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A new method to spark creativity and innovation

A new method to spark creativity and innovation

Researchers have developed a far better method for training people to be creative.

This method is based on narrative theory and helps people be creative in the same way children and artists are: making up stories that imagine alternative worlds, shift perspective and generate unexpected actions.

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Everyone is creative

The narrative method recognises that we're all creative. According to professor Angus Fletcher, we are often so obsessed with the idea that some people are more creative than others that we undervalue some people's creativity. However, we should train creativity in the right way.

Since the 1950s, creativity has been trained using divergent thinking - a "computational approach" that treats the brain as a logic machine. But divergent thinking has not been that successful as it relies on data about the problems of the past. It can't help prepare people for new challenges.

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The narrative method of training for creativity

The narrative method of training for creativity

The narrative method uses the techniques that writers use to create stories. For example:

  • Developing new worlds in your mind. If employees are asked to think about an unusual customer, then imagine a world where all customers are like that. Would that change your business?
  • Perspective shifting. An executive at a company might be asked to answer a problem by thinking like another team member.

The scenarios you dream up will not actually happen, but they can open you up to imagine radically different possibilities.

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Hire diverse, then train to be creative

The narrative method of training creativity through telling stories is how young children are creative. But creativity in children drops after four or five years of schooling when children start intensive logical semantic and memory training.

Organisations that train employees to be creative no longer need to strive to hire creative people. Instead, they can employ a diverse group of people and train them to be creative.

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