Saturday, August 22, 2009

4 Stages Of Creativity

I have seen many clubs that try to think of new ideas for projects in their club activities. The typical replies would be "Don't know", "No idea", "Cannot think of anything" and etc. They would say they have no creativity. Those are excuses. Everyone can achieve or train their themselves to be creative. All you need is to have the right attitude and know the steps and techniques that makes it easier for you to get ideas. These are the 4 steps of creativity.

  • Plagiarism (copy & paste)
  • Edit, modify, adapt
  • Inspire, Explore and Diversify (knowing how to find inspiration)
  • Pure creativity
Yes, just copy and paste only. From other people's work (with permission, better la). From books and magazines. From the internet and many more. For me, Internet is enough to help me get ideas. Just use Google and try to see what concepts that would come. This is the era where information is free and very accessible. If we can copy paste work into our assignments, why cannot we do the same for our student clubs. There are so many topics of leadership, management and etc on the web. In fact, you can find the session templates that also teaches you how to conduct the session by YOURSELF! But unfortunately, student leadership does not know about this, or not even try to do it. The reason? It's not in their work culture to think outside the box, I wonder what are they doing in all the camps they go to? Anyway, this is the least you can do to get new ideas, which is by doing research. If you just say you don't have any ideas it means your lazy. Yes, Lazy.

Edit, modify, adapt
Plagiarism is not the most honourable thing to do, but it is a good way to start. The next level is to edit, modify and adapt the idea/information you obtained. How to edit and modify. There are a lot of techniques but the principle is you put a new element into an original idea and see how things change, hopefully a good idea will come out of it. I suggest using the SCAMPER technique. Finding a solution depends on how many different ways of looking at the problem,and that is what this technique does. Doing a brainstorming session is also something a student leader must learn (which obviously they do not), hopefully I can post an article how to do it at some later time. But at least I will share with you the 4 basic rules of brainstorming:

  • Focus On Quantity (No need to get good ideas all the time, get the momentum and the mood so the brainstorming will continue smoothly)
  • No Criticism (Don't try to show you're smart, a bad idea can lead to a good idea)
  • Unusual Ideas Are Welcome (Malaysians are always afraid to voice out, because they're afraid other people say their ideas are stupid, change this mindset!)
  • Combine And Improve Ideas (Be brave and mix and match ideas. Play around. See what happens, it's like playing cooking when you were small)
Inspire, Explore and Diversify
Watch those interviews with musicians and directors, what do they answer when asked "How do you get inspiration?". Do they answer "I squeeze my brain in group meetings, forcing other meeting attendants to give ideas"?, No!. They will say they will walk around, find inspiration from nature, listen to music, do anything and everything except sit in a meeting and and stare blankly at the table in front of him. You need to know how to get inspired by life, and your surroundings and get ideas from it. Observe how the late Yasmin Ahmad's work, it's so relate-able to us. She finds inspiration just by looking at the people around her. Ask yourself what inspires you in life?

Pure Creativity
Not many people have this talent. But I like to think I have it, but so far the creativity I have are mostly the first 3 steps of creativity I have. I don't think I have pure creative ideas yet. But I still believe I can. Why? Because when you believe you can, you will push yourself to what you believe you can do. Having that mindset is good to achieve pure creativity.
Also, pure creativty is a revolution and hard to come by. How many products and services are so new and innovative you can see aroung you. Walkman handphone= walkman + handphones. Handphones = phones + mobility. And many more examples. But they do happen. Great ideas are like diamonds waiting to be found. You just need to improve your creativity techniques until that 2 billion dollar idea pops in your mind.

Understand this. Ideas don't come to those who don't try to think of finding ideas. The people who don't give ideas in your club, cannot give ideas because they don't want to think about the idea or do not try to find ideas hard enough, or do not know how to find ideas. Ideas do not come to those who never try to make a difference for themselves. Ideas do not come for those who don't want to change or improve themselves.

Necessity, who is the mother of invention.
Plato, The Republic
Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC - 347 BC)

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