silhouettes saying, "C is for Creativity"C is for Creativity. What? You’re not creative, you say? Nonsense. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. You are creative every time you figure out how to solve daily challenges.

  • You look in your refrigerator and pantry—at first glance, there’s nothing in there with which to pull together a meal. But then you realize that you could combine items and end up creating a new favorite family recipe. 
  • Your daughter needs a prom dress, but you can’t afford the one she really wants and you can’t sew. You and she brainstorm ideas: buy a less expensive but awesome vintage dress; ask her aunt to sew one; ask the Home Ec teacher to help; borrow one…At the end she has a gorgeous dress she’s proud to wear.
  • Your boss asks you and a co-worker to prepare a proposal on a tight deadline. You have different approaches for responding to the client’s request. To the extent practicable, you might combine pertinent parts of your two approaches, together you might develop a third approach, or you might offer the client a menu of options including both approaches.

Creativity is the ability to see connections and develop ideas and alternatives for solving problems. All of us can do this.

Conflict resolution requires you to think creatively to develop agreements that all parties can support. It usually means needing to move beyond your original, preferred solution. Sometimes, you may end up having to compromise, and sure there are trade-offs to be made. More often than you might think, you have the option of coming up with a whole new idea that everyone can live with.

Try this:

When you get stuck, try approaching the problem from a different angle. Use any of the suggestions below to change the original positions taken and transform them into a workable solution for all parties involved. If your attempts aren’t working, go away and do something else for a while. When you return, write, draw, move, model or play with various ideas that give you and the other participants the most energy. It’s good to use different modes of engagement with creative processes. Develop the best ideas further.

  • Put to other uses: are there new ways to use something as is? Other uses if modified?
  • Adapt: what else is like this? What other ideas does this suggest? Does the past have a parallel? What can you copy? Who can you emulate?
  • Magnify: What can you add? More time? Greater frequency? Strength? Height? Length? Thickness? What if you duplicated? Multiplied? Exaggerated?
  • Minimize: What can you subtract? Reduce in size? Condense? Miniaturize? Lower? Shorten? Lighten? Omit? Streamline? Split up? Understate?
  • Modify: New twist? Change meaning, color, motion, sound, odor, form, shape, or make other changes?
  • Substitute: Who or what else instead? Other ingredients? Other material? Other process? Other power source? Other place? Other approach? Other tone of voice?
  • Rearrange: Interchange components? Other pattern or sequence? Change pace? Change schedule? Change location? Shift view? Move? Turn upside down? Sideways?
  • Reverse: Transpose positive and negative? How about opposites? Turn it backward? Reverse roles? Change shoes or step into someone else’s shoes? Turn other cheek?
  • Combine: How about a blend, an alloy, an assortment, or an ensemble? Can you combine units? Materials? People? Processes?

And one more idea–this one from the “Imagineering Workout: Exercises to Shape Your Creative Muscles” by the Disney Imagineers, 1998: –Chris Runco, Senior Concept Designer, Creative Development

  1. Make a list of objects relating to your problem/project. Look at each object and think of something else. Something that has nothing to do with that object and write its name next to the object.
  2. Holding the unrelated images in mind, develop questions that connect the two. Build an idea scenario using this information. 
  3. Let the absurd lead the way.

 How do you trigger your creativity?