3 Traits of Creative People

If you’re interested in hiring creative candidates, you’ve probably wondered before about the best ways of identifying them. Although there are creativity tests you can employ during the selection process, or you can present them with a problem to which they need to find a creative solution during the interview, these methods are pretty time consuming, potentially expensive, and they involve actually having to call the candidates to an interview. Instead, we propose 3 factors that may indicate you’re dealing with a creative person without doing more than going through their CVs and cover letters, or doing a short search online:

1. International experience

People who have lived abroad, people who have interacted with members of other cultures in a multicultural environment during work or educational stages, were found to be more creative by research studies in the field of creativity. This is why you should keep an eye out for such individuals, whether they are foreign nationals living in your country or people who worked or studied and lived abroad.

2. Diversified experience

People who have worked in a wide range of fields are thought to be more creative than those who have worked in a single field of activity, because those persons can apply concepts and techniques which are not usually employed in a single area of activity. People with experience in sales are a particularly interesting option, because sales are usually approached creatively.

3. Sense of humor

Everyone possesses a sense of humor to a degree, but creative persons are able to make up their own jokes instead of repeating know ones. Approaching a situation from a point of view that makes it amusing requires creativity, and an original sense of humor is a trademark of creative persons.

 

Creative people will have different backgrounds than average creative people, they will act differently, and they will be able to create new ideas instead of copying others. Once you’ve found your creative future hires however, your work is not done. If you want to keep them working for you, you will need to keep them interested in the position by challenging their creativity.

 

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Creativity in business: the spark of creativity is essential to light the fires of change

The significance of creativity is not up for debate; it is quite simply the most powerful force of change and progress for the human race. It would therefore seem obvious that creativity should be nurtured, cultivated, embraced, and celebrated. We talk about changing the world, or making it a better place, yet they only remain words to some people. If you are serious about making an impact on the world around you or your respective industry or field of expertise, then thinking outside the box and seeking creativity in all its forms is essential. In my years of experience as a business consultant, I witnessed a number of strange behaviors from companies. Many would be desperate for growth, to increase their efficiency, or to stand out from their competitors, but they failed to see the value of creativity and the exploration of new ideas. The risk was too great, perhaps, so I had to explain the fundamental nature of being creative, and convince many people that there is no such thing as progress without the invigorating risk of a creative venture.

Some businesses listened to my advice; others did not. Looking back, those companies that chose a creative, innovative path found themselves heading towards success and industrial prominence, while those who refused to take a leap of creative faith have faded into the background of obsolescence. Now, to be clear, many companies can survive for years, even decades, without implementing creative policies to stimulate change and evolution. Some eras of a specific industry or discipline can last for a decade or two without any major shifts, so this lack of daring goes unnoticed, or at least unpunished by the dynamic market. However, the reason I chose to write this book now is that the world is speeding up every year. Change is happening faster, society is shifting at breakneck speeds, and there is no longer a grace period where people, cultures, industries, or fields of expertise can simply lounge about without keeping an eye on the future. There is no denying that we are in the midst of one of the most dynamic and revolutionary periods of human history. We see it all over the world and in every aspect of life from music, film, and architecture to politics, business, and the environment. This is the time to grab onto the reins of creativity and ride towards the future, whether you are a scientist, philosopher, poet, or marketing genius.

