Creativity can be taught

by. Erin Templer

Scott Isaksen told the crowd at CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange last week that creativity can be taught. That really stood out for me. President of Creative Problem Solving Group, senior fellow of its Creative Research Unit and a Professor II of leadership and organizational behavior at the Norwegian Business School, Isaksen explained the idea further by defining the difference between creativity and innovation.

Creativity is the making and communicating of meaningful new connections and insights.

Innovation is the transformation of these ideas and insights into deliverable business results.

Isaksen said, “You can have creativity without innovation, but you can’t have innovation without creativity. Innovation requires the deliberate management of the creative process.”

Innovation requires the deliberate management of the creative process. That rang through my head again and again as I truly let it settle in. I’ve always associated creativity with free spiritedness, a lack of restrictions or guidelines, a go-with-the-flow attitude. It seemed counterintuitive at first.

Then Isaksen shared with us that people aren’t either creative or not-creative. You can deliberately develop creativity skills. In fact, by using trained creative problem-solving facilitators, as he called them, you can raise ideation productivity by 400-600 percent.

The 10 key practices for deliberately managing the creative process are:

  1. Providing positive feedback, recognition, and rewards for creativity
  2. Developing innovation facilitators, ambassadors, or catalysts
  3. Holding regular opportunity/threat workshops
  4. Raising awareness of the need for creative collaboration
  5. Looking outside your industry for other possible best practices
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