Innovation and creativity

Why do you need more creativity?

Innovation and creativity – Why!

IBM has in their last two studies, Capitalizing on Complexity from 2010 Leading Through Connections from 2012, asked more than 1,500 CEO’s from around the world about what their biggest challenges as business was. The main challenges were heavily increasing complexity and the ability to navigate in a world that is driven by networks and connections.

Innovation and creativity were respectively number 3 and 1 as solutions to the biggest challenges.

The question is then what is required for continuous to work with innovation and creativity?

Inner motivation is crucial to your creativity

Daniel Goleman – the author of social and emotional intelligence – believe there are some important factors that must be present in order for you to be creative and they are ….

  • Expertise
  • Creative thinking
  • Hard work
  • Inner motivation

First, you must have expertise in the area you are dealing with. Your expertise will depend on your talent, which is partly innate, but it also depends on your education, experience and professional development and training on the job. Your expertise also depends on the ability to master technical skills and ability to learn new things within an area.

Creative thinking is another important feature. It includes the ability to see new perspectives on problems, see things differently than others and take risks.

All of this is related to both the cognitive style and personality. Some will naturally be better at this than others, but it can also be learned. Creative thinking is an ability to build and allowing you to be more flexible, fluid and original in your way of thinking. You can see an exercise at the bottom of this post.

Working hard is the next important ingredient of creativity. You have to be able to keep going, even under difficult conditions. This is an important skill, no matter what area you want to be creative within.

You also need a specific set of psychological states. Daniel Goleman’s studies found that people are most creative when they are motivated primarily by their interest, enjoyment, satisfaction and challenge of the work itself and not primarily by external goals, external motivators or external pressures.

People who are good at innovation and creativity …

  • Seek new ideas from different sources
  • Are open to and consider new and different solutions to problems
  • Ask many questions in order to generate new ideas; encourages others to brainstorm and think out loud
  • Take fresh perspectives and risks in their way of thinking
  • Question the generally accepted methods, patterns and assumptions
  • Strive for new ways of doing things; are curious
  • Are flexible and good to adapt; see ‘to err’ as feedback and do not punish themselves when they ‘fail’.

…. according to the Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence in the United States.

Innovation and creativity is one of the 26 competencies tested within the social and emotional intelligence. Read more about the test here.

More creative – How?

What can you do to increase your creativity? Here are some concrete suggestions.

  • Use your full capacity to think when you generate new ideas – feelings, hunches and intuition – the opposite of creativity is strictly cognitive thinking
  • Use all your senses and brainstorm, seek many ideas and options when you are facing a new challenge
  • Build a curious attitude towards all things and people
  • Explore the opposite – for example if you are extrovert, try to see the world as introvert, if you are analytical, try to use your intuition.
  • Ask ‘what if’ questions
  • Create surroundings, which increases the creativity; clean up, hang something inspiring on the wall and so on.

60 seconds every day – exercise to increase creativity

Pick a random number between 0 and 9. What does this number look like? What else could it be?
Is the number 1 for example, a tent pale or a flag flying in the wind. Maybe the number 8 is the infinity symbol, a racetrack, a snowman, a pair of glasses or 2 people who put their heads together.

Make this little exercise 60 seconds every day for 30 days and your brain will help you to be more creative.


  • Find yours and other people’s inner motivation. You can see how to uncover your motivation here
  • Be good at what you do
  • Ask open and curious questions
  • Train your brain
  • Create inspiring surroundings

Have fun!