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'String of pearls' - Creative thinking

Published: Mar 5th, 2020 01:33 pmBy Rajesh C R

A lot of you must be wondering that he talks about creativity but posted a picture in b & w! That too of the most colourful Walt Disney creation!!

It was intentionally done just to show how a world in b & w would look like! Uninteresting, dull or sometimes even boring!
Whereas creativity is full of colours, freshness, joy and happiness which may also be referred to as an expression of Joy & Celebration! To make my point more clear, I would like to quote an example from my recently concluded training session, for a Corporate.
I started the session with the story of a 'thirsty crow' (without mentioning the name of the bird) which we have heard from our grandparents or teachers at school, where the clever bird starts picking up pebbles from around and starts dropping them one by one into a pot with low water level, which then raises up due to the volume of pebbles and enables the bird to drink the water and thus, quench its thirst!
Now, what relation does a 'crow story' have with communication skills? And finally, ending the story with a slide showing two birds sitting on a branch, and then getting answers from the audience, that the bird seen in the slide, was a crow!
Later, I request the audience to listen to an audio in which the voice of several birds including a crow, a cuckoo (Koyal), squirrel etc, were played for 30 seconds! The elite audience is then requested to identify the second bird in the picture, which although looks like a crow, but is not, and that, the voice of the second bird, was heard in this audio!
Koyal bird, comes the answer from the audience, which is correct!
The following words are then, said by me,"Even though both the birds look alike (crow & cuckoo), what differentiates them from each other is their unique voice! Similarly, we humans look alike but what really differentiates us from the other, is by the way we communicate (with the slide of Nelson Mandela appearing in the background)!" And then I introduce the topic of communication skills!
Now, I could have directly said 'communication skills', it would have done the job, but there is no 'creativity' involved there! It's just plain! And there is no guarantee of audience attention! But when I start with the crow story 'creatively', there is not only attention, but also curiosity among the audience, to know more about the topic!
With this background, let us understand the basis or fundamentals of creative thinking. In my understanding there are five major principles involved to think creatively which are as follows:
Passion: One needs to be passionate about what he/she is doing which leads to an inspired state of being, which results in being highly creative.
Imagination: The ability to visualise things before creating them. It's a skill that can be developed, by practice.
Domain Knowledge: The more you have it, the more creative you get. Can be developed by reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc.
Going deep: Creativity lies in the depth, the more deeper you explore, the more creative, you can get.
A giving nature: Mostly, those who are creative are the ones who want to make a difference to the lives of people and that's where the motivation comes from. Ex. When we try to help someone solve their problem.
Intuitive: And finally intuition is a 'gift' of nature, experienced by most of them who are creative!
Now, let me share with you some of the tools used to think creatively!
Brain storming: One of the oldest techniques practised, but very effective, even now! The technique involves in penning down all the 'rough' thoughts & ideas on a blank sheet, that initially come to our mind, aligned with the topic. It helps in giving a quick start to creative thinking.
Mind map: The Tony buzan technique where you write down a topic in the centre of a page and fill the area around it with 'keywords' and 'prompts' that are strung together with connecting lines (more like a tree diagram), an advanced form of brain storming, which can lead, to establishing a complete plan.
String of pearls: I have developed this simple but very effective technique! Once the topic is finalised, you take a blank sheet and draw a circle or a square which I call as a pearl, of size sufficient enough to accommodate the title of a content. Then draw the next pearl with the next title and so on.., until you have exhausted all that you have, about the topic. Now, you have several pearls (content titles) with you. But they are not in order or sequence. You select the ones you feel are the best suitable for your topic, and set them aside.
You have now got, the best among the best pearls with you, isn't it. Now, number them in the preferred order of appearance! String them together or confirm the sequencing. Your sting of pearl is ready! You get what you need! This simple method can be applied to solve complex problems!
There are many other techniques such as the six thinking hats, lateral thinking, etc. which can be applied to think creatively. One can also develop their own method, according to their taste & style.
I would like to conclude, by saying that, creative thinking is a skill, like any other skill and can be developed, by regular practice!
Thank you !!

The writer of this article Rajesh C.R. is a freelance soft skill corporate trainer and can be contacted by logging on to the website www.aguidetoinnerjoy.com or email: [email protected]

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