Sunday, November 14, 2010

Predicting Part 3

4. Confidence in Intuition

 Intuition is an effortless, quick, and automatic form of thinking (our “gut feel”) that we rely on frequently to guide our actions. This is in contrast to analytical thinking which is deliberate, unhurried and detail-oriented. People who have a lot of confidence in their intuitive side tend to prefer this way of thinking over more analytical thinking and their confidence in the accuracy of these intuitive decisions. Having this confidence in one’s intuition can help immensely with creativity, as creative thought often involves tapping into intuitive, “gut” thinking. 

 Confidence in intuition can be developed by gradually using and testing your intuitive judgements in low risk circumstances, then using any successful intuition-based decisions as encouragement for more important tasks. The next time you have an opportunity to make a low-risk decision using your “gut feel” (when trying to answer a question on a game show or when you’re asked a question you’re not too sure of, for example), ensure you make the decision instantly then check to confirm the correct answer. More often than not, you will find that your instinctive answers are correct. The next step is to start deploying these automatic judgements at work when trying to solve problems or when brainstorming, and to consciously acknowledge the benefits of your instinctive judgements when they pay off. This gradual approach will ease you into a pattern of trusting your intuition and will help to develop your creative aptitude. 

5. Tolerance of Ambiguity 

 Tolerance of Ambiguity relates to how people react to problem solving tasks where the information provided is vague, incomplete or inconsistent, and where the solution and path to get to the solution are not immediately clear.  People who are very tolerant of ambiguities are not bothered by problems that are perceived as open-ended or ambiguous as they tend to be highly flexible and dynamic, and they enjoy the autonomy and creativity ill-defined tasks require. Being open to ambiguity and feeling comfortable with these types of problems is key to creative performance, as a large part of creative thinking involves being able to sit comfortably with problems that have no obvious solution. 

Changing the way you perceive unclear objectives is one way of becoming more comfortable with ambiguity. Initially, you must challenge your automatic tendency to view vague instructions negatively; instead, try to be neutral and open to ambiguities. The next step is to realise that the more ambiguous your directives, the more scope you have to impose your personal touch and talent on the brief. That is, ambiguous briefs give you much more opportunity to work outside organisational constraints and norms, and to do things the way you think they should be done. If you consistently approach ambiguous directives in this way - openly, positively and confidently – your habit of perceiving ambiguity negatively will be replaced by a tendency to view ambiguity as an opportunity for you to shine. 

6. Cross Application of Experiences 

 Cross-application of experiences occurs when a person draws on experiences from seemingly unrelated parts of their life in order to solve problems at work. People who demonstrate this behaviour frequently apply knowledge and concepts from outside of the work environment to solve work-related problems. 

The obvious solution to improve upon this area is to start deliberately applying knowledge and experiences from outside of work to tasks requiring creative problem solving at work. A common and effective strategy is to use analogy, that is, try to identify similarities in the problem you are working on and a problem you’ve solved previously outside of work. Once similarities have been extracted try to see if your previous solutions would also work in the problem you are attempting to solve. You can also draw analogies using your knowledge of seemingly irrelevant topics, such as history, politics or popular culture. The more similarities you can identify between projects at work and your knowledge and experiences, the better you will understand the problem you are faced with and the more likely you are to be able to solve it. 

 So What Now? 

The six points outlined above are some of the main findings to come out of our research, which should hopefully give you and your team some direction for enhancing your own creativity. There were also several other variables that were linked to creative performance in the workplace, however, the above variables were some of the main ones.

 You might also start to think about how you could incorporate these things into your recruitment process when you are looking for new staff who will be great creative thinkers, or alternatively, you might seek out a formal way of measuring these traits as they can be tricky to assess. 

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