The Art of Creative Thinking: How to Be Innovative and Develop Great Ideas

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<ul><li><p>One of the foremost thinkers on leadershipSir John Harvey-Jones</p><p>JOHN ADAIR</p><p>How to be Innovative andDevelop Great Ideas</p><p>THE ART OFCREATIVETHINKING</p><p>Art of creative FB:Layout 1 13/6/07 12:10 Page 1</p></li><li><p>THE ART OFCREATIVETHINKING</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page i</p></li><li><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page ii</p></li><li><p>JOHN ADAIR</p><p>London and Philadelphia</p><p>How to be innovative and develop great ideas</p><p>THE ART OFCREATIVETHINKING</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page iii</p></li><li><p>Publishers noteEvery possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in thisbook is accurate at the time of going to press, and the publishers and authors cannotaccept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibilityfor loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as aresult of the material in this publication can be accepted by the editor, the publisheror the author.</p><p>First published in Great Britain in 1990 by the Talbot Adair PressThis edition published in Great Britain and the United States by Kogan Page Limitedin 2007</p><p>Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticismor review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, thispublication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by anymeans, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of repro-graphic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licences issued by the CLA.Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms should be sent to thepublishers at the undermentioned addresses:</p><p>120 Pentonville Road 525 South 4th Street, #241London N1 9JN Philadelphia PA 19147United Kingdom</p><p> John Adair, 1990, 2007</p><p>The right of John Adair to be identified as the author of this work has been assertedby him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.</p><p>ISBN-10 0 7494 4799 0ISBN-13 978 0 7494 4799 1</p><p>British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data</p><p>A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.</p><p>Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data</p><p>Adair, John.The art of creative thinking : how to develop your powers of innovation and</p><p>creativity / John Adair.p. cm.</p><p>Includes index.ISBN-13: 978-0-7494-4799-1ISBN-10: 0-7494-4799-0</p><p>1. Creative thinking. I. Title.BF408.A28 2007153.35--dc22</p><p>2007008563</p><p>Typeset by Jean Cussons Typesetting, Diss, NorfolkPrinted and bound in Great Britain by Creative Print and Design (Wales), Ebbw Vale</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page iv</p></li><li><p>About the author ix</p><p>Introduction 1</p><p>1. On human creativity 5Keypoints 8</p><p>2. Use the stepping stones of analogy 9Keypoints 14</p><p>3. Make the strange familiar and the 15familiar strangeKeypoints 19</p><p>4. Widen your span of relevance 21Keypoints 24</p><p>v</p><p>Contents</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page v</p></li><li><p>5. Practise serendipity 25Keypoints 28</p><p>6. Chance favours only the prepared mind 29Keypoints 32</p><p>7. Curiosity 33Keypoints 37</p><p>8. Keep your eyes open 39Keypoints 43</p><p>9. Listen for ideas 45Keypoints 49</p><p>10. Reading to generate ideas 51Keypoints 55</p><p>11. Keep a notebook 57Keypoints 60</p><p>12. Test your assumptions 61Keypoints 66</p><p>13. Make better use of your Depth Mind 67A framework of effective thinking 68Emotion 69Depth Mind 70Keypoints 75</p><p>14. Do not wait for inspiration 77Keypoints 81</p><p>15. Sharpen your analytical skills 83Keypoints 88</p><p>Contents</p><p>vi</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page vi</p></li><li><p>16. Suspend judgement 89Keypoints 92</p><p>17. Learn to tolerate ambiguity 93Keypoints 96</p><p>18. Drift, wait and obey 97Keypoints 101</p><p>19. Sleep on the problem 103Keypoints 107</p><p>20. Working it out 109Keypoints 114</p><p>21. Think creatively about your life 115Keypoints 118</p><p>Appendix A Checklist: Have you analysed the 119problem?</p><p>Appendix B Checklist: Are you using your 123Depth Mind?</p><p>Appendix C Answers to quiz questions and 125exercise on pages 1012 and 63</p><p>Index 129</p><p>Contents</p><p>vii</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page vii</p></li><li><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page viii</p></li><li><p>John Adair is widely regarded as the worlds leadingauthority on leadership and leadership development. Over amillion managers worldwide have taken part in the Action-Centred Leadership programmes he pioneered.</p><p>From St Pauls School, London, John won a scholarship toCambridge University. He holds the higher degrees of Masterof Letters from Oxford University and Doctor of Philosophyfrom Kings College London, and he is also a Fellow of theRoyal Historical Society. Recently the Peoples Republic ofChina awarded him the title of Honorary Professor in recog-nition of his outstanding research and contribution in thefield of Leadership.