Creative People Must Be Stopped

Free Creative People Must Be Stopped by David A Owens

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Authors: David A Owens
strategies for addressing that constraint. You may also find that strategies are obvious given the symptom you have identified. For detailed instructions on working with your assessment results, use the steps outlined in Appendix A, Using the Assessment Results, to determine whether individual constraints are a significant impediment for you in your organization and to develop strategies for overcoming them.
    Later, after completing assessments for the other chapters, you will be able to compare constraints and see if one of the other levels poses a greater challenge for you overall than do these individual constraints. Of the six levels of constraints discussed in this book, you will find that the individual-level constraints are the easiest to fix, assuming of course that you want to fix them.
    Perception Constraints: Looking Without Seeing
Selective perception and stereotyping
Limiting the universe of “relevant” data
Not getting close to the data
Broaden your sources of data Use practiced empathy
Change your perspective
Enrich the input
Intellection Constraints: Old Thought Patterns for New Problems
Becoming captive to the way you frame the problem
Being seduced by your problem-solving strategies
Prematurely narrowing the range of possible solutions
Reformulate the problem
Use multiple problem-solving approaches
Set an ideation goal
Explore, don’t search
Expression Constraints: Difficulty Articulating Your Ideas
Having only one language for exploring and expressing ideas
Insufficient vocabularies
Failures of communication
Stay mindful of your favored ways of talking (and thinking)
Get out the crayons
Sell your ideas
Sweat the presentation
    Creativity is not something magical, mystical, or built into our personalities. Spence Silver had nothing that every other chemist at 3M didn’t have, except maybe curiosity, persistence, and an intense refusal to be hemmed in by everyone else’s thinking. You too can enhance your ability to think in fresh ways by removing or mitigating the common constraints on individual creativity. The chart on page 55 offers a recap of the constraints discussed in this chapter, along with some strategies for overcoming or living with them.
    Chapter Reflection: Individual Constraints
    It can be helpful to reflect on your insights about individual-level constraints and the process of diagnosing them in yourself. You may wish to consider these questions:
What evidence is there for the existence of the constraints you named?
How important are these individual factors compared to the group, organizational, industry, societal, and technological constraints you identified?
Are there any additional constraints you perceive that were not identified by the individual-level diagnostic?
Would others agree that there is a need for you to fix these constraints?

    Why a Brainstorm Meeting Can Be Worse Than No Meeting at All
    Innovation Constraints in Groups
    Figure 3.1
    The board of ShowArts, a midsize performance arts organization, asked Josephine, the executive director, to come up with a plan to attract a larger and more diverse audience to their venue. They named the project Think Big because they wanted some fresh new thinking in anticipation of a planned capital campaign.
    Josephine pulled together a team of nine people who represented a diverse mix of functions and departments from inside ShowArts. She consciously picked a couple of people she knew to be big thinkers and a few others she thought of as being very pragmatic and operations focused. Because she also realized that there might be some rocky points, she included only people she knew well and had worked closely with before.
    For their first kickoff meeting, Josephine decided to have them brainstorm ideas to start the team off on a positive note. They gathered around the conference room table, and she told them the mandate: “to enlarge and diversify ShowArts’ audience base.” Without much further

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