Office Hours with Jeff DeGraff is a video series where the Dean of Innovation interviews thought leaders on the broad subject of innovation. These thought leaders come from various background but all share insight from their personal and professional experience that can be adapted to foster innovation either in a business setting or in your personal lives.

In this episode, Jeff interviews Bob Kulhan, founder of Business Improv. Together, they discuss how improv can have huge benefits on everyday life, and how it helps spark creativity.

 


 

Discover the power of constructive conflict and how it can help foster innovation. By reading The Innovation Code, you will learn how to harness tension and transform it into positive energy to successfully implement your innovation projects.

Learn More

The gifted amateur as a heroic innovator is one of the great American myths. Stories about Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and even Steve Jobs conveniently overlook their unique brilliance and years of experience. If anyone could do it, they would. We learn by doing and all learning is developmental. The same holds true for creative brainstorming. Research on creative thinking gives us three simple suggestions that will greatly aid in generating great ideas in a short period of time.

  • Fluency: Whoever said that one good idea is better than a thousand mediocre ones probably never invented anything. More is better. One of the inhibitors of creative thinking is your voice of judgment that kicks in when you think too long about the viability of your idea. The key is to generate ideas faster than you can evaluate them. This will produce some unusual and impractical ideas that will serve as triggers for novel ideas that work.
  • Flexibility: Steve Jobs remarked, “Creativity is just connecting things.” Creating a breakthrough idea may simply be a matter of reapplying an idea from one situation to another. For example, to improve their patients’ hospital stay experience, a medical center sent their doctors to live in a posh hotel one week and their own hospital the next. The center simply applied the practices of the hotel to the hospital to completely transform the patient experience.
  • Flow: Most of us have experienced a feeling of effortlessness and timelessness when doing something creative like painting. Researchers call this our flow state: when we are the most creative and “in the zone.” Some people are creative in the morning, while others are more so at night. Some people are most creative when listening to music while others need contemplative silence. The key is to find a time and a place where you typically enter this flow state.

Be an anthropologist and keep track of your life for a couple weeks. Pay attention to where and when you are most creative and the people you are most creative with. That will tell you how to be more creative.

I have a number of strategies and articles on creativity on my blog at Inc. Magazine. Also check out the following YouTube video about how to improve your brainstorming techniques: How to Improve Brainstorming – The Dean of Innovation


 

Discover the power of constructive conflict and how it can help foster innovation. By reading The Innovation Code, you will learn how to harness tension and transform it into positive energy to successfully implement your innovation projects.

Learn More

When asked to define the legal definition for obscenity, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously quipped “I know it when I see it.” For most of us the same applies to a working definition for innovation. We have a general sense of what it is but we know that under cross examination of the evidence it probably wouldn’t hold up.

Think about what you take to be the most innovative organization in the world and why: Apple, Genentech, any stalwart global brand, obscure NGO or fashionable start-up or will do. Contained in your answer is your belief and confirmation bias that reveals what you really take to be innovation: (more…)