Creativity is the ability to look at the same things everyone does, but see things differently and find hidden connections to create something new. It gives insights to top level management in introducing innovation within their organization and accelerating the development of creative performance in their staff. For organisations to thrive in an uncertain future it is vital that creativity and innovation are fostered and encouraged.A wide range of media and methods such as theatre, visual arts, outdoor development, bodily movement, communication, imagination experiential learning, presentation, reflection, giving and receiving feedback and many other aids of communication can be integrated into designs for developing creative processes. These type of communication methods may be drawn from fields not normally associated with management but yet prove to be very effective in their own right.Often creativity helps people to break free from self-limiting beliefs and to instil the confidence and self esteem that enable people to take risks in relationship and to dare to think new thoughts. Lately I had the opportunity to attend a training programme based on Communication Skills and Team Building and it proved to be extremely interesting. It was a two day training programme with the theoretical part and practical part which involved the following creative games.
The first event was based on the popular TV series, ” Survivor”. However unlike the TV series the aim of this game was to keep the team together, not to eliminate team-mates. Each team was made up of five persons, and had to pass through four “immunity challenges” before reaching the end. These challenges consisted of four sets of ten different problem solving questions related with our work place combined with a rating. When each group reached the end the team’s performance profile was established according to the rating achieved.
A “captain” was also chosen by each team, but we had also the opportunity to change the captain so that each member had the chance to communicate and lead the team. This game provided a unique group problem solving opportunities and fun team challenges in the context of a group that is trying to “survive”. It also proved that, for a team to be successful communication, cooperation and teamwork are vital and need to be exercised continuously. In the next challenge each team had to complete a jigsaw puzzle before any other team completes theirs.The goal of this activity was to find the hidden message on the back of the complete puzzle. At first it looked any easy task to complete a jigsaw puzzle, but then a couple of factors were inserted which made this seemingly easy task more difficult. These factors were: 1) The puzzle pieces of the four teams were all mixed in the same container, so we had to search for the missing parts carefully; 2) At two different times we were asked to get up and shift tables, so each team had to work on a different puzzleThis was the factor which interested me most because in real life this happens a lot at work.
For example if a person from your office is on sick leave or on vacation leave the person who is substituting him/her has to find out what work he had pending and “inherit” someone else’s problems still waiting to be solved. 3) The “hidden message” that was on the back of each puzzle, was actually one big message, that could only be read when all the teams turned over the finished puzzle and were place side by side.From this activity it was learnt that in order for an organization to operate and be well organized a healthy teamwork is a must because the success of a whole organization is built upon the efforts and outcomes derived from each teamwork involved in the company. The third and last activity was based mainly on communication.
Each team had to pretend to be an engineering firm and had to compete against each other to win a tender issued by the government to build a bridge between Malta and Gozo.Information wasvery limited, but we were given the option to talk to “representatives” of the Government. From the information gathered and from our imagination, each team had to construct a model of their bridge and give a sales presentation to “government officials”. The models were made up of cardboard, tape and string. The resulting models were really unbelievable. This activity teaches people to communicate with each other and their customers.
It also stresses the fact that it is important to ask questions in order to provide a better service, better products and even develop new products.This point could clearly be seen from the model of the team that did not ask much questions compared with the model of the winning team, which was the team that gathered the largest load of information possible. The above mentioned creative activities in action have derived the following positive confirmations:Something that I have noted from this creative learning is the use of positive humour that the tutors used in order to give us an explanation of the subject they were introducing.
This stole all the participants’ full attention to the illustrations of the tutor.From my own experience I understood that learning while laughing significantly increases the retention of important concepts. In my opinion creativity is immensely important, but we often place mental blocks that inhabit our creativity. Sometimes by ignoring the rules and bridging boundaries organizations benefit from great advances. For example, Picasso conceived another use for the bicycles by removing the seat and handle bars, welded them together and created his famous bull sculpture. Nowadays jobs and businesses depend on innovation and in order to succeed people have to look for new challenges and ways of doing things.We learn from trial and error, not by doing things the same way each time.
Most great inventions were the product of hundreds of tries, including the electric light bulb and the telephone, but would we ever imagine our lives now without these two commodities? There is always an element of risk in conjunction with new ideas but errors and failures can be used as a stepping stone to a new idea that would not have been otherwise discovered. Founder of IBM Thomas Watson said: “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate. “During our everyday life everybody is involved with activities that bring out our creativity, some of these creative talents can be decorating a home, cooking delicious meals, writing interesting articles or letters.
The same thinking mechanisms used in performing these activities can be transferred to be creative in our jobs. Peer pressure and “group think” which is a phenomenon that exist in every workplace stops people from being creative. Some people tend to follow others and do as they are told to do without thinking or without giving their own views and unfortunately new ideas do not develop in a conformist environment.Creativity is derived from people who maintain an open, imaginative mind. Imagination enables a person to rehearse the endless possibilities, map out plans, and visualize overcoming problems, it helps to turn possibilities into realities.
Creative learning is an alternative approach of training that from my one time experience verified to be very effective. I am sure that most organizations have members who come up with creative ideas, these individuals in my opinion must not be ignored but their ideas must be taken into consideration and encouraged.