Episode 13: 3 Keys to Creativity

Guest: Larry Robertson Creativity Expert, Founder, Lighthouse Consulting

Before we talk about the inspirational elements of Episode 13, let’s chat about the power of a having a great network. In this case, I connected with creativity guru Larry Robertson (star of Episode 13) through my new friend JJ Ramberg who I met through DEMAN, the Duke Entertainment Media and Arts Network that I’ve chaired in New York for the last six years.  My personal mission with DEMAN is to help current Duke students realize that there are fruitful career choices other than being lawyers, bankers or doctors. To achieve this mission I’ve helped organize annual networking events for Dukies and connected with undergrads and grads at DEMAN weekends down in Durham.  It was at one of these on campus events that I met JJ Ramberg, entrepreneur, and long-time TV show host. JJ and I talked about her start-up Goodshop and I mentioned my upcoming podcast series. Next thing you know JJ is referring Larry my way, he had been a guest on her TV show, and the result is well worth a listen for anyone curious about creativity and how they can increase their aptitude in this area. So now on to my podcast notes…

As it turns out, creativity is not instantaneous. Sure, you may have your “Aha!” moments, but true creativity is a constant, active process. Like with toned muscles, it takes work and training to get there. Or in the case of creativity, practice and happy accidents that allow you to free up your mind and take in different perspective. Some may think creativity is reserved for children playing pretend, creativity is actually the seed of innovation. And who doesn’t want to be innovative? If you’re looking to flex those creative muscles, keep these five questions in mind when tackling your next project:

  1. “How do I know what I know?”

Check in with your thoughts and assumptions. Sometimes we get caught in a repetitive closed-circuit loop of thought, which is counterintuitive to creativity.

  1. “Is there a pattern?”

People tune out to things that deviate from the norm and attribute it to noise (see above: closed-circuit loop). By checking in with our thoughts and assumptions, we allow for those deviations to come through.

  1. “What if….?”

Once you’ve answered the first two questions, you can start playing