Confirmation bias is something we all suffer to some extent. Confirmation bias is when we seek evidence, or specifically remember evidence or interpret evidence in a certain way to suit our current point of view. Anything that disagrees with our point of view, we decide to ignore or discredit or try really hard not to see. It is a normal human trait and there are valid reasons why we do it but it is detrimental to our creative thinking. It is those very points of view that we seek to hide oureslves from which most often hold the best creative opportunities.
Flipping a coin should be a fairly random exercise. Once the coin is up in the air and you have given it a resonable flick, the rest is up to chance. Chance is great for creativity. When we don't know what's going to happen it enhances the adventure. But what if we could control that which is seemingly uncontrollable? What if it seemed random purely because we did not fully understand the behaviour of a flipped coin? Creativity is also often about discovering that which before seemed but a mystery to us.
The reality is, virtually nothing we do is simple. We see a lot of things as simple but this is merely because we see most things at a higher level of abstraction. We take a lot of the small details and do them without thinking. Or we don't even realise we are doing them. For the most part, this is great. It means we can focus on the important and more interesting stuff and not get bogged down in minor and irrelevant details. But sometimes those details can be a great source of creative inspiration. Let's put the spotlight on them.
Have you heard about the 5 W's of journalism? How about the 5 R's of learning? Or the 5 M's of management. This form of boiling a subject down to it's key components is useful and makes them easier to remember. Creating them is also a good way to really consider a topic and attack it from a variety of perspectives. This week we're going to create our own. Sounds easy but it's actually harder than you think if you want to do it well.
The world around us is a complex network of interractions. Nothing is ever really as simple as just A interracts with B. The interraction will inevitably involve various other elements as well. Some of these will be known but many of them may not be obvious to us. When creating something, or solving a problem we tend to think only about A and B but it's the interractions outside of that that often lead to the more interesting and creative ideas. This weeks challenge gets us to think a little broader in our view of the world.
Before we get started you need to pick a topic. It could be your favourite sport, a problem you are trying to solve, a particular question or topic that interests you or anything else really.
I recently spent just over a week on holiday in Fiji. Despite all the places we were staying offering wireless internet I decided to go technology free. No internet, no email, no computers of any sort. It was a bit daunting at first but I soon realised I could live quite happily without these devices of distraction. It was refreshingly liberating. Our challenge this week is along similar lines.
XKCD is a popular web comic. It is both funny and intelligent. The name was chosen by the author as they liked the fact that that collection of letters is phonetically unpronounceable. Letters were made to represent words which are naturally pronounceable. We wouldn't normally think about how we could arrange them otherwise. So let's dive in and do the opposite of what we would normall do.
Well here we are and it's Friday 13th. Unlucky for some but what a great day for some creative cunning. Did you know that the longest time it is possible to not have a Friday 13th is 14 months (I think it would have been funky if it was 13 months but not to be)? How about that friggatriskaidekaphobia is a fear of Friday's that happen to fall on the 13th? Nobody knows why exactly we consider Friday 13th to be unlucky but there are a few theories floating around. Let's have some fun.
Perpetual motion is a goal that people have been striving for for centuries. Wouldn't it be cool to have a device that produced motion forever whithout the need for any external help. Alas, it would seem that the first two laws of thermodynamics suggest stuch a device is impossible. But why should we let that stop us. After all, many things have been deemed unpossible before only for some bright spark to find a way. It's that creative spirit that takes us forward.
Acronyms are interesting things. Just about every area has them but one area that particularly likes them is the IT sector. You may have heard of a TLA or Three Letter Acronym. The computer world is full of them and some of them are bordering on the realm of silly. For instance have you ever heard of an AMD? An Air Movement Device (or fan for short), Or FUBAR - Fouled Up, Beyond All Repair.
A key component in really unleashing your creativity is understanding what it is that you are trying to do or achieve. It's an area that is easy to get lost in. To go down the wrong path. To not see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes. This weeks creativity challenge is a fun little activity that will help you break down anything into a very simple representation. A great way to get a fresh perspective on the topic.
This weeks challenge is, well, a little bit challenging. You're going to have to think, quite a bit, and there'll probably be a fair bit of trial and error. But you'll also have some fun. We often think of creativity in terms of creating brilliant artwork. Creativity is also, however, very useful when it comes to solving problems. In fact, creativity applied to problem solving is one of the most valuable ways it can be used. So let's dive in and get started.
Word Clouds are an interesting concept made popular by the website Wordle. There are now quite a few others out there and they can be quite fun to play with. I encourage you to have a go. Our minds are visual in nature and yet a lot of the information we have to work with is textual in nature. Anything we can do to change that is an advantage. This weeks challenge is a slightly different type of word cloud.
We live in a world of ever growing complexity. My phone now has more power and features than my computer used to have 10 years ago. My local supermarket has more breakfast cereals than I'm sure we need and even more types of milk to put on top of it. Yet the simple things in life still remain the best. I came across this simple yet fun activity with plenty of possibility for creativity and figured it just had to be one of our creativity challenges.
A common pattern is nature is that the simplest of situations can have the most complex and intriguing interactions. This can be a fertile ground for creative thinking. The simplicity often leads to a great deal of freedom that we can take advantage of. Our creativity takes over and it is up to us to craft a scenario that does interesting things. This weeks challenge involves creating a scenario and then watching how it evolves into something that is so much more.
Everything around us can be viewed from several perspectives. The more you can pick up on these perspectives, the easier it will become to see opportunities. Another aspect which hinders our ability to see these perspectives is routine. Once things become routine we tend to go onto autopilot and we just don't think to look beyond the obvious. This weeks challenge aims to change that.
Creativity often involves combining things in interesting, and often unexptected, ways to create new outcomes that are useful to us. Sometimes your inspiration for this will come from a desive to solve a problem or to make your life easier in some way. Sometimes it is an idea that comes from a chance observation or that so called 'light bulb' moment. Another avenue, one that we should be encouraging, is when these ideas come from deliberate play. So let's dive in.
Patterns are all around us. They are a fundamental characteristic of the universe and there is a great deal of advantage in being able to discover and observe them. As such, this weeks challenge centers around building our ability to observe the interesting patterns that surround us but that we do not see. Doing so will be a great boost in your journey to become a highly creative person.
Sometimes we just need a little kick start to get us going. Sometimes we just need a bit of fun. Sometimes it all begins when you're least expecting it. This weeks challenge aims to get you doing things you probably didn't think you would be this week. But that's ok because you're creative and out of the ordinary is par for the course as far as you're concerned. So dive in and let's get started.