Unleash Your Creative Genius

Creativity guru Chris Barez-Brown will be upping our creative energy at this year’s Leadercast Live event and our first-ever Leadercast Labs. Why is Chris so passionate about helping organizations tap into their creativity? And what do you have to gain by flexing your innovation muscle? Find out in this guest blog from Chris, and join us May 5 and 6 live in Atlanta, or get your Leadercast fix an event host site near you!

Our work at Upping Your Elvis focuses on helping people unleash their innate creative genius. Why the attention on bringing out your inner creativity? Well, when we ask our clients how much of their big life decisions are based on logic and rationale versus pure intuition, the average answer we get is about 80% intuition (feeling) versus 20% logic (thinking).

Often at work we cannot be as instinctive as we can in our personal lives. Logic and data are part of the requirement for the bottom line. However, to survive the ever-changing innovative digital landscape, businesses must maximize their creativity and not get totally fixed on data reliance.

And yet, our dependence on big data is sharply increasing. According to a new survey commissioned by Dell, 41% of mid-market businesses have one or more big data projects already in place, with another 55% planning to start one in the near future.

Without a doubt, big data can help organizations effectively grow, develop and achieve goals. But in terms of creativity, we need to reach into our gut and “feel” our way around projects and decisions in order to make magic happen. This means not solely relying upon research, numbers, data, and facts, but also valuing the things that cannot be counted or measured.

A recent IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEO’s reported that creativity is the single most important leadership quality facing the complex business world of today. A similar Adobe Systems poll of 5,000 people globally also showed that 80% of people agreed: creativity is key for economic growth.

Today’s world is busy; our minds filled to the brim with what we need to do next. Away from the comfort of facts and figures, we can feel fearful not knowing what the outcomes will be. Uncertainty is something that is difficult to embrace, but unless we give ourselves space for the unknown we will struggle to find our potent internal voice.

Leaders who spend all their time using models, research decks, customer segmentations, and graphs will never provide the breakthroughs of those who are happy to be playful and “get lost” in thought, visioning, creativity. When we create the right conditions and step back unattached from the output, brilliance inevitably comes knocking.

Our conscious processing accounts for just 4% to 15% of our overall thinking. This makes our subconscious (or intuition) the most powerful source of creative stimulus available to us.

Steve Jobs trusted his intuition when the world was telling him Apple shouldn’t enter the phone business. He ignored them. Richard Branson often places big bets in brand new ventures based on his passions or frustrations in the world around him. Branson is famously quoted as saying, “Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you.”

Breakthrough moments come when we have access to our subconscious and we have more access when we are in a relaxed, yet alert Alpha state. Our minds are calm and free of distraction.

We conducted a survey asking where people had their best ideas. The results were no great surprise to us: in the shower, in bed, walking in nature, and travelling were some of the top answers. These are all relaxing environments away from the distraction of our screens and the busyness of our lives. Rarely do we have a “lightbulb moment” when we are sitting at our desks trying to think of an idea!

Neuro Scientist John Kounios found through his research that when problems were solved with a flash of insight rather than logical data, the area of the brain that deals with words and concepts was lit up. This is effectively the mind turning in on itself and disengaging from the world, empowering a person to imagine new and different ways to creatively transform reality into something better.

Kounios explains further: “So if you really want to solve a problem, get rid of all the distractions and potential distractions that could yank you back to reality as it is and prevent you from formulating your own new reality. Listen to that subtle voice from within.”

And as McKinsey & Co. partner Michael Rennie has pointed out, “What’s good for the spirit is good for the bottom line.”

Creativity Pointers:

  • People tell us that they make their biggest life decisions based on intuition (80% of the time) versus logic (20% of the time).
  • Today’s top organizational leaders say that creativity is the single most important leadership quality facing the complex business world of today and that creativity is key for economic growth.
  • Don’t rely solely upon research, data and facts; value the things that cannot be counted or measured.
  • When we create the right conditions and step back unattached from the output, brilliance comes knocking.
  • Breakthrough moments come when we have access to our subconscious and we have more access when we are in a relaxed, yet alert Alpha state
  • If you want to solve a problem, remove all the distractions that could yank you back to reality and prevent you from formulating your own new reality. Listen to your inner voice and creativity.

Join Chris Baréz-Brown, founder of Upping Your Elvis, at this year’s Leadercast Labs and Leadercast Live! Find Chris on Twitter @uppingyourelvis.

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