How To Be (More) Creative

As I’ve started my new chapter which I’m calling Starting Again, I’ve been focusing on the basics and essentials. I’ve said over and over, I want to be lucky again. And that also means being creative.

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Allen Gannett, author of one of my favorite books — The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time.

It’s one of the most practical books I’ve read on the subject and now one of my all-time favorite books. 

Allen shatters the myth that some are just born creative. In the book he write:

“Creativity is accessible to all, but most people just don’t have the right tools.”

The Four Laws of Creativity

In The Creative Curve and this interview, he shares the Four Laws of Creativity he’s unearthed from extensive research and interviews, which are:

  • Consumption — he says we need to be spending 20% of our waking hours consuming information and knowledge in your field, in order to develop mental models, particularly exemplars, and be able to see patterns and opportunities.
  • Imitation — he calls this the Franklin Method, after Ben Franklin, who learned to write better by observing and recreating the structure of the best writing of his time.
  • Creative Communities — I’ve been thinking more and more about this, but Allen shares there are four key members/groups in Creative Communities: Master Teacher, Conflicting Collaborator (i.e. my partner Jeff has been fantastic in this role for me), Modern Muse, and the Prominent Promoter.
  • Iteration — particularly with the use of data to refine your work, the four steps are: Conceptualization, Reduction, Curation and Feedback.

Allen’s Advice for Me

In fact, I asked Allen on the interview for advice specifically for me.

  • Dive into Primary Research – he suggested getting as niche-y and technical as you can in a field of interest; go meet and interview the researchers.
  • Marry the Fringe and Establishment — he said the best teams, particularly when starting new businesses, consist of people on the Fringe (who bring a fresh perspective) and Establishment (embedded in industry or field who bring credibility). Been thinking about this with areas of interest I have for potential businesses but in fields I’m not embedded in and finding a partner/collaborator who is embedded.

OK … go get The Creative Curve and be sure to tweet out to Allen hearty thanks for unlocking the mystery of creativity!

Hat tip: Michael Moore for sharing the book with me originally!

 

 

 

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