“Think outside the box.” That advice is about as helpful under time pressure as telling a three year old to “calm down!” in the middle of a tantrum. We all want to be creative when we face tricky problems, but how?
Many creativity experts advise opening your mind to wacky ideas, and creating a sense of total freedom when you’re brainstorming. I’m here to argue for the opposite: Limitations actually help you create new ideas and solve big tricky problems. Why? My research suggests that too much freedom is actually paralyzing – it provides too many choices and our brains get overwhelmed. Limitations, or constraints, help you unleash creativity inside your own brain, and inside your team.
I was recently interviewed on the Thrivecast podcast about using constraints to get creative in solving business problems. (All forms of creative work, from running a startup to launching a new innovation demands creative problem solving, and running an innovative accounting practice like the Thrivecast advocates is no different!)
Here are some of the tips that came out of the conversation. Give them a try. Continue reading “Creativity Hacks: Five steps to using constraints to solve problems fast”
One cold night a few weeks ago I met Ben Beaumont-Thomas in a hip, low-key cafe down an alley and behind an indie theatre in London’s Dalston. (ICYDN, Dalston = the new Shoreditch, chic tragique.) Continue reading “My interview in BAD IDEA magazine: Marxist coffee mugs, trapped by an open mind, etc.”
I finished my doctoral dissertation in December. I am proud to announce that I am now officially “Dr. Caneel Joyce” and owner of the letters P, h, and D. Thank you, U.C. Berkeley. Thank you, Haas School of Business. Thank you friends, advisors, Mom, Dad, brother, and especially, husband.
The dissertation is of course, very academic in style. I will write up some of the main ideas in future blog posts. In the meantime, I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts. The abstract is below and you can download the full text PDF. Continue reading “The Blank Page: Effects of Constraint on Creativity”
A participant in a recent Haas@Work group I was facilitating (Amy Hornstein) pointed me to SixSentences, a blog for writers of six sentence-long short stories. The elegance and creative insight of some of these stories is incredible. They have even put together a book of these stories.
There are several benefits to working within this format:
* If I can write a story in six sentences then I’m more likely to write it
…and others are more likely to read it
* I will have to work hard to find ideas worth occupying my precious little space
…and I will have to be creative about how I communicate those ideas.
Like the others I describe in my work, this is a great example of creativity within constraints.
(Read Amy’s six-sentence story Lightness)