The CREATE process was developed to optimise the creativity of both individuals and teams. I use it when I am working alone and want to maximise my creative capacity. I also use it when working with teams of people or with individual clients. Let me explain the acronym:
|T||The Funny Side|
This is the first in a series of 3 blog posts examining the CREATE process, considering the practical use of C and R.
C is for Cosmos. The choice of word is deliberate in that it represents moving to a ‘different world’ – a world that is away from the hurly-burly of the day-to-day operations of your business. It is important to create the right environment for creativity and innovation to emerge. Moving to a different Cosmos tells you, both consciously and at the level of the other-than-conscious mind, that this is going to be different to what you were just doing.
Often the changes needed to move to the ‘different world’ are tangible, are physical, but the intent is to affect changes in the intangible, in the mind and mood of the subject or team. Obvious things such as logging off from email, switching off the mobile, and putting on the right ‘mood music’ (for me it is often the highlights of an opera) come to mind. I also often move away from my usual work location, at my desk in front of my laptop, in favour of a comfortable sofa or perhaps I will grab a pen and notepad and embark upon a riverside or country walk. If I am particularly organised I might swap the notepad and pen for my dictation machine. One technique I used quite frequently when writing ‘Dance with the Elephants’ was one I learned many years ago and adapted to increase my writing creativity. The concept of ‘job and done’ was that one completed the tasks that needed to be done that day and then ‘knocked off’ or finished for the day. In my case, I analysed my ‘to-do’ list and identified only the ‘must-do’ items. My bargain with myself was to complete the required tasks and then spend the rest of the day on my book – thinking, planning and capturing trains of thought that could later be turned into draft text. Responding to the immediate needs of my business meant my ‘work day’ usually ended after 3pm (sometimes well after), leaving me perhaps a few hours ‘creative time’, but it is surprising how much creativity can be squeezed out of as little as thirty minutes.
R is for Roster. It is the process of carving time out of the diary in order to be creative. It is important to ensure that not only is the time allocated within your schedule, but that you also respect the time allocated. It is so easy (I write from personal experience) to schedule time to work creatively on a task, but then continue doing email at the start of your roster of creative time. Before you know it, the 90 minutes you scheduled is down to 60 because you just wanted to clear the in-box! Or you fail to switch off your mobile, and half way through your creative time you get a call or a text (they are always immediate but not necessarily important).
If you have people around you, tell them in advance that you are going to have a period when you will not be available because you will be working creatively on something. If you don’t have people around, then email some people you know to tell them about your creative time. Do whatever you can to publically commit to your creative time, and let your public commitments help you to adhere to getting the best out of your planned creative time.
When you have actually honoured your commitment to your creative roster, give yourself a treat, a reward, a gift that recognises and reinforces your achievement. Think about telling others about the outputs from your creative time, increasing your commitment to those outputs. Better still, tell them – don’t just think about telling them.
One tip I will share with you about Roster is to not schedule too long a period of time to be in the creative mode. I have found 90 minutes to two hours is about right. Over two hours is too long for many reasons. These include the fact that we do still have businesses that require our attention and decisions, the creative process can actually be quite tiring, and after two hours you have other bodily needs to attend to.