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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.
05-07/03 Creativity Comment
Any Proven Creativity Techniques?
My ongoing study (Comments 03/01,
04/01) so far has
found no evidence of any technique or method that significantly
stimulates the kinds of ideas—great ideas—that drive
people become quite upset about these results.
They tell me that technique “X” (stands for their
favorite technique) absolutely works.
How do they know this?
By stating that when they use “X” they acquire many
more ideas and that the technique drags ideas out of people who
normally don’t seem to be particularly creative.
Keep in mind that my definition of creativity is having new
and useful ideas (Comment 06/01),
not just having ideas. They
also tell me that “X” has to be effective, for why would there
be courses, seminars and books on the technique?
Why do so many companies pay to train staff to be skilled
in facilitating the technique?
When I ask these supporters to give me an example of a great
idea in their organization that resulted from use of “X,” they
are almost always stumped. OK,
I’ll admit that sometimes I’m given an example of a great idea
arising in a session using method “X.”
Upon further investigation, I commonly find the person who
had the idea disclaims the influence of the technique.
Once in a rare while, however, a great idea clearly arose
due to use of a creativity technique.
Did subsequent great ideas blossom when the technique was
later used? No!
How many successful organizations (or groups, or
individuals) stick with someone else’ creativity technique over
an extended period of time? Bet
your organization isn’t convinced of the value of “X” after
giving it sufficient opportunity to show its worth.
You’d think if people were convinced of a method’s
effectiveness, they would be relying on it as much as possible.
In previous Creativity Comments, I’ve challenged our tens
of thousands of readers to convince me that there is an effective
creativity technique. If
I am convinced, I’ll share this information in future Creativity
Comments (I will first ask permission to identify you or your
organization. If you wish, you can remain anonymous to our readers).
I am open to changing my opinion and will pay attention to
each of your responses to this continuing challenge.