All of my years spent advising others on how to improve their personal lives or companies have led me to this book. Instead of doling out my advice one person at a time, I wanted to compile not only the insights of my experience, but also the undeniable evidence of modern creativity in the world around us. My efforts as a business educator has also put me in contact with normal, non-business people who are eager to find update their perspectives or become more in tune with the modern world. Those experiences, combined with my observations of creativity in every aspect of life, motivated me to put this guidebook for creativity together. I have already released a number of books that specifically catered to business professionals, MBA 2.0, Cool Boss, Happy Company, but I know that creativity is a subject that is relevant to far more people. My goals have shifted from expanding business knowledge to widening the breadth and accessibility of knowledge for everyone. In my opinion, the wider the audience, the greater the chance of stimulating change and inspiring new perspectives. Creativity is one of the most important and unifying aspects of the human condition, but it can also be an intimidating and risky road to embark on. My hope is that the fascinating and enlightening examples within Go Nuts: The Art of Creativity and Innovation will inspire a new mindset of creativity for everyone who reads it, and de-bunk some of the most common misconceptions about the creative process. There are no rules or boundaries for creativity; we have all seen that first-hand in society’s monumental leaps forward that have occurred even in our lifetime. There is no telling how far we can go, but one thing is for certain – the spark of creativity is essential to light the fires of change.

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5 killers of creativity

Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person (which is nonsense but we’ll get to that shortly), you definitely experienced a state of blockage where you simply sense a lack of ease, efficiency and results in everything you do. Maintaining a creative mojo can indeed be quite challenging even for those who are the most powerful in expressing themselves, their ideas and dreams because even they can get stuck between a stockpile of projects and objectives and the means to carry them out.

However, those who are more likely to overcome these moments or situations and cross the finish line of their own plans are those who learned that no one and nothing can hold you back as “capably” as yourself and when you invest the time to understand this just a bit more specifically, you will discover some of the enemies of creativity you can so easily and inadvertently help. Here we smoked out what we consider to be the worst of these enemies:

1. Overpushing.

This happens when you simply don’t know when to walk away from a task. Just indulge an honest reflection and see if there’s any progress in what you’re doing at that moment or any real probability for it to occur in the near future – if the answer you come up with is negative then it’s time to let go of it for a while. Again is one of those situations when less means actually more. Besides, even if you are not aware of it, your brain is still plugged-in, working on a solution or idea which explains those moments in the morning on waking up when you “just know” what needs to be done, what the solution is. This means that sometimes the wisest thing is to back off a little bit so you don’t scare off your muse a little longer.

2. Overpreparing.

This one follows the pattern – too much of a good thing is a bad thing. While making plans and organizing your stuff is recommended, letting yourself completely absorbed by plans is not and this can be an easy error to fall victim to especially if you decided at one point you wanted to be more productive and add more planning to your life, unhappy with past results. A man with a single plan but the determined to act immediately upon it even if it might not be the perfect plan, versus a man with a dozen plans but the inability to get things started on account of lacking total guarantee of success is a good example of the danger perfectionism poses. Actually, the fear of failure can hide just as much behind an apparently organized person than it does in a total non-doer. Always bear in mind that focusing too much on how things can unfold in the future will prevent you from enjoying them in the present but also from making real progress since all progress happens in real time even if it’s measured over time.

3. Overthinking: the not-good-enough syndrome.

Again, the fear of failure dictates that you’re just not that good to jump at that opportunity. You can easily find examples in all domains of successful people who engaged and committed unreservedly to something without having much idea at first what it was they were getting themselves into and how it was supposed to be done. Enthusiasm, daring and the desire to learn and improve eventually lead them to great accomplishments. If wait until you become a mega-specialist at something before attempting to make your skills available, chances are you will become a mega-specialist at killing your creativity.

4. Overbusyness.

Creative blockage becomes a haunting habit when we, in turn, create the habit of letting stress and busyness taking over our lives. Keeping yourself busy all the time can be a great distraction from acknowledging your real problems and can even be illusively put out as a sign of being extremely creative. Allowing your imagination time to wander, your mind time to rest and lean over non-doing is essential for feeding your creative flow. Being too busy to pursue a hobby or enjoy nature, and gain inner balance is just a poor excuse you’ll be using as long as you can afford self-lying. Slow down to catch up! While it may sound like a line form Captain Planet, the power to control the busyness of your life is yours. Resist being dragged into the sinky sands of excuses of the type: “I would love to read more but I don’t have time”, “I know I haven’t gone for a walk for like decades but I’ll get out more when I have more time to spare”. This sends the “dead end” postcard to your creative thinking. If you like being busy why not being busy with something you like?

