In my seminars in recent years about creativity I invited a few hundred participants to close their eyes and imagine that they are on the beach at the sea. After ten seconds I ask them to describe what they imagine. Then I ask them to shut down once again their eyes and to imagine for a few tens of seconds that they are on the „planet” Pluto.
Each time, what is remarkable is how similar the descriptions of the inner experiences about beach and sea are among the participants and how different are those related to the ‘Pluto experience.’ Why do you think this happens? Because we were all at the beach and each of our experiences has „sand”, „heat” and „sea water” while none of us had experienced the stepping on the surface of Pluto. What we know about going to the beach is an experience gained, what we know about Pluto is an accumulation of bits of information and different images each of us have seen and heard in the media. In which of the two cases, people show more imagination?
„Imagination is as effortless as perception, unless we think it might be ‘wrong’, which is what our education encourages us to believe” (Keith Johnstone). To think and feel differently is for the innovators and creative people to have different convictions than the common people; they believe in the openness and diversity of thinking. They believe each human being is valuable and good in its profound nature – therefore they are able to listen in a profound way to much more opinions divergent then theirs’. They believe it is good to talk to and listen to people different from you. They think life is worth living each day. They think each problem is an opportunity not an obstacle. Because they believe there is someone able to creatively find at least a solution for anything.
Beliefs leading to creativity may be learned, modeled, copied and forgotten. “Modeling” beliefs modeling creativity is a natural process in kids and youngsters but a limited one in adults; a child learns to walk, talk, right and read in a universe unknown to him, modeling the ones around him. Many of us renounce, sometimes in an unconscious way at copying the good behaviors, beliefs and be inspired by results around us.
Therefore, here are the 3 criteria.
So, the first criterion to detect innovative, imaginative, creative people in your workplace is you must choose people who believe themselves as being creative, who prove themselves as having great imagination and who are proactive towards problems and want to solve them, who are curious, who embrace the unexpected and the reality and who believe in self-motivation. These people consider each problem a challenge.
The second criterion is the “rebellious” attitude of certain employees. Basically, as a leader, you must make sure that the internal regulations of your firm allow the employees to use their imagination and to speak freely, encourage the development of attitudes and creative beliefs and offer, above all, a motivated and inspiring vision as regards to their purpose within the firm and the purpose of the firm itself. But, how many times is it so? “rebellious” people tend to “correct” the environment exactly into the direction of more freedom of thinking.
The third criterion refers to selecting people with a relaxed (even non-existent) set of “solid” and “strong” beliefs referring to the world, life and creativity ; this shows rather a set poor in absolute beliefs and full of open, non-judicative beliefs. “You are not imaginatively impotent until you are dead; you are only frozen up. Switch off the no-saying intellect and welcome the unconscious as a friend: it will lead you to places you never dreamed of, and produce results more ‘original’ than anything you could achieve by aiming at originality” (Keith Johnstone).