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Live from FEI 2013: Creativity Under Pressure

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In Todd Henry's opening keynote, we dove into the "People" side of innovation. Henry's challenge was for all of us in the audience to think about whether we were getting the best out of ourselves, our teams, and our organizations in our day to day interactions. The surprising answer was...probably not. The problem is, we are stuck in the middle - in mediocrity.

But, there is a solution. We can be prolific, brilliant, and healthy! The key is to make sure you have all three ingredients. If you take away healthy, you get "Fried." If you take away prolific, you get "Unreliable." Lastly, if you take away brilliant, you get "Fired!"

There are lots of studies on creativity. In one piece of research, Adobe found 75% of people do not feel they are living up to their creative potential.


There are two reasons. First, the creative process seems mystical. Occasionally we have an insight, but it is hard to figure out where it came from or how to do it again. This makes it difficult to create value. Second, we live in a create-on-demand world where we need to be creative, but we are not equipped with the tools to do so.

Perhaps what we need to do is reframe creativity. To Henry, creativity boils down to solving problems. The key is to push into uncomfortable places to get to those brilliant insights. The five steps Henry suggests include:

  1. Define the Problem 
  2. Explore Options
  3. Choose the Best Option
  4. Execute
  5. Rinse and Repeat
So, what can you do each and every day to boost creativity? You need to build a creative rhythm through:
Pick the "Big 3" problems and put them in a public place. Be sure to check back from time to time in order to make sure the problem is relevant.
Build relationships with others and build circles where you get together to talk about common interests. Teach what you've learned and take the time to learn from others.
Manage energy by "pruning" and making sure you are focusing on the most important thing. Remember that one thing effects the next...think whole life not in silos of work and personal.
Build time to stretch your mind; read widely, broadly and with purpose. Be sure to bring in stimulus that introduces you to new things.
Experiment, play, sharpen your intuition through "unnecessary creating" 
Click here to download Todd Henry's presentation.
Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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