The five qualities below not only contribute to innovative programs and processes, they’re also fundamental for working effectively with others in fast-paced, highly creative environments. They draw on the capacities of both right brain and left brain, and strengthen connection with one’s own inner voice, while also honoring the wisdom of the larger collective group process.
The qualities are:
Third-space Perspective Creative thinkers can look at a problem from many different viewpoints, exploring a great diversity of options that may at first seem tangential. They are not stuck in one-way thinking. This ability to “see beyond” the ordinary takes us to a place I call Third Space.
Ambiguity Creative thinkers find and make connections between dissimilar concepts, holding incompatible subjects together until they see a relationship or pattern. Their minds are comfortable with the non-linear, which involves paradox, ambiguity and uncertainty.
Play Creative people can juggle elements into impossible juxtapositions, combine disparate elements to form new patterns, and shape wild hypotheses. The ability to play with novel concepts, taking risks to explore the limits of what is possible, are essential qualities of the creative process.
Metaphorical thinking Metaphors are a bridge between two dissimilar things. When we hold two dissimilar elements together in our mind, our thought patterns become suspended and our mind is forced to move to a new level. Yet metaphorical thinking is not something that needs to be forced. Given the appropriate supportive conditions, our minds naturally think metaphorically.
Beginner’s Mind The final quality involves being open to unexpected thoughts, ideas and solutions. As adults, it’s easy to fall into the role of expert, or at least, “been there, done that.” On the other hand, creative thinkers enjoy the state of not knowing, which some call “beginner mind.” When we’re open, when we allow ourselves to not have predefined ideas, we create space for a greater wisdom to present itself. This is the essence of the creative process.
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