A Tip for Tapping Your Creativity

Creativity is a much needed skill today, whether in your business, your club, your home, your life. We are ALL creative, truly, this is a great way to tap into your own unique creativity.

Children love to play. To them, everything is a game. And if you watch them play, one of their favorite games is “Yes, and…” This is a game where kids fully use their imagination. The game starts with the first kid concocting a scenario. Let’s say, making your fingers into a gun, pointing it at another person and saying, “I’m zapping you with my laser beam.” The next person then says, “Yes, and…” and builds on what the previous person said. So, the second child may say, “yes, and… I am wearing my mirror suit so that it bounces back at you.” And the game continues going back and forth between two or more children. Very simple, and the game can go on for hours.

Interestingly, if you watch adults play this game, they are more likely to respond with “yeah, but” rather than “yes, and.” Instead of contributing back, they shoot down the previous idea. So, if the first adult makes his fingers into a gun, points it at his friend, and says, “I’m zapping you with my laser beam,” the next adult would probably fall over and say, “I’m dead”. Not much of a contribution, and the game would end quite quickly. Adults often see all of the reasons why things won’t work. They put the “NO” in innovation.

So, be a kid, and keep the play alive. Therefore, the next time you have a problem to solve, like inventing the next hot design for a toilet, try this game. Have one person throw out the first idea, and then continue with, “Yes, and…”, building on the previous idea. The key is to answer quickly and avoid thinking too much. Top-of-head answers tend to tap into a part of the brain we don’t use during our normal thinking process. And be sure that your answer is a contribution. It should build on what the previous person said rather than invalidate it.

You will develop many new ideas over the course of play. Many of the ideas will be duds. But don’t worry. Play with it. Have fun. You never know when a real gem will be found. After all, it is only a game. And over time, this will become a normal mode of operating. You will become the master at breakthrough thinking on a regular basis by building on the ideas of others.

Dan Pink says in his book, A Whole New Mind “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate.”

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