5. Overdoubting.

Family, school, society – they can all participate in choking off your creative spark by presenting you with norms and standards and even ways that prove you as being creative; that’s true but eventually you cannot simply settle for the role of the victim. You have power and control over your creativity because, first of all, you are creative. Everyone is. It’s just that we express it within levels and frames that differ. That’s all. So plunge headfirst into your own creative juice and cash in on the amazing resourcefulness hidden inside you, waiting for you signal to come pouring in. That signal is simply believing. Yeah, it’s probably annoying for some, but you still can find too many achievers out there who weren’t also believers. Can you believe that?

Check out my related book:

Go Nuts: The Art of Creativity and Innovation

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7 Habits of Highly Creative People

How you manage your mind but also your average day tells the story of your creativity. This creativity is not something reserved to those only few who had the luck or destiny to be born with it. There is a lesson to be learned in accessing creativity and this book is about to offer it to you. The approach used is that of exploring the habits of highly creative minds in such a way as to make easier and immediately applicable by anyone the understanding of what is the optimal mindset that leads to a remarkably creative “harvest” and how to obtain it. Whether you have been lingering in a creative block for a long time or you simply wish to make that creative mind of yours work at full capacity, in this book you can find some simple tools able to change the way you are doing things and the results you have been getting so far.

Download this ebook on Amazon for only $0.99!

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How to be creative

If you’re looking to become more creative, then we have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that creativity can’t be taught. Disappointing, right? Well the good news is that each and every one of us is creative to some extent. We just have to ‘feed’ our inner creativity if we want it to start manifesting itself more often. And that’s because thinking creatively can be considered a habit; like all habits, it’s formed through repetition.

If you want to be more creative, we have three tips for you which we hope you’re going to find helpful:

 

1. Loosen up! Be relaxed in what you do, no matter how serious your job is. That’s the first step towards allowing your brain to change its uncreative ways.

 

2. Stop being a perfectionist! Yes, we know. You’ve got where you are now by doing everything right. Well, being creative isn’t about being perfect. It’s about generating ideas – something which your brain will have a much easier time doing if it doesn’t feel pressured to produce something perfect. Learn to work with imperfect ideas, and you’ll see that by being creative you can turn those ideas into amazing solutions to any problems you’re confronting.

 

3. Embrace failure! Not literally, but learn to treat failure as a learning opportunity. If you haven’t failed in anything so far it means you haven’t gone outside your comfort zone. You need to understand sometimes failure happens; learn to take risks and just go with the flow!

 

4. Be your greatest critic! No matter if you succeed or fail, take a moment to think about what you did right and what you did wrong. What could you improve the next time? What did you do that was so great you need to remember to do again next time? What other say about your work is a good feedback, but you need to trust your own judgment and remember that there is always room for improvement. As long as you learn from your mistakes and accomplishments, you’re going to improve constantly.

 

Becoming more creative is a matter of changing your mindset, and these tips will allow your brain to feel more comfortable with thinking creatively.

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Make your creative presentations matter!

It’s not enough to be a highly creative person in a high performing creative department. You need to also have the skills needed to ‘sell’ your work. This is why we feel the following tips will help you take more satisfaction and pride in your work:

1. Influence the client’s decision

When you’re going into a creative presentation meeting, your team will have a number of ideas they really loved, and one or two ideas that are nothing special but they want to have around in case the client doesn’t like the first ones. Unfortunately, things won’t go as planned. Most people have an innate resistance to change and taking risks, and for that reason they will tend to choose the safer ideas, those ideas that cost less to implement and most of the times aren’t too innovative. That’s why those ‘safe’ ideas shouldn’t even be put on the table in the first place. Keep them for a second meeting if they aren’t impressed with any of the ideas your team really liked. But give your ideas a chance.

