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Product Review: ThinkCube and Fostering Creativity in the New Year

Imb_thinkcube1 A big part of my job is about creativity.  Coming up with ideas to help our clients stand out, and trying to add new thinking to every new engagement.  As much as I appreciate the role of creativity in a place like a creative marketing agency that I work in … I also realize that for many people, creativity seems like something that is not part of their roles.  Thinking "out of the box" probably seems pretty far away if your "office" is a cube.  Of course, we all need to be creative in how we approach our jobs and thinking differently about how we complete tasks.  This is one type of creativity and it is super important.  The other type, however, is the kind that many people believe they can’t do.  It is the act of thinking about a business challenge and coming up with a creative solution.  Creativity in marketing is intimidating to a lot of people.  In our own agency, we have spent a lot of time trying to foster creativity within every level of our group, from those who consider themselves "creative" to those who see their roles as being about anything else (from fulfillment, to management).  Like most other groups, we have a strong process when it comes to things like delivering a project.  Creativity often seems like a far less disciplined activity. 

Imb_ibm_do Sometimes it is not so easy to find the right way to do that, without resorting to the often ridiculed "creativity sessions" that the new IBM "Stop Talking.  Start Doing." campaign ads mock so effectively.  Several months ago while doing research for my book, I got in contact with Kes Sampathar, an entrepreneur from Boston who started a company called Metamemes.  He sent me a demo of a new game he had conceived to help teams get more creative, called Thinkcube.  The game outlines a process of creative thinking meant to get people to "thinkcubate" more effectively on ideas and drive innovation within their organization either individually or in teams.  Encouraging creativity from a team is something everyone seems to want to do, but few have the right answers on how to do it.  The central problem, in many cases, is that many people tend to see creativity as an inherent skill … you are either born with it and come up with ideas quickly, or you aren’t.  The truth is that innovation and creativity can be fostered from just about anyone.  If finding more creativity in the new year was one of your big resolutions, picking up a ThinkCube might be a great place to start.

Process of "Thinkcubating" (click to enlarge):

Imb_thinkcube2

3 thoughts on “Product Review: ThinkCube and Fostering Creativity in the New Year”

  1. Part of the problem (very often) is that companies (and individuals) don’t often have a clear understanding on how to brainstorm. Or, to clarify, how to successfully brainstorm — to set edges, to outline a brain storming strategy and goal, to nominate a moderator, and then what to do with the results. (Including, starting over or coming back to the topic.) There are companies that use brainstorming effectively, but it’s hard work and perhaps it doesn’t feel like it should be. That it might require a dedicated space or a change in venue. That brainstorming just doesn’t happen. It’s not accidental. There’s nothing accidental about creativity either — although it can seem like it to those that continue to have not found there’s. Couple that with an environment that is hierarchical or bureaucratic — and you have a recipe for, well, nothing. A board game, might be something that would get people to stop thinking like brainstorming and creativity as a just another part of their job — and relax a bit, and as such, allow the ideas to flow.

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  2. Rohit,

    To me using a process to inspire creativity isn’t any different than putting people into boxes (cubicles) and expecting them to be creative and innovative.

    The answer does not lie in a process; its lies within the individual. We should spend no time trying to force or encourage everyone to be creative. When the idea comes, it comes. When it doesn’t, no amount of proding or game playing will result in creativity and innovation. Yes, ideas will come. But most ideas are neither creative or innovative. They’re just ideas.

    Reply

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