Creative Thinking Workshops
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Creative Thinking Videos from Roger Reece

Take a look at some clips from recent seminars and workshops focused on developing creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Roger Reece has an engaging and down-to-earth presence; his programs offer a rare depth of information delivered in an accessible and constructive manner.

You can see dozens more videos, from programs representing nearly all of the topics we cover, on our Youtube channel.

 


Creative Thinking Competencies
Creativity is doing what you don't normally do. How do you increase your capacity to be more creative? How do you develop your creativity at work, particularly when you feel pretty creative already? A lot of times, you can exercise your creative problem-solving abilities simply by stepping out of your comfort zone - by doing something that you wouldn't normally do.

A lot of attention is focused on the 'Left-Brain / Right-Brain' divide: on the very different ways that the left and right hemispheres of the brain process information, and how a left- or right-brain dominance affects the way you see the world. We like to think of the right side of the brain - and 'right-brain' people - as the 'creative' type, because the right-brain has a holistic, intuitive and lateral approach to problem-solving, compared to the left-brain's analytical, logical and linear style. But whether you identify as 'Left-Brained' or 'Right-Brained,' the real question is: Why aren't you using both halves of your brain? If creativity means thinking about things in a 'different' way, then the true key to developing your own creativity is by learning to make better use of the 'other' side of your brain.

Creative Problem Solving & Assumptions
Problem-solving is about testing your assumptions. As we engage in problem-solving and following procedures, there is often a tendency to make assumptions based on past experience. We assume something needs to be done a certain way, based on how it has been done in the past. But creative thinking is all about looking at everyday situations in a new light and taking the time to ask questions about the way we do things: Why is it being done this way? Are more people involved in this process than necessary? Is there a more direct path from A to B? Assumptions are made about people, as well; these assumptions cause a great deal of the conflict we encounter in the workplace every day. Developing creativity involves cultivating a questioning mind: practicing the habit of testing what you think is certain about every person, process and situation you encounter.

Creative Thinking, Learning & Leadership
A person of influence has flexible mental models. We live in The Information Age: we interact with media on many different platforms, and we are continually bombarded with news, facts, data and ephemera. But Accumulation of Information is not the same thing as Learning. Learning is a fundamental process of changing your mental models - your internal maps of the world. As children, our minds are incredibly flexible and responsive to change. But the older we get, the greater our risk of becoming 'frozen' in our mental models. If our view of the world becomes rigid or resistant to change - if we become 'stuck' in our thinking - the information we continue to accumulate won't really do us much good. Our comfortably-seated assumptions and expectations will only confirm what we expect to see, and we and our team will always be at a disadvantage in competition with younger, more nimble minds. Leadership requires an ability to cut through the biases and certainties embedded in your system in light of new variables and changing environments; this skill is key in guiding your team along a successful path over new terrain.

Creative Thinking & Influence
Creative thinking is the key to selling your ideas. There is a sequence of analytical filters between what our senses can observe and what we ultimately experience the world to be; Peter Senge calls this process the 'Ladder of Inference.' This series of buffers between input and imprint frequently causes a kind of 'circular filtration' effect, where our assumptions and expectations feed back into what we observe and reinforce our beliefs about what it means. Creative thinking means seeing what you didn't see before - and this means constantly testing your assumptions, questioning your certainties, and otherwise doing whatever you can to cut through the filters of your inferences.

This is a very important factor in successfully presenting your ideas - because the ladder of inference of the person you present your ideas to is never the same as your own; and successfully selling your product (your ideas, in this case) depends on tuning into that person's point of view and communicating in ways that make sense to them.

Problem Solving & Leadership
Solve problems by asking the right questions. To be effective problem-solvers, it is important that we take the time, before we set in to find the answer to a problem, to be sure that we're framing the problem correctly. We make assumptions when a problem presents itself; it can often seem obvious what needs to be fixed. But what we see at first glance may just be a symptom of a greater problem. If we're not careful, we can put a lot of time and energy into 'fixing' something that will just keep coming up again and again. Or, if we're making assumptions about what restrictions we have or what is available to us, our answers could be spending unnecessary resources and hindering productivity.

When we have a habit of thinking creatively, we develop a natural curiosity about things. We wonder what is behind the surface layer of anything we encounter; and this gives us a distinct advantage in problem-solving. When a problem comes up, when something declares, "This isn't working," our curiosity leads us to ask not only "What needs fixing?" but "Why did it break in the first place? What made this the wrong tool for the job?"

Creative Thinking: Rewiring Your Brain
Don't take the path of least resistance. Our brains establish neural pathways for every habitual behavior we develop. And on a given day, practically everything we do is based on habit; so, our brains are like road-maps of well-worn paths and familiar corridors. But the most familiar path is very often not the most efficient or effective: the streets of the city of Boston, for example, are notoriously confusing to maneuver - famously because the original roadways of the city were built on top of cow-paths. The first builders of Boston's streets took the path of least resistance: it was easier to lay cobblestones along the already-worn, meandering trails that the cows had made than it would have been to dig new paths in a more efficient grid.

Your brain, likewise, is crisscrossed with neural pathways that were established - essentially in a random and unconscious fashion, and often very early in life - from a combination of environment and happenstance. But the difference between your brain and the city of Boston is that it is easier to rewire your brain than it is to rebuild a city. However hard it may be to break old habits and form new ones, it is still worthwhile to challenge yourself to do the work of establishing better, more productive habits of behavior.

Creative Thinking in Negotiation
The solution to a difficult problem is rarely immediately obvious. Likewise, a win-win resolution to a negotiation often cannot be seen at a direct angle. You come to a point sometimes where the response you get is something like "there's nothing we can do" or "our hands are tied." But creativity means that, when you get to that stuck place and you don't see a solution, you don't give up. You look at the situation from different angles and find more possibilities to suggest. Our point-of-reference is often quite limited; but the truth is, many of those limitations are really just assumptions or self-imposed restrictions. If our point-of-reference is based on restrictions, it can be hard to imagine all of the many things we can do. That's the wrong frame of mind for problem-solving.

 

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