C4: The Creative Explosion

Posted: April 20, 2014 by Jim Friedman in Uncategorized

Jim-FriedmanCreatives are the newest business rock stars.  It wasn’t always that way.   Creativity used to be synonymous with art making.  You were creative if you could paint, write draw, sing or dance.  It’s different now.

IBM asked more than 1,500 CEOs what they believed was the single most important factor they wanted in a new hire.  Their answer?  Creativity.  The world is changing quickly. The future is unsure.  So creativity may be the single most important skill we can teach our students to prepare them for the world after graduation.

But, do we teach creativity?  Do our teachers value it?  Do they know how to foster it or even identify it? Do business executives?  Do you?  It’s not easy.

The question I hear most often from students and professionals – can you really teach creativity?

The short answer is yes… at least, that’s what I have convinced Miami University.  I have the greatest job in the world … I teach creativity in the Farmer School of Business.  It’s kinda like kindergarten for college students.  It’s fun.  But there is an awakening during each semester that is a wonder to behold.

My students are seeking the Creative Explosion.  The C4.  I teach them my own personal concoction, my four-step process that ignites more creative directions… better answers… answers others never consider.

STEP ONE IN THE C4: QUESTIONING.  We practice several questioning heuristics. We ask “why” and “what if.”  We practice asking dumb questions.  We change the question and clarifying the question.  The secret to finding more creative answers is asking better questions.  Questioning is the spark. We find the question no one else is asking.

STEP TWO: SILENCING THE VOJ. At some point during the questioning we hear that voice in our head… that inner critic… that voice of judgment.  You know it.  It says… “That‘s stupid.”  “We can’t do that.”  “They’re gonna turn you down or laugh at you.”  “Stick with something you can actually accomplish.”  This is an important moment in the creative explosion.  You need to shut up that voice.  You need to challenge it.  You need to silence it.  Silencing your VOJ supplies the heat to push beyond your inner idea killer.

STEP THREE: TAKING RISKS.  When you silence that inner voice or judgment, you will naturally take the risk.  More risk, more possibility.  The greater the risk, the greater the reward.

STEP FOUR. CELEBRATE FAILURE.  More risk… more risk of failure.  In the search for the creative direction, failure is good.  Failure is the key to success.  Failure gives the opportunity to ask more, better, different questions.  Failure is the flash.  Failure begins the C4 process again.

It sounds easy but C4 takes work and courage.  Do you have the courage to not choose the first right idea? We are in such a hurry to move projects forward… too afraid to make mistakes that we do what is easy, what is proven.  In other words, we make choices that won’t get us fired.

April 15, 2014 will be Leonardo  da Vinci’s 562nd Birthday.  It will also be the 14th celebration of da Vinci inspired World Creativity and Innovation Week.  WCIW is celebrated in more than 105 communities in 52 countries.  There will be more than a dozen celebrations at Miami University… events, seminars and expressions of the future of creativity in business and entrepreneurship.

It’s an easy question to answer… are you creative?  No matter which way you answer, you are right.  The harder questions to answer…. are you prepared to make creative explosions in your life and your business?  Are you seeking and empowering employees who do?  Have a very Creative Week

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