beliefs to help us become more creative (or implement the new idea)?
2 – Be Persistent
When faced with obstacles to implementing an idea, remember that persistence pays off. Here’s a fun take on this from T. C. Hamlet:
Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
Or so I’ve heard it told:
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold.
“Oh, what’s the use?”, croaked Number 1,
“Tis fate no help’s around.
Goodbye my friends!, Goodbye sad world!”
And, weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise,
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim a while, at least,” he said,
Or so I’ve heard he said:
“It really wouldn’t help the world
If one more frog were dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter;
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked,
Then hopped out via butter!
—T.C. Hamlet, in Frogs in Cream
Ask yourself and your team:
- Generally speaking, how persistent are we? As individuals? As a team?
- In what situations is our persistence likely to pay off the most? In these situations, what prevents you/us from being more persistent? How might I/we remove some of those obstacles?
3 – Fight for It
Whether simply proposing a new idea or preparing to implement one, you must expect to encounter obstacles. This is especially true for radical ideas. New ideas are often met with resistance — don’t be surprised by this. Call on your inner warrior to help you prepare for a world with its defenses up. Use your warrior to help you do what’s necessary to make your idea a reality. Remember Yoda’s caution about trying:
“No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”
—Yoda, Jedi Warrior
…and the words of these other “fighters” for vision, and love, and a good chuckle:
“Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?”
“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder—or impossible—to lose.”
—Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride
“Never let go of a good thing without a fight. Especially if that good thing is a pair of boxing gloves.”
Thinking about your implementation, ask yourself and your team:
- What resistance should we expect?
- How might we prepare ourselves for this?
- What steps can we take today to help us overcome these?
4 – Flex Your Risk Muscle
Take more risks. Be calculating about it, sure. But take more risks. If you’re hitting the bullseye every time, you’re way too close to the target.
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Look for opportunities to stretch your “risk muscle”. Keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don’t, it will atrophy and you will find yourself less able to take chances.
Ask yourself and your team:
- How can we take more chances?
- How might we strengthen our risk muscle?
5 – Get Support
Roger von Oech suggests: “One reason gypsies have a good health record is the role the family plays in establisihing a positive health environment. When a gypsy gets sick, it’s common for six or eight others to accompany her to the doctor. Such family participation provides not only a support system for the ill member, it also creates a high expectancy for getting well.”
Consider this when encouraging creativity: it is easier to be creative when the envrironment around you is conducive to creativity—when it both supports and expects new ideas.
Think about your work environment and your ability to implement new ideas. Ask yourself and your team Keep-Stop-Start questions of this nature:
- What in our current environment supports creative ideas and the implementation of those ideas? (Keep these enablers.)
- What in our environment gets in the way of creativity and the implementation of new ideas? (Stop these things, remove these obstacles.)
- What could we do to change our environment such that it (a) supports new ideas and (b) expects them? (Start implementing these right away.)
Many thanks to Roger von Oech and his Creative Whack Pack. I hope I didn’t distort his ideas too much and that you find this re-cap of them useful. Now stop reading and go implement some of your ideas.
For innovative and creative ideas on how to improve the performance of your team or organization, contact us.