Developing Creative Competency

Creativity Expert

What are you doing to develop your competence in creativity?

Creativity Expert, Alan Black, Ph.D. posed some provocative questions to me, “What are you doing to increase your creative skills, traits, and abilities?  What are the tools you use (mental, physical, emotional, social) to increase your creative thinking?  How do you increase your creative skills?”

After some reflection I developed these responses and realized that this is how I develop my creative competency.  It is my hope that this will spark some ideas for you to develop your own creative competency.  After all, creativity is a skill that can be learned, just like riding a bicycle.

Traits – I am daring and I am unafraid to reach out to people who are so out of my league it is laughable to think they would have anything to do with me.  However, sometimes they respond back to me and it is great fun.  I am passionate about learning as much as I can about creativity and how it can be applied to business, science, and technology.  Traits I possess are, I am daring, unafraid of failure, passionate, and I have the philosophy that if I am not having fun then I need to go do something different.

Abilities – I am always thinking about ways to promote creativity through the use of technology.  I have a Master in Business Administration; therefore, I am always on the lookout for how to justify creativity with (ROI) return on investment because that is the language business people understand.  I am always looking for examples of language to use that will make creativity theory understandable to “rational” people such as those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  I am often told that I am not rational (by my husband); I take this as a high compliment.

Tools – I read books about creativity and then I contact the authors and invite them to engage with me.  Oftentimes they ignore me but I have had some phenomenal successes.  Sometimes the authors find me and initiate the contact.  Michael Michalko did this and he invited me to write an endorsement for his new book, “Creative Thinkering” so I did. 

I use the public relations tools provided by (WITI) Women in Technology International to announce my latest creativity adventures.  They have a market reach of two million.  I am on their leadership team.  I also do webinars on creativity for WITI.  I am the Chief Creative Advisor to the President of Sedaa’s Global Brain Trust, which is a community of over three hundred in the field of (OD) organizational development.  I write blog posts about creativity on their site and how it relates to OD.  I also do webinars for them on social media and creativity.

I am an avid fan of Tony Buzan’s iMindMapping computer software and I use it for all my presentations.  I met him at the American Creativity Association conference in Singapore that I helped to organize.

I learn as much as I can about social media and then I implement what I have learned to promote creativity and connect with others who are interested in creativity.  I go where I have never gone before, for example, I am now a radio talk host on live radio for a program called WomenMen.  It is a new adventure and I am learning as I go along.  I plan to use this as a platform to apply creativity to everyday living and to make others aware of the field of creativity.

I am also constantly promoting RobotLab’s process developed by Lars Ringe that provides training in creativity to build high performance teams.  Our most recent success was his presentation in Copenhagen, Denmark of our white paper, “Mastering Creative Problem Solving within Teams” at the International Association of Science Parks conference.  We will soon begin our new book incorporating the ideas of tomorrow and the management solutions that create and maximize high performance teams by using creative problem solving.

I write blog posts about creativity.  I became a guest blogger for the Front End of Innovation, IIR USA and travelled to Amsterdam and wrote 19 blog posts about design thinking.  I continue to read and study design thinking to gain a better understanding of what it really means.  I recently connected with Roger Martin on facebook, the author of “The Design of Business, Why Design Thinking is the next competitive advantage.” 

Mental – I exercise five times a week.  I sleep eight hours every night.  When I am on the treadmill I zone out and often think about creativity.  I watch the news and think about how creativity might impact some of our world issues.  I am an insatiable reader of books, e-books and periodicals.  My reading ranges from the latest on Harvard Business Review to the latest historical romance novel.  I connect and hang out with international people; they are fascinating because they see the world differently than many of us.

I travel internationally at every opportunity.  Last year I went to Amsterdam; this year I am going to Ireland.  I will be going to China; therefore, I am educating myself about China.  I attend lectures and read about China.

Physical – I play with my two year old grandson on the floor and pay close attention to the way he perceives the world.  He reminds me of how fresh things once were to me and how innocent he is now.  I love to play with him and it leaves me filled with joy and new energy.  He loves to look at plants and animals and wonders about them.  My six year old grandson is just so brilliant; I love to have conversations with him about how he sees the world.  His perspective is so fresh and insightful.   They both make me start to think again about life with a fresh perspective.  When I am with them I take the time to look carefully at a plant, a flower, or to watch and think about the ducks. 

Emotional – I have been married for over 40 years and I am fortunate to be surrounded by a stable and loving family.  I do not take this for granted because some of our friends and extended family have the opposite situation.  I think about the creative skills required to stay married and to raise well adjusted children in such a turbulent society.  I am writing a book about my life’s journey entitled, “Mind Shift, Migrant to Main” and a second book entitled “Unconventional Corporate Mom.”

Social – I seek out creative people on social media networks and engage with them.  I became the President of the American Creativity Association – Austin Global.  It is a virtual community.  I seek out other leaders in creativity.  It is my intent to build a collaborative community using the latest technologies to promote creativity.  I envision scientists, software developers, engineers and other “rational” professionals meeting with creatives in one easy to use friendly collaborative virtual space.  I invite everyone to connect with me on LinkedIn, facebook, and Twitter and I engage with them.

What ideas do you plan on implementing to develop your own creative competency?


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Connie Harryman here reminds us of what it means to be creative, and human. A rare exemmplar of self-knowledge that is vital for real and life-long success.

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