Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity

Here are the ten secrets of creative thinking that I originally shared last week at DLD (thanks Orel Elimelech, Yaron Haklai, Hagai Cohen and Anat Greemland!). If you have any comments, I'll be happy to receive them , my e-mail is mel@ourboox.com

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
About the Author
Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג
I'm a writer, scientist, musician, inventor and lecturer. During the daytime I am advisor to the President of Shenkar College, a job I love. I write children's books, satire, and…
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Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity

by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג

Artwork: Rotem Omri








Copyright © 2017

In the World Economic Forum list of required skills, creativity has shot up from tenth place in 2015 to third place in 2020. Talma Vardi once defined creativity as “Something that humans can do that machines cannot. Yet.”  To continue to be relevant in the future, we have to be one step ahead of the robots and computer programs that we ourselves create.

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

1. Creativity is not just problem solving or design thinking – it’s a two step process

Before the solution you need the problem

Before the design, you need the brief

Before the experiment, you need the hypothesis

Before the answer, you need the question.

 

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

2. We tend to concentrate on the less creative 2nd step (problem solving) because we are better at it. 

Most creativity techniques focus on problem solving. It’s what we’ve been learning all these years. There are finite numbers of ways to solve a problem. Can you solve the riddle on the next page? If so, does that mean you’re creative, or have been exposed to these kinds of problems before?

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

So how would you characterize a creative person?

 

 

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You might say that they:

Are highly observant, notice small details

Very curious, ask a lot of questions.

Have flexible thought boundaries

Challenge authority

 

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Here is a more extensive list from the DLD meetup (Thank you Maria Howard):

Observant

Multi Disciplinary

Wondering…Wandering

Innovative

Optimistic

Different Angle

Flexible Boundaries

Sense of Humor

Curious

Tries new things

not afraid of failure

Unexpected

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Out of Comfort Zone

Brave

Risky

Stubborn

Petulant

Courageous

Crazy – or someone in the family is –

Bold

Expressive

Emotional

SILLY

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Who have we just described? Children, that’s who!

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

3. Kids excel at the first (idea/question/new hypothesis) stage, we adults don’t. 

New ideas appear ridiculous, wacky and childish. To be creative adults, we must embrace the possibility of appearing silly and ridiculous.

Have you barked lately? No? Well, you’re never too old to start.

 

 

 

 

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4. Creativity has a high failure rate (often >99%).

VCs vet dozens of promising companies before choosing one. And yet their success rate is usually 20% or less. One out of thousands of book manuscripts end up getting published. And only about 10% succeed. You do the math. How do you turn the 1% into 100%?

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

5.Creative people don’t do ‘thinking outside the box‘.

They do ‘thinking between boxes‘ 

They connect things in unanticipated ways. They move something from one field into another and find a new use for it. The riddle on the next page (which originated the expression ‘to think outside the box’) did a lot of damage in the end.

 

 

 

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

6.  Thinking between boxes: ‘Everything is connected with everything’. 

I challenge you to think of five things that have no connection whatsoever to chocolate. Then have a look on Google to see just how many associations there are.

chocolate vs. spaceship?

over 17,000,000 results:

 

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Here are just couple:

Astronauts want to eat chocolate in space.

The dark side of the moon is made out of chocolate.

If you throw a bar of chocolate fast enough, it will go into space (how fast?)

Both space and chocolate can be very dark.

 

 

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Can you list ten things that you can’t do with chocolate? Here’s mine:

 

 

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Can you write a story about chocolate? Here’s mine.

 

 

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7. Creativity is usually a very personal, competitive affair. Not a team thing. Teams are for developing ideas, provoking them, not creating them. 

Yes, there are companies that do engender creativity, but they are the exception to the rule, and usually the creativity is done on a separate day, time of day, or in a separate department, or building.

 

 

 

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8. Creative people do not learn from mistakes. They turn them into inventions. 

Creative people don’t laugh at mistakes. They use them to come up with unanticipated ideas and leads. Most inventions come from mistakes or accidents (although the inventors rarely admit it). Show me one artificial sweetener that was invented on purpose.

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9. The muses don’t appear out of nowhere

You need the right city, the open culture, the right coffee house, the right sofa, the right friends and family, the right time of day.

 

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10. A lot goes on behind the scenes

The brain is never on ‘off’, even when we think it is. Shower moments, day dreaming, night dreaming are key. Routine can be a friend of creativity!

 

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Here is a list of 18 things you can do to practice to bolster your creative skills:

 

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  1. Invent new words
  2. Read a book about your creative hero.
  3. Observe everything in your immediate surroundings
  4. Observe young children. Speak to them. Learn from them.
  5. Spend an hour a week ‘getting lost’ on Google (going from hyperlink to hyperlink).
  6. Surround yourself with supportive individuals
  7. Find your creative environment
  8. Be more curious
  9. Doubt everything, at least initially
  10. Fail elegantly
  11. Develop another skill, interest, profession
  12. Move to another country
  13. Look for connections and associations, even when none are apparent.
  14. Re-read your favorite children’s books. Write a book with a kid.
  15. Be silly, at least once in a while
  16. Don’t ridicule mistakes made by others, or yourself.
  17. Creativity is a way of life, not a course. Get some of the things here into your daily “DNA”
  18.  Chase opportunities with a vengeance.
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And now, let’s play 48create.

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

Complex problem solving

Critical Thinking

Creativity

People management

Coordinating with others

Emotional intelligence

Judgement and decision making

Service orientation

Negotiation

Cognitive flexibility

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Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Artwork from the book - Mel’s Ten Secrets of Creativity by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

6.  Thinking between boxes: ‘Everything is connected with everything’. 

I challenge you to think of five things that have no connection whatsoever to yogurt. Then have a look on Google to see just how many associations there are.

yogurt vs. spaceship?

over two million results linking them:

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