Spark Innovative Thinking by Letting Go

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Conceptual image of electric bulb against grey backgroundPaula Scher is an identity and branding expert who is highly regarded for her creative abilities. She has come up with a lifetime’s worth of great ideas, including Citigroup’s umbrella logo and the window panes graphic for Microsoft Windows 8. Like many highly respected creative minds, Scher attributes her ideas to flashes ...

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Beginners Mind: A Source of Innovation

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Beginners Mind and InnovationSome people approach each situation with a beginner’s mind, which is an attitude of openness and lack of preconceptions, even when they’re a highly accomplished professional. These people are more innovative than others, and you can facilitate this attitude in a team.

A great example of this comes from a team I work with that writes software to run the operations of a trucking company, which I’ll ...

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How Much Team Diversity is Optimal for Innovation?

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DiversityI used to think that the purpose of creating diversity on a team was simply to give people of various races and orientations equal opportunities. When I create a team, my main concern is achieving the business goal, not being a do-gooder in society, so I never cared too much about intentionally creating diversity on a team. That was before I understood that diversity is a key requirement for ...

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Combat Negativity by Bringing the Positive to Life

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Enliven the PositiveDoes it seem like some people choose to be negative? In many ways it’s our basic nature, but it has damaging consequences to our creative and cognitive performance. Here’s a remedy for shifting a team’s emotions from negative to positive, but it requires understanding a bit about our conscious minds.

Understand Conscious Awareness

Our conscious minds are attracted to the emotional. Our cognitive and emotional systems constantly process a ...

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Enhance Creativity by Taking a Break

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Take a BreakIf you’re engaged in creative problem solving, you’re more likely to be successful when you have some downtime in which your brain is focused on something else. So allow for breaks, but understand that not all breaks are created equal. Here are three tips for taking effective breaks when you’re engaged in solving problems that require creativity.

1: Get the Timing Right – Creative problem solving requires insight, ...

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Why are Creative Solutions Sparked by Positive Emotions? – A Hypothesis

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Heart Rhythms - SquareCreative thinking is a bit like playing with Legos. Our brain reaches out and pulls in disparate pieces and creates relationships that form something new. These pieces aren’t usually in our conscious mind, but rather are pulled from different parts of our memory, our subconscious mind, and even our intuition. They come together and enter our conscious mind, ...

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Which Emotions Facilitate Creative Problem Solving?

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Emotion Quadrant Diagram Some problems can’t be solved by methodical, logical thinking, but rather they require insight to relate things in a non-typical way or see novel ways of using them. When our emotions are in a particular zone (as depicted in green on the diagram), we are better at solving problems requiring creative insight.

A simple example of a problem requiring creativity is the “candle task” in which a ...

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Inclusivity: the Key to Handling Complexity

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I was recently in the Middle East, in Amman, Jordan, having lunch at a local restaurant. At the next table, there was a woman in full burka seated with three men. The men were chatting away while the woman sat there struggling to eat and drink through her burka. I could have easily been irritated by the limitations that her ...

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Fuel Innovation thru Negative Emotions

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Have you ever seen a leader authentically invite employees to openly talk about whatever they’re feeling, even when it’s anger directed toward the leader or the company? Chances are you haven’t, because most leaders would consider this inappropriate or losing face, and they avoid it. However, these leaders miss out on a great opportunity to stimulate creativity and innovation.

Emotions arise to warn us that, if ...

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How Do You Keep Employees Enthused Over the Long Haul?

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I recently heard an interview with a performer in the Blue Man Group, the popular theatrical organization. This guy said that for the first year he was with the group, he knew he had the best job in the world. He got to fully use his artistic skills in a uniquely fun and rewarding environment, and there was even room for improvisation to keep him on his ...

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