” The power of thought is the magic of the mind.”
Innovation is an appealing idea –we all want to be creative and original. But how do we get there? The traditional model of innovation used in business and other settings revolved around conducting some kind of research or analysis and using it as the basis for
brainstorming to come up with an innovation: You turn off your analytical left brain, turn
on your intuitive right brain, and creative ideas start popping out.
But according to William R. Duggan, the author of Creative Strategy, the newest brain research tells us that “there is no right or left side of the brain when it comes to thinking. Creative ideas actually happen in the mind, as the whole brain takes in past elements, then selects and combines them — and that’s how creative strategy works.”
Duggan says that traditional brainstorming, especially in groups, leads to everyone pooling their expertise and throwing out ideas based on personal experience. “If you have a problem that the total personal expertise of six people can solve, then brainstorming is very efficient. But if the solution lies outside their personal expertise, brainstorming is a trap — you toss out ideas and get conventional wisdom, not innovation.”
In Duggan’s alternative approach to sparking innovative ideas, as I understand it, you break a problem down into its essential parts, search for precedents for solving the isolated aspects of the problem, then “let them seep into your mind and some of them connect to give you an idea.” You keep letting the idea evolve and grow. The most important thing in this stage of the process: “Keep an open mind as you work hard on your idea: the idea should change as you proceed, perhaps slightly, perhaps dramatically.”
What habits of mind keep you open to strategic intuition and creative combinations? “People should cultivate curiosity about how exactly things succeed and cultivate ‘presence of mind’ where they deal calmly with problems and let their minds wander freely rather than look for quick answers because they feel stress.”
OK, so we need to keep our whole brain focused, stay curious and calm, be in the moment, and let our minds wander freely without feeling pressured for results. Sounds promising and doable as we all write on.