Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of argues that creativity is like any skill, it must first be learned and then practiced.

Finding Time for Creativity

Some people have what might be termed a ‘creative temperament’. These people are particularly motivated in finding new ideas and they might spend more time than others looking for them. They take pleasure in being creative in their decision making and they enjoy any success brought to them by that creativity.

But it is a mistake to believe that creativity is only for people with these talents. The formal techniques of lateral thinking and its formal techniques can be learned and employed by anyone, in the same way that everyone can learn and use maths in their daily lives. Some people will be better than others at creativity, but that applies for any skill.

You cannot be certain of finding a great idea by being creative. But as your skill grows, it will become increasingly likely that interesting ideas will follow, and these will eventually include some great ideas.

There is always a risk in creativity. You might delay using an adequate and routine solution while you are looking for a better one. This is a question of strategy and time pressures. You can allocate some time to creativity, and then revert to the routine solution if your creative thinking has not been successful. It is a matter of using your judgment and decision making skills. But there is never a reason not to try creative thinking.

Using a new creative idea could be costly and that might lessen its appeal. You should assess the costs against the potential rewards of putting the idea into practice. Once again, you must use your judgment to decide which ideas are likely to succeed and work out the potential income from these ideas.

Prepare yourself to be creative at any time. You might be taking part in a meeting and see that a new approach is necessary, so then you can use creativity to seek such an approach. Make the effort in a formal creative session designed to produce new ideas.

It can be very effective to allocate some fixed time to creative effort, but make sure that creativity is used only during this designated time. When time is set aside for creativity, the habits and techniques of creative thinking are more easily developed because you will be reluctant to waste that time. Individual thinking time is important, as well as group sessions. Sometimes in a group session, there is a tendency to react to others instead of thinking creatively and making decisions yourself.

About the author
Edward de Bono is the world's leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the teaching of thinking as a skill.