Creativity, how?

Before we begin

Everyone can be creative

It is a skill that can be improved, rather than a talent.

Who am I?

  • Hyper Island alumni
  • UGL (Understanding group and leadership)
  • Web developer
  • Project of How


  • The creative mode
  • Methods to get there (process)
  • Methods to improve the process (reflection)

Hands up!

How many people...

  • are actively thinking about how they do stuff?
  • are doing this as a group exercise?
  • have this as a scheduled part of the process?

The Iceberg

The Iceberg

The Iceberg

The Iceberg


Good for

  • Inspiration
  • New associations
  • Research (look outside your bubble and see what's going on)


It's a bit like being a dog, chasing a car... soon as the car stops, the dog don't know what to do with it

We should try to
walk our own way

rather than

trying to mimic others

Therefore we need to get autonomous


Focus on your process

rather than

your result

The creative state


John Cleese

"The creative state"

Open and closed mode

The happy kid


The responsible adult

The happy kid

  • Playful
  • Curios
  • Relaxed
  • Joyous / Humorus
  • Free from criticism, prestige, pressure
  • No agenda, no musts

Why is this person important?

  • It takes you to places you wouldn't normally go
  • Curiosity poses a lot of interesting questions
    • What if?
    • What happens when?
    • Let's imagine that...
  • With criticism, ideas won't get far



About her songwriting

"...I would never let the analytical side of me in there,
because it can be very destructive."

That feeling

you get after one beer with a good friend
and absolutely no plans.

Moscow airport, no plans for hours

This is obviously nothing I recommend

Study: How Drinking Makes You More Creative

Note: 1 beer, not 2! It's all downhill from there.


Nothing would get created with only this person inside your head.

Therefore we need


The responsible adult

  • Your default mode at work
  • Purposeful
  • Active
  • Slightly anxious
  • Not very humorous
  • Not creative!

the person who gets
shit done

Björk again, on producing her songs

"...the studio process is very disciplined and focused."

To sum things up, we need both!

  • Open mode when looking for a solution
  • Once a solution is found, switch to closed mode
  • Keep alternating throughout the process
  • Looking at the compass vs walking


For groups or individuals


  • Isolate yourselves
  • Create an "oasis" of space and time
    • Define a clear start and end time (usually 1.5h)
    • No other todo's for now, your emails can wait!
  • Create an environment for trust and enjoyment for all
  • Allow each other to be silly/stupid/illogical/wrong

Remember; this is a team effort!

  • Hear people out
  • Don't cling on to your own ideas
  • Move the conversation forward together
  • Build on each others ideas
  • Unhappy with the direction? --> closed mode

And for God's sake

Bring Post-its!

  • Works as documentation
  • Gives you all a great overview
  • Easy to rearrange/organize later

Double diamond

  • Multiple sessions
  • Applicable on large and small problems

Empty your brain

  • Chances are, the first ideas that comes to mind aren't that original
  • Yes and...
  • Balloons
  • Cake
  • Beer
  • Playlist
  • Theme
    • Smurfs
    • Dinosaurs
    • Pirate party

Sky is the limit

  • Unlimited budget, time, skills, etc.
  • Exaggerate, provoke, distort reality
  • The "Intermediate impossible" - impossible now, but might lead to possible
  • Create associations (elephant = gray and/or large)
  • Rembember; yes and...
  • Pirate party
  • Fly helicopter to harbor
  • A pirate ship takes me to carribians
  • Cubans are serving us the best rum
  • Michael Bolton sings song from the mast
  • We're swiming with dolphins
  • Dive for gold

Then the responsible adults take over

  • What is reasonable?
  • What can we do?
  • X instead of Y

Lateral thinking...


Edward de Bono

Lateral thinking

  • Brains are, for good or bad, pattern makers
  • It's easy to take the same direction as before
  • To be creative, we need to approach problems from a new angle
  • These methods are meant to provoke your brain out of these patterns


Coming up with a unique solution doesn't mean it's good


A creative solution must solve a problem better than before.
In a smarter, cheaper, faster way.

Therefore, do your research! Learn as much as you possibly can, about your field.
It will definitely lead you in to new interesting ideas.

Understand the problem!


A case study:

The discovery of graphene


The perfect storm of creativity

  • Curiosity
  • Endurance
  • Knowledge

One more thing...

Do not stress
the solution!

Tolerate the discomfort of not having one

Too many bad projects go this path



Why are we doing things the way we are?

There is no perfect process - but we should try to get there

Easier said than done

The problem is

that most companies don't actively reflect
upon how things are done - AT ALL!

The #1 reason for that, I think, is

No one questions existing work culture

Why is that?

I think, the main problem is that people are either:

  • too new and scared to question things
  • or too seasoned and institutionalized
    (things have always been this way)

Changing behaviors is difficult. Very difficult!

Everybody needs to be on board.

A humble beginning


Some researchers say:

You can boost your productivity by 20% just by reflecting upon how you are doing things

And one last thing; Please allow yourselves to be


Ken Robinson says

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will not come up with anything original."

Project of How

A place to collect and share methods