Positivity, Playfulness, Passion and Persistence. What do these mean in terms of creativity? This is a framework I came across when studying creativity back in the early nineties as part of my MBA and it resonated with me. The 4 Ps are characteristics or behaviours that are conducive to creativity. They can equally apply to developing a creative climate in an organisation or as a checklist for ones own level of creativity.
Let me take each one in turn.
Positivity – this is an attitude of mind, where opportunities are perceived rather than problems. When we are being positive, we can look at issues in a way that is open to possibility. This can mean reframing the issues as opportunities, rather than seeing them as problems.
If we are negative, then we build up barriers and see little hope. We often talk of seeing a glass half full or half empty and this is a useful analogy for positivity. Another example of how this can play out is when some people habitually respond with a ‘yes but’ to suggestions made. If we do this, then people will stop involving us in new projects. We will be putting up barriers to any change. Instead of using ‘yes but’ when faced with discussion of change why not try ‘yes and’, and to introduce any further thoughts you may have that you think have been overlooked. This confirms that you are open to new ideas and at the same time are aware that there may be issues that have not yet been aired.
The next of the 4 Ps is Playfulness. It may be helpful here to reflect upon how young children use their imagination when playing. For example, observe how a basic cardboard box can become a vehicle or a house. Young children do not have the censor, that adults have learned to adopt, which tells them that this won’t work etc. In a work situation it can be also about being flexible as well as introducing an element of fun. A playful attitude will enable openness to new ideas and taking risks. Risk taking is crucial to creating something new.
The next of the 4 P’s is Passion. This is very much related to motivation and commitment. If you are passionate about something you are likely to lose yourself in its pursuit and can get into that state of flow that Csikszentmihalyi talks about. Being motivated and committed to what you are doing also enables you to be persistent in pursuing a result. Our passion for something keeps us interested and committed to the process and this is important because we will inevitably face times when progress can’t be made, when we face obstacles to the change we want to happen.. This leads us into the next of the 4 P’s, Persistence.
The final of the P’s is Persistence. This is characterized by trying again and again to achieve something. Trying to solve that problem or move forward to implementation for example. Persistence is a trait demonstrated by many artists who work with their craft consistently until they feel satisfied with the result. It is about not giving up when we hit obstacles or receive negative responses from others.
As a checklist for individual or collective creativity, I hope that you will find this useful.
Barbara is an executive coach, leadership and creativity facilitator. She has coached in a variety of corporate settings, and has developed a unique approach to using creative techniques in her coaching and workshops to enable change at a group or individual level. She has recently co-authored a book on creativity for leaders, called Creativity Cycling , with Dr. Tracy Stanley.
In January I wrote about icebreakers and their value in setting the scene for an event. Today, to follow on from this, I will focus on the importance of raising energy in a meeting and how to do it.
What are energisers?
These are exercises, or some form of activity that can be inserted into a workshop or meeting to raise the energy of the group. Coffee can of course serve that purpose, and it works for me in a morning! However, the use of group energisers increases the energy level of the whole group and can inject a sense of fun into any meeting.
When to use energisers?
Energisers can be used at the beginning of an activity, or during it when energy is dropping in the room. After lunch is a great time for an energiser.
At the beginning of an event an energiser can also work as an icebreaker to create a good environment for the work ahead. For example, if it is a training event encouraging creative thinking, the use an energiser to open up the group and start to develop a creative climate for the event.
Mid-way through a project an energiser can be used to re-invigorate the thinking and energy in the group. This can rekindle the enthusiasm and motivation of the group.
Longer term projects or programs may warrant more time spent on energizers. This can be at the beginning to create a working climate, and throughout the project when energy is starting to flag. For a lengthy program a longer time can be justified in setting the scene. Here, energisers may be of a different nature. Outdoor exercises, dance workshops, cookery classes have been examples of energisers I have noted.
Energisers raise energy when it is most needed.
Use them to develop a group climate for the success of the event/program.
Insert them anywhere into a program or event to reinvigorate it.
They may only need a short time to work.
Energising virtual groups
I have offered a couple of examples of energisers here. However we are currently living in a time when group meetings are not encouraged. Therefore it is important to consider how to energise groups who are meeting virtually.
Many people will be struggling with a loss of energy during these times. Using platforms such as Zoom are good for virtual meetings however, there is a tendancy to sit rather passively when we are facing a screen. Raising energy at the start of such meetings can make a difference to the climate of the meeting and ensure it is more productive.
So how do you do this?
I hope that these simple guidelines may help.
To raise energy people need to be physically active. This is more difficult sitting in front of a screen but not impossible. Ask participants to stretch, to stand, do some gentle exercise before the meeting gets underway properly.
To enable everyone to participate, ensure that each person gets a chance to contribute early on. Prepare in advance and ask them to send in or have something ready to share.
For example, ask each person to send in a photo of themselves as a baby – put these up anonymously and ask participants to decide which one belongs to which participant. You could also use first car, a first pet or favourite song etc.
You could ask each person in turn to state two truths and a lie and ask everyone else to decide which is the lie.
Use your imagination here , prepare ahead, and then limit discussion to two minutes per person.
Create an atmosphere of fun if the meeting warrants it. For training, or creative/innovation working groups then it would. However, for other more serious meetings then use an exercise which is a little more serious. Remember the aim is to encourage sharing and for everyone to raise their energy early on in the meeting.
What have you used to energise a virtual meeting?
Barbara is an executive coach, leadership and creativity facilitator. She has coached people in a variety of corporate settings, and developed a unique approach to using creative techniques in her coaching and workshops to enable change at a group or individual level. She has recently published a book on creativity for leaders with Dr. Tracy Stanley, entitled Creativity Cycling .
I have for some time been reflecting on the importance of space in creativity. This has also been underlined by several recent experiences of working with groups creatively.
For example when facilitating creative problem solving workshops it is very clear that when people are put into a physical environment which does not allow them space, such as a small room with a table, or when that space is very practical and worklike, such as a boardroom, there is little creativity happening and people revert to being logical and rational. (more…)
The second of my blogs on conditions for creativity will take a look at the importance of play in creativity. In my last blog I referred to the individual conditions for creativity which Jane Henry, one of the authors of the Open University Business School module, Creativity, Innovation and Change, claims are important as conditions for creativity.
Today I would like to focus on the second of these, Playfulness, which is defined here by Henry as
‘an ability to be flexible. It implies a mind that does not cling rigidly to a particular way of viewing the world but is able to switch perspectives, and tolerates or enjoys the ambiguity in understanding inherent in holding several, perhaps conflicting, viewpoints’
A recent report showed that personal playfulness has a positive influence on employee creativity, organizational playfulness climate, and organizational innovation. (more…)
Last week I came across a short article in the International Herald Tribune which contained an interview with Michael Lebowitz, founder and chief executive of Big Spaceship, a digital marketing and communications agency.
What I found fascinating about this company, which clearly regards creativity is its key strategic asset, were the following:
Creativity is regarded as belonging to and the responsibility of all, not just a design or development group. Everyone in invited to brainstorm for ideas and there is an attitude that everyone has something to contribute. (more…)