Top Tips on how to think creatively and successfully navigate out of lockdown
Often when people are asked, who do they feel are the most creative and inventive people, the majority say children. Covid-19 has created an environment with the speed of change, uncertainty, complexities and volatility which will certainly continue to be the ‘new normal’. I believe businesses who don’t have the ability to think creatively, do things differently and have the courage to take risks are going to find it the most difficult. Having watched a video of my godson learning to ride his bike, I observed key lessons which will help us out of lockdown.
Curiosity & the importance of 5 why’s
Everyone understands the number of times children ask why — “but why are we doing this, why are we going here?” As my godson received his new bike, you could feel his excitement and enthusiasm. Then the questions started, ‘What is this part for? Why can I not ride it in the house?’
Best-selling author, Simon Sinek, outlines why some businesses are more inventive, and successful than others. In his book, ‘Start with Why,’ he analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers they all think the same and started with the why. According to Sinek, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it. When thinking creatively, ask five times why you are doing it. Not the answers in your head — ‘we want to improve processes, we want to increase profit’, but the true reason from your heart. Be really passionate about your why and you’ll inspire others to follow. When the going gets tough, this WHY becomes more important than ever. Right now, go back to the very reason you started the business and make sure things are aligned around that.
Children are not limited by boundaries. They don’t even see them. My godson believed he could cycle as fast as his daddy. He saw no reason why this wasn’t possible. If his daddy was able to do it, surely he could too. It reminded me of powerful techniques for leaders, ‘modelling excellence and visualisation.’ When creating new ideas, we look to the best in the world across a variety of industries. Instantly this expands our way of thinking, generating a different outcome and level of success. People often say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Just changing one letter makes a phenomenal difference. ‘I’ll believe it, then I’ll see it.’ None of us could have ever foreseen Covid-19. The speed Coronavirus hit, and the wide impact it had on business, our health and our way of living. I say to leaders, ‘either you create the change, or it will create you.’ This is going to be so critical to navigate successfully out of this pandemic.
As my godson was learning to ride his bike, his daddy asked him, ‘can I help you by holding the seat?’ It was an instant, ‘no, I can do it myself.’ ‘But you know you’ll fall over when you first put your feet on the pedals.’ ‘Yes, I know that daddy.’ My godson understood he was going to fall, and it would hurt but he wasn’t scared to risk doing something completely new. Businesses who are risk adverse, are going to find it difficult to survive in the ‘new normal.’ We have witnessed many businesses fail because they didn’t have the courage to take risks and do things differently; Kodak’s downfall and Blockbuster wiped out by Netflix. The, ‘new normal,’ will see more changes than ever before and leaders need to be courageous to do things differently.
Fun and Playful
“On average a child laughs 400 times a day. In contrast an adult only laughs 15 times”.
This is disappointing as research from Colorado University has proven a strong relationship.
between having fun and high performance. Google understands this is crucial to create an innovative culture and success. My godson was definitely having lots of fun on his new bike. When we have fun our brains are relaxed, we see things from different perspectives, and we are more creative. Damian Hughes, author of, ‘The Five Steps to a winning Mindset,’ showed that even in crisis fun should be encouraged to release tension. One of the great adventurers Sir Ernest Shackleton knew this, using games to promote fun, camaraderie and hope when his ship, Endurance, was stuck in Antarctic. The best ideas come when we’re enjoying ourselves or relaxed, not when we’re under pressure and stressed.
Imagination has no right or wrong answers
Thomas Eddison said, “I haven’t failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work. Negative results are what I want. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” My godson is only three, so he hasn’t started school yet. When we go to school, we are told not to stare out the window daydreaming but to concentrate on what the teacher is telling us, otherwise we won’t get the right answer. But learning to ride his bike, he wouldn’t take advice from his dad on the right and wrong way to do it. He tried different ways which were very inventive.
In the ‘new normal,’ the old way of doing things right won’t necessarily work anymore. It’s the first time in history we’ve seen the upstairs in business asking the downstairs for help. So, it’s critical to develop an environment to create new ideas both in ourselves and our business.
Often people say they aren’t creative, but as we know all children have great imaginations. Creativity is the ability to find new and better ways to do things, and everyone can do that. So, remember how you did it as a child, and use these skills coming out of lockdown.