2. Be and look professional

For this to happen, you need to know the layout of the room, the audience, and what you’re going to say – really well. If the room is not familiar to you, ask for photos so you know what you need in order to set up for the presentation. You might know the client CEO, or you might not. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to meet him or her and find out a bit about his vision on the company and campaign. This can be done during the brainstorming stage. Before the presentation, rehearse your speech. Do it in front of a mirror, a camera, or in front of your colleagues, and accept and expect feedback.

3. Be persuasive

If you feel your ideas deserve it, fight for them! Convince your clients why your idea will work. New ideas make people hesitate, because they’re not proven to work – and failure would hurt their company. However, do so in a respectful and professional manner.

 

Last of all, if you don’t feel prepared, if you don’t feel you have ideas worth presenting, delay. Tell the client that your team is currently looking into some ideas and that you need some extra time. He will most likely accept.

 

 

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The 3 stages of creative problem solving

Creative problem solving refers to taking an innovative, creative approach to a problem or challenge. It’s an approach that helps people see their problems from a different angle and come up with innovative ways in which to solve these problems.

There are three stages in the creative problem solving process, and these are:

1. Exploring the problem

It’s vital to get a feel of the problem before committing to a course of action. Sometimes the process is set off by our desire to improve something. Either way, the first step is to check the facts. Talk to the people involved, gather data and look for patterns that might indicate where and what the problem might be. Make sure you are not confusing symptoms of a problem with the actual problem. Treating just the symptoms won’t make a problem go away, and those symptoms will reappear.

2. Generating ideas

Generating a creative solution to a problem is not a straight to the point process. First of all, you need to brainstorm ideas, while making sure you are coming up with creative ideas which you can actually apply. It’s all about making connection and understanding what the highest level of risk you can afford to take is.

3. Choosing and implementing a solution

Choosing a solution should be based on clearly stated criteria. Once you’ve selected and improved the best two or three ideas, you can see which of them is the one meeting the most criteria, and go with that.

However, a creative idea also needs to be implemented, and you need to make sure that your company has the resources – financial, technological, human, and time, to implement the solution. You must also assign the project to someone, and you need to establish clear goals as well as progress markings, in order to be able to measure performance and progress, and adapt on the way as needed.

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How Google Really Works

For centuries, the idea of power within our global society has been perpetuated, transferred, and grasped at by nations and empires; the political lines of countries and continents have formed the outline of existence for billions of people. This arrangement provided some modicum of stability, a foundation for individual cultures to flourish, and a framework for economic activity. However, as with any manmade structure, certain elements decay, new pieces are added for support, and eventually, its composition is irreparably changed.

While business and trade have been a part of our human consciousness since the first humanoid traded a sharpened rock for a piece of dry wood, in recent decades, industry has exponentially evolved and assumed a much larger role in the daily lives of people across the globe. People used to identify with nations, pledging their allegiance to one king or another, but the broad boundaries of loyalty, as a concept, have expanded. From birth, we are trained to ally ourselves with groups of like-minded people, whether it is the other members of our hometown, believers in a certain faith, or devoted fans of one musician or artist. Industry was somewhat late to this game, and for many years, the business world was purely a place of commerce, a place where needs were met.

As companies swelled in size and began overflowing into other regions, nations, and continents, familiarity created a superficial form of popularity or brand loyalty, but that was primarily based on availability. However, the influence of corporate entities has never stopped growing. As we look around the world today, we see that where loyalty, wealth, and power used to remain firmly and undeniably in the hands of nations and political entities, businesses have gradually reached the same echelon of influence.

This is not to say that foreign relations and global politics have become any less important in the progress of the world; they merely have to share the stage to a certain degree with other very important economic and industrial actors. The intermingling of business and politics has become a tangled, indecipherable web that touches, restricts, or drives every country on earth. In reality, the number of sovereign states is anywhere between 195 and 203, depending on who you ask and what country they’re from. However, for all intents and purposes, the number of sovereign nations on the planet should also include the massive political and economic clout of a few dozen corporations that exist and thrive around the world.