</p><p>John had a colourful early career. He served as a platooncommander in the Scots Guards in Egypt, and then becamethe only national serviceman to serve in the Arab Legion,</p><p>ix</p><p>About the author</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page ix</p></li><li><p>where he became adjutant of a Bedouin regiment. He wasvirtually in command of the garrison of Jerusalem and was inthe front line for six weeks. After national service he qualifiedas a deckhand and sailed an Arctic trawler to Iceland. He thenworked as a hospital orderly in the operating theatre of ahospital.</p><p>After being senior lecturer in military history and adviser inleadership training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst,and Associate Director of The Industrial Society, in 1979 Johnbecame the worlds first Professor of Leadership Studies atthe University of Surrey.</p><p>Between 1981 and 1986 John worked with Sir John Harvey-Jones at ICI, introducing a leadership development strategythat helped to change the loss-making, bureaucratic giant intothe first British company to make a billion pounds profit.</p><p>John has written over 50 books, now in 25 languages. Recenttitles published by Kogan Page include Leadership andMotivation, Develop Your Leadership Skills, Leadership forInnovation and Decision Making and Problem Solving Strategies.Apart from being an author, he is also a teacher and consul-tant, advising many organizations in business, government,education, health and the voluntary sector.</p><p>About the Author</p><p>x</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking prelims:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 14:38 Page x</p></li><li><p>1</p><p>Dust as we are, the immortal spirit growsLike harmony in music; there is a darkInscrutable workmanship that reconcilesDiscordant elements, makes them cling togetherIn one society.</p><p>William Wordsworth</p><p>The importance of creative thinking today needs noemphasis. In your profession or sphere of work you will havea competitive advantage if you develop your ability to comeup with new ideas. In your personal life, too, creativethinking can lead you into new paths of creative activity. Itcan enrich your life though not always in the way youexpect.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 1</p></li><li><p>There have been many books on creativity and creativethinking. What is distinctive about this one? My new conceptis that of the Depth Mind (see Chapter 13). Of course, thereality behind it the creative activity of the unconsciousmind is not by any means new. My contribution, however, isto present that reality in a fresh way. I have also put it intocontext within a simple framework of mental activity: theanalysing, synthesizing and valuing functions of the mind whenit is thinking to some purpose. Oddly enough, no one hasdone that before.</p><p>This is not simply a book about creative thinking. Its aim is tohelp you in practical ways to become a more creative thinker.Being essentially a practical sort of book, it does not go intothe philosophy or psychology of creativity in any depth,except as far as these disciplines have thrown up valuableinsights or tips for practical creative thinkers.</p><p>Nor have I explored here what might be called the organiza-tional dimension of the subject. How do organizationsfoster or stifle creative thinking? Why are some organizationsbetter than others at introducing changes and implementingthem? My companion book to this one, Leadership forInnovation, addresses those questions. For how new ideasare brought to market in the shape of products or servicesis another subject. My focus here is upon you as an indi-vidual creative thinker, regardless of where you areemployed.</p><p>Each chapter has one simple core idea something fairlytangible or well-attested. Depending on its nature, I thenbriefly develop and illustrate it. Then I summarize the discus-sion in some simple keypoints. These are not merelysummaries, however, for sometimes new thoughts are intro-duced in them.</p><p>The Art of Creative Thinking</p><p>2</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 2</p></li><li><p>It follows that there is really no logical order to the book.Creative thinking cannot be reduced to a set of sequentialsteps. Imagine the chapters as being spokes of a wheel orpieces of amber hung on a necklace. So you do not necessarilyhave to start at the beginning find a chapter that interestsyou and work outwards. I hope that you find this book stim-ulating and enjoyable as well as instructive. May it take youforward on your journey as a creative thinker.</p><p>Among other things, these pages will help you to:</p><p> develop your understanding of the creative process;</p><p> overcome barriers or blocks to having new ideas;</p><p> enlarge your parameters of vision;</p><p> learn to build on ideas as well as criticize them;</p><p> increase your tolerance for uncertainty and doubt;</p><p> listen, look and read with a creative attitude;</p><p> make time to think;</p><p> become more confident in yourself as a creative person.