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So what did we learn? We learned that motivation is our greatest challenge, not lack of time. The most common excuse we use to justify our inability to generate ideas in greater quantity and quality is time. We rationalize that we just don't have the time to come up with anything more or anything better, but in just three minutes you generated ten, 20, 30, or more ideas for this exercise. So clearly, time isn't the barrier. This is great news because motivation is an internal power we can control.
Take a look at the first few items on your list. They're most likely the more obvious ideas. Now look at the last few items on your list. If you're chuckling, that's because the last few items are typically a bit more unusual. You documented the low hanging fruit first, then you had to stretch your imagination to find new ideas. This is a powerful reminder to never cheat the creative process. When our ideas seem stale, it's usually because we're stopping at the low hanging fruit and we haven't let the process play out long enough to yield the strongest ideas.
There's an interesting dynamic that plays out, in every idea session that we conduct, whether alone or in a group. Let's take a look. idea generation has a shape that you can graph. Our vertical is Q, the quantity or quality of the ideas we generate. Our horizontal is T. The amount of time we take to generate those ideas. Now when I said go, you generated a lot of ideas really early. They came fast and furious. These are the low hanging fruit ideas. The ones that everyone generates.
But then as we went along, it became harder to generate ideas. There was a lull in that ideation until you came across a divergent idea. That really sparked a second set of novel ideas before bottoming out. This is the shape of ideation, and it plays out this way consistently. I show you that to illustrate another common misconception surrounding creativity, that creativity's a skill you can cultivate. Your most creative responses to the exercise were drawn from your experience.
Your perspective and years of indirectly and inadvertently training yourself to solve problems quickly. Not because creativity is a supernatural talent. It's a trainable, learnable skill. Those who excel at it do so because they've con, consciously practiced problem solving with relevance, a novelty. This is the key to creative training.
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