Change and Creativity. Part 3: 4 Secrets of Creative Experts.

Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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Change is a constant in the business world. In fact the business world has never changed faster and faced more challenges than it does today. In the 3rd installment of this series on change and creativity, Erik Vermeulen looks at the 4 Secrets Creative Experts employ to deal with change and generate answers.

Secret #1: Become an expert.
Before you can be truly creative in your field, you need to become an expert. Research has shown that it takes 7-10 years of experience to become an expert. This means 7 – 10 years of learning in your field. You see there is a big difference between 7 years’ experience and one year’s experience repeated 7 times over. Learn from mistakes, try new things, keep going!

Secret #2: Experts don’t rush to generate answers.
Creative experts do not rush to generate answers. Thomas Edison reportedly tried over 2000 variations before inventing a light bulb that works. Creative experts stick with the problem and approach it by changing their view of the problem. Remember, you change the world by changing the way you see it.

Secret #3: Experts challenge their assumptions.
They ask, “What challenge are we currently faced with?”. They generate as many assumptions about their problem as possible. Then they challenge those assumptions to generate reverse assumptions. In other words, assumptions that are reverse to those they already have. For example, during the Space Race between the US and Russia, the Americans spent millions of dollars in research and development to develop a pen that could operate in zero gravity. (All pens require gravity to draw the ink down the barrel onto the nib.) The Russians solved the problem with hardly any research costs because they decided to use pencils!

Secret #4: Experts are constantly learning.
Drawing on the operational success of the US Airborne Rangers (an elite group of soldiers equivalent to South Africa’s recce’s), creative experts strive to focus on constantly learning. Firstly, they engage in ACTIVE LEARNING. They do what they’re supposed to do but they focus on learning the job concurrently.

Secondly, they employ an AFTER ACTION REVIEW (AAR). After each mission, they ask themselves three questions in a debriefing environment in which rank does not count! These questions are:
• What Happened?
• Why do we think it happened?
• What did we learn?

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