Today's Reading

Consider when you were a young child—let's say between three and six years old. Without even thinking about it, you were naturally creative. Your instinctive curiosity and imagination fueled your day. You drove your parents crazy with the word "why." You created "forts" out of pillows and sofa cushions. You ate dirt to see what it tasted like. You threw food at the wall to see if it would stick. You ate glue to see how it would taste. You got your sister to eat glue to see if she'd become a statue. You created amazing art with just your fingers. You were constantly using your imagination to play make-believe games and create imaginary friends. You had conversations with no one. You were insanely curious. And you were creative.

Research has shown that curiosity is highly linked to creativity, and we (parents, teachers, society, etc.) systematically begin to dull your creativity and ask you to conform between the ages of 4 and 12. Color between the lines. There is always just one right answer. You need to dress appropriately. Then, during your teenage years, your curiosity and potential creativity was further undermined by the premium placed on only the "right answers" for standardized testing. Eventually, little remains of your curious, childlike natural inclination to question and challenge the status quo. You covered your inner well of creativity, maybe without even knowing it.

But creativity and problem solving is exactly the skill most critical to personal, professional, and academic success in today's rapidly changing world. According to education leaders, qualities such as curiosity, creativity, and imagination are for today's kids "what the 'three Rs' were for previous generations." If that's the case, then you'd better understand exactly how creativity and innovation works and how you can get back what you had as a child.

The good news is that you can. You see, it never really left you; it's just hidden. And you need to fire the flames of your "creative" spirit. The only way you will ever achieve your maximum potential is if you become better at solving problems or taking advantage of opportunities. So, let's unleash your creative talent because that's what you need to reap the greatest rewards today and keep ahead of the competition tomorrow.

Forty years ago, businesses assumed that they would have to create new products and services or respond to changes in the marketplace to ensure their viability and success—eventually. Speed was not really rewarded; steady and slow was the norm. Companies would get there when they got there, and customers would just have to wait. Innovation was glacial. It could take years, sometimes decades, before change rippled across global markets. Well, change has changed.

The modern world and marketplaces—global, domestic, and local—are amazingly fast and dynamic; they are now in a constant state of disruption largely thanks to the Internet and large marketplace segments like millennials and baby boomers. The new normal is fast, faster, fastest. All of a sudden, being creative and innovative is a requirement for most companies. That means that the people who are building these companies or working in them need to be more creative. That means you need to be more creative or, just like companies that don't innovate, you will be left behind.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU SPECIFICALLY, IN THIS BOOK?

First, you will learn about all the "myths of innovation and creativity"—those things that everyone believes but are not true. Then I will introduce you to my CreativityWorks Framework, which consists of the following: mindset, environment (leadership and culture), habitat, and powerful brainstorming tools. Yes, brainstorming tools. Most brainstorming, as you may have already experienced, is haphazard, hit and miss, and most times a complete waste of time. Using the brainstorming tools I identify, within my recommended structure and time frame, you will begin to yield amazing ideation and creativity that will hopefully lead to innovative solutions. I will walk through the two types of mindset, fixed and growth, and explain why you need to adopt the latter. Then I will introduce you to the steps you can take to heighten individual and team creativity. After that, you will learn how to really set up and conduct brainstorming sessions using six different tools, all in a structured time frame. I will thoroughly walk you through all six different brainstorming tools so that you can understand which one to use when you try to address a problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
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