Imagine the corona crisis as a forced experiment in which we all have to adapt abruptly to radical change in the world. The disruptive change that has been announced for a long time became reality at once.
What do we see? People and organizations adapt very quickly.
Where digital tools and ways of working were supposed to be implemented gradually, everybody starts to use online video conferencing overnight. New ideas are generated, tested and launched at a pace never seen before. Local shops start selling online, large organizations launch new products or services and set up actions in a couple of days whereas they used to go through multiple rounds of advice and decision processes.
Our natural resistance to change seems to be replaced by an unprecedented openness to look for solutions and implement them quickly. Instead of ‘Do I have to do this now?’, we hear ‘Let me look how I can make this happen’!
Does it all work smoothly? No! Does everything we try, succeed ? Not at all!
What matters is that we throw ourselves out there, we manage to make things happen against all odds. Let’s face it. This is a major achievement. We solve complex problems by thinking in options instead of limitations, by identifying opportunities very quickly, embracing them, trying them out and adapting. This is the key to these successes. However grimm the situation, there are successes and it is important to acknowledge them.
We use our capacity to think creatively and to be resilient. Most of all, we discover that we are capable of much more than we initially thought!
Now the question is: how can we maintain this new dynamic, this new way of working in a post-corona era? How can we further develop and cultivate our creative thinking to face the challenges ahead?
Here are some very concrete tips and tricks.
First of all, separate creative thinking from critical thinking.
This is probably a very recognizable situation: you bring up a new idea and the first reactions you get are: ‘this is too expensive, too difficult to implement, too time consuming…’ or ‘let me play the devil’s advocate’. Such reactions take out all the energy in the room. Nobody feels inclined to bring up new ideas, and certainly not you. Instead of reacting by criticizing a new idea, start by taking time and energy to generate a lot of ideas. Once you have a long list, you can start evaluating. There will certainly be some good ones to work with. Give them a chance to come up instead of killing them immediately.
Build on each other’s ideas. There is a simple way to do this: reply with ‘yes and’ instead of ‘yes but’ as a first reaction. Once you pay attention, you will be surprised how many times a day you say ’yes but’. You will also be surprised about the tremendous positive impact of those simple words: ‘yes and’. It creates a constructive dialogue, stimulates collaboration and creates an environment in which people truly listen to each other and work towards shared objectives.
It is not sufficient to generate a lot of ideas in order to solve a problem creatively. It is evenly important to have a shared understanding and a correct formulation of the problem. To get there, you first have to ask a lot of questions to analyze and clarify the problem before identifying the exact problem you want to solve. Taking the time to do this will help you gain time and be on the same page from the beginning.
Finally, continue to take initiatives and stimulate others to do the same. People clearly appreciate the freedom to take action. They rely on each other’s expertise and at the same time strengthen their own confidence. So think about how to build on this mutual trust and personal confidence in your organisation.
Adapting to the new normal post-corona will remain a challenge. By consciously and systematically using and further developing creative thinking, you can help your organization to be ready to tackle this challenge.
Join us on Thursday April 30 at 13.30h for a FREE webinar and get inspired to think more creatively. Register Here
April 21 is World Creativity and Innovation Day. It is the perfect opportunity to encourage everybody to apply and stimulate creative thinking in their organizations.