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>3</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 3</p></li><li><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 4</p></li><li><p>To create is always to do something new.Martin Luther</p><p>Imagine for a moment that an unknown animal had beendiscovered deep in the jungles of South America. It isdestined to replace the dog and the cat in popularity as adomestic pet during this century. What does it look like?What are its winning characteristics? Take some paper nowand draw it, making some notes about your sketch.</p><p>Your new animal may have short silky fur like a mole. Itsface may be borrowed from a koala bear and its roundcuddly body from a wombat. It is blue in colour and greenin temperament, for it does not foul the pavements or</p><p>5</p><p>On human creativity</p><p>1</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 5</p></li><li><p>parks. That sounds a bit like a cat. It repels unwantedintruders more effectively than a guard-dog, but is as gentlewith children as a white rabbit.</p><p>What you are tending to do, consciously or subconsciously, isto borrow characteristics from the animals you know. There isnothing wrong with that. For we humans cannot makeanything out of nothing. Once, a distinguished visitor toHenry Fords auto plants met him after an exhaustive tour ofthe factory. The visitor was lost in wonder and admiration. Itseems almost impossible, Mr Ford, he told the industrialist,that a man, starting 25 years ago with practically nothing,could accomplish all this. Ford replied, But thats hardlycorrect. Every man starts with all there is. Everything is here the essence and substance of all there is. The potential mate-rials the elements, constituents or substances of whichsomething can be made or composed are all here in ouruniverse.</p><p>You may have noticed that we tend to bestow the wordcreative on products that are very far removed from the orig-inal raw materials used. A masterpiece by Rubens was once acollection of blue, red, yellow and green worms of paint onthe artists palette. Now the physical materials paints andcan vas for an artist, paper and pen for an author are entirelysecondary. Creation here is more in the mind. Perception,ideas and feelings are combined in a concept or vision. Ofcourse, the artist, writer or composer needs skill and tech-nique to form on canvas or paper what is conceived in themind.</p><p>The same principle holds good in creative thinking as increativity in general. Our creative imaginations must havesomething to work on. We do not form new ideas out ofnothing. As Henry Ford said above, the raw materials are all</p><p>The Art of Creative Thinking</p><p>6</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 6</p></li><li><p>there. The creative mind sees possibilities in them or connec-tions that are invisible to less creative minds.</p><p>That conclusion brings enormous relief. You do not have toconjure up new ideas from the air. Your task as a creativethinker is to combine ideas or elements that already exist. Ifthe result is an unlikely but valuable combination of ideas orthings that hitherto were not thought to be linked, then youwill be seen as a creative thinker. You will have added valueto the synthesis, for a whole is more than the sum of its parts.</p><p>On Human Creativity</p><p>7</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 7</p></li><li><p>KEYPOINTS</p><p> With creativity we start with what already exists.</p><p> We recognize creativity where the artist or thinker ofgenius has transformed the materials at hand into a newcreation of enduring value.</p><p> He is most original who adapts from the most sources, asthe saying goes. You will be creative when you startseeing or making connections between ideas that appearto others to be far apart: the wider the apparent distancethe greater the degree of creative thinking involved.</p><p> Creativity is the faculty of mind and spirit that enables usto bring into existence, ostensibly out of nothing, some-thing of use, order, beauty or significance.</p><p>No matter how old you get, if you can keep the desire to becreative, youre keeping the child in you alive.</p><p>Anon</p><p>The Art of Creative Thinking</p><p>8</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 8</p></li><li><p>I invent nothing; I rediscover.Rodin</p><p>Put yourself into the shoes of an inventor. You have becomedissatisfied with the solution to some existing problem ordaily necessity. You are casting about in your mind for a newidea. Something occurs to you, possibly suggested by readingabout other peoples attempts in the files of the patent office.You go home and sketch your invention, and then make amodel of it.</p><p>9</p><p>Use the steppingstones of analogy</p><p>2</p><p>Art of Creative Thinking 1-134:Creative Thinking 3/4/07 10:37 Page 9</p></li><li><p>There are other later stages, of course, but let us stop here. Thepoint is that the model you have reached may well have beensuggested by an analogy from nature. Indeed you could lookupon nature as a storehouse of models waiting to be used byinventors. In the box below is a quiz, which you might like toattempt to answer now:</p><p>The Art of Creative Thinking</p><p>10</p><p>QUIZ</p><p>List specific inventions that were (or might have been)suggested to creative thinkers by the following naturalphenomena:</p><p>1. human arms</p><p>2. cats</p><p>3. seagulls</p><p>4. a frozen salm...</p></li></ul>


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