For example, in 2013, Google reported a net income of approximately 12.92 billion USD. According to the IMF’s report of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product), Google is wealthier than 64 sovereign nations. A single corporation, which is less than 20 years old, has managed to develop enough of a loyal following around the globe to outrank roughly 1/3 of the planet’s nations in terms of individual wealth. If you consider Google’s net income, which is a more accurate measurement in comparison to GDP, then this search engine titan brings in more money per year than 114 nations of the world. These numbers and comparisons may be staggering, but you must also consider that Google is only a single company out of hundreds of multi-billion dollar corporations. Google isn’t the most wealthy – not by a long shot. It doesn’t even make it into the Top 50 (#52, according to Forbes, 2013).

The point is, the days of thinking that the world is run by presidents, parliaments, dictatorships, and democracies are over. Although we may not like to admit it, money makes the world go round, and the significance of business and industry are undeniable. Unlike nations, where citizenship presupposes a certain amount of loyalty, the vast majority of global businesses participate in a free market, meaning that people can pick and choose which golden idol they want to worship. Competition is a cornerstone of commerce, which means that companies are desperate to grow, influence, impress, and engage more and more potential customers as possible.

Certain companies seem to have found the secrets to success, the magic words that cause millions of people to flock to their doors, wallets in hand. Certain companies have the advantage of supplying a necessary (or perceived as necessary) product, such as oil companies and other energy providers, but the truly visionary companies are those that are not “essential” in the Maslowian sense of the word. The past two decades have seen the astronomical rise of tech companies as the Digital Age moved from dawn to daylight. Many of the most successful and wealthy tech companies have rather inspiring origin stories, but Google’s rise to dominance has been particularly profound and thought-provoking.

By largely throwing out the model for successful business practices and reconstructing a strategy for success from scratch, Google has been able to grow faster and more efficiently than almost any company (or country) in history. For that precise reason, millions of hungry, eager eyes look to the company for inspiration on everything from product design to company culture, but on a purely quantitative level, the growth of Google is what fascinates people. This search engine, which at first glance is no different than many of its functionality competitors, has created an empire that spans industries, oceans, and generations.

(This in an excerpt from the Book: How Google Did It)

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Successful innovators sell dreams, not products

Successful innovators sell dreams, not products. This secret is something that Steve Jobs is well known for. One of his best and most successful innovation techniques was the realization that people aren’t interested in the product – they are interested in what the product allows them to achieve. Famously, when Jobs unveiled the iPod in 2001, he said, “In our own small way, we’re going to make the world a better place.” A lesser innovator may have introduced the product as a music player; Jobs introduced it as a product that would make the world a better place.

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Innovative companies face failure

Innovative companies face failure. Innovation involves taking risks. As such, it means that innovating involves a certain amount of failure. It’s important to understand that that is just part and parcel with innovation and that you need to accept that it will happen, yet still pick up and move on. Every innovative company has faced some pretty substantial produce failures along the way.

In April 1985, Coca-Cola released New Coke. It did really well in blind taste tests but it failed spectacularly in the real world. New Coke only stayed on the market for three months. Overall, we certainly don’t think of the Coca-Cola company as a failure. Today, Coca-Cola owns Minute Maid, Powerade, Capri Sun, and around 100 other brands. Despite that highly publicized failure, the company picked itself up, moved on, and created countless other profitable and successful products.

Although Nintendo has been an extremely successful company and one that has managed to remain relevant in the highly competitive and ever-evolving world of gaming, Nintendo has drunken the bitter draft of abject failure. In 1995, the company released a product called Virtual Boy. The system attempted to make use of 3-D graphics, but they were rudimentary, the system’s headgear was bulky, and the product price was high. Virtual Boy only stayed on the market for a mere six months.

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