The CREATE process – blog post 3 of 3

get creativeA process for creativity – post 3 of 3

This is the final post of this series covering the CREATE process which 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 once more:

C Cosmos
R Roster
E Enhance
A Assurance
T The Funny Side
E Emancipated

Posts 1 and 2 covered C to A, so let’s finish with T and E.

Funny sideT is for The Funny Side. Seeing the funny side, being unafraid to be humorous, keeping the mood light and playful, all give access to the quickest and most effective ways of moving into the creative mode. Often we limit the use of humour because we regard it as inappropriate when discussing important, weighty, serious matters. So often we confuse seriousness with solemnity, but it is wrong to equate seriousness and solemnity. I would argue that solemnity is the defence of the pompous and self-important, who need to protect against their egotism being punctured by humour. Humour might impact their self-image. The lack of humour is used by them to argue they are more serious, and their arguments therefore carry more weight.

In reality, humour is an essential part of innovation, of playfulness, of creativity. Enabling the introduction of humour is a vital component of the process of innovation. Creativity lives and thrives on the funny side. Seeing the funny side may be a little more difficult when working individually, but it is just as important as it is when working in teams. When I am working individually and want to be able to see the funny side, I find a mirror is helpful. It is not about vanity; it is a mechanism to check if I am seeing the funny side. The mirror reminds me that I should be smiling, smirking, laughing out loud. The visual evidence shows me whether or not I am being effective at accessing the funny side. 🙂 or 😦 in the mirror?

E is for Emancipated. This goes to the heart of fully engaging ourselves as creative individuals and to getting maximum creativity from groups. Emancipation is defined as ‘being not limited socially or politically’. So why choose this word? Let me start by linking back to the funny side. The emancipated see no limit to what is regarded as humorous on the funny side. Their humour mocks convention, attacks widely held taboos, and can be regarded as shocking by more conventional people. This is my point. True creativity lies beyond the boundaries of conventional wisdom, of the rules of society, of what we regard as normal behaviour.

The same emancipation applies in the earlier Enhance step. There should be no limit imposed by conventional wisdom on how far our ideas can be enhanced and stretched. Often when the idea is stretched as far as the absurd, new ideas and new thoughts emerge that would not have been considered within the boundaries of what is regarded conventionally as acceptable.

creativity-takes-courageIt is clear to me that pushing the boundaries, stretching the ideas, going as far as the absurd are actually the keys to accessing true creativity. I also recognise, particularly in group situations, that this can be a fairly daunting, anarchic and maybe even dangerous activity. Walking the tightrope that balances accessing the absurd on the one hand and moderating the impact of doing so on the other is challenging. Walking this tightrope is a learnable skill.

Having a skilled observer, facilitator and interventionist to help a group to navigate their way through this process of creativity is, without doubt, helpful. Be sure that whoever fulfils this role has the right focus. You want someone who is focused on future possibility, on creativity and on pushing the boundaries. You don’t want somebody taking on this role mainly owing to their past experiences, as these may lead to a limiting framework. I have a lot of respect for mentors, but the CREATE facilitator role is not for them as their strengths derive from their previous experience. Far better to choose a skilled coach whose focus will be on you and your future possibilities.

I wish you good fortune using the CREATE process. Have curiosity, have courage and have fun!