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How to Stimulate Your Creative Juices – Three examples, that is similar in innovations or creative ideas

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured

Published on March 08, 2017 with No Comments

According to the dictionary, creativity is “creating something new rather than imitated.”  In my opinion, creativity is more “creating something new through imaginative skill.”

There are many types of creativity.  Art and music are forms of artistic creativity.  Music and art and related fields of creativity, such as acting, are mainly for the purpose of entertaining people.  Those who are most creative in these areas of entertainment are usually very well paid.

Another type of creativity is inventiveness.  Engineers often fall into this category.  They are usually thought to be people whose main talent is inventing or having the ability to create new solutions to problems.  Their successful creative inventions often have a significant impact on the quality of living for people.  In my view this is the most important form of creativity because it has potentially the greatest positive impact on people.

So how can a person become creative?  First, I think, a person must learn to focus on the desire to solve problems that benefit people, that is, making their lives better or more enjoyable.   Creative people “think outside the box.”  What that means is that they look at a conventional solution and see how well it achieves its purpose.  Then they step back from the problem and conventional solution and decide what needs to be accomplished and how it can be done in a better way.  In this way, they can often create a more useful new solution or an invention.

Here are three examples of this way of thinking.  The first two are relatively simple and involve small groups of people.  The third is an example that benefited millions of people.  In all three cases the process was the same.

The first one involves only a couple of people.  One year my wife and I bought an artificial Christmas tree.  However, when we tried to put an angel on top of it, the branches wouldn’t support it like those of a real tree.  The angel hung over at an angle.  Instead of putting something else on top of the tree, I sat down and tried to figure out how to make it work.  Finally, I went out into my garage and found a green plastic landscape stake and some green twine.  I cut a piece from the stake about 18 inches long and tied it to the top of the main stem of the tree with the twine.  When we placed the angel on top it looked perfect and the support for it was invisible.  My wife was overjoyed.

The next example involves a solution that affected several hundred people.  A few years ago I was co-manager for an international writing conference.  At the previous year’s conference, I was expected to give a presentation to tell people about how great it would be next year in Chicago.  Presenters typically would give a slide show that promoted the tourism benefits of the city where next year’s conference would take place.

It was my opinion that the people at the presentation would be too focused on the current conference and would forget all about next year’s conference when they went home from this one.  Thus, I looked for a different solution.  I came upon the idea of doing a skit, with an associate and I acting as the Blues Brothers (which are well known to be from Chicago).  We dressed as the Blues Brothers (black suits, hats, sunglasses, etc.) and did a brief presentation using Chicago accents.  Then, with the song “Sweet Home Chicago” playing, several other “Blues Brothers and sisters” came out and danced with us on stage.  The president of our organization joined us and pretty soon much of the audience was dancing.  There is no doubt that everyone there would remember where the next year’s conference was going to be held and that it was going to be fun.

The third example affected millions of people.  While in college I was involved in developing an unusual pop-music radio show that would be recorded at remote locations on campus, such as women’s residence halls and sororities.  The technology didn’t exist to be able to do remote radio shows, but a couple of electrical engineers on our team invented a “remote console” that allowed us to create a very successful show.  Years later, I met one of the engineers, named Max Muterspaugh, who had developed an important invention.  He told me that the experience had taught him the importance of creating innovations that make people’s lives better and more enjoyable.  This attitude influenced him in developing the personal dish antenna that has appeared on millions of roofs, thereby allowing the public access to satellite transmission.

All three of these examples are similar in that innovations or creative ideas helped people to do something that improved their quality of life in a new way.  Anyone can learn to think creatively, but it takes a change in thought processes.  Instead of doing everything the way it has been done before, it is important to start with a clear view of the problem and think of the ways it can be solved.  Assume that there is a better way that has not yet been thought of.  If you make yourself understand and visualize what you want to have happen in the solution, you may create a novel, creative solution.  It is as simple and complex as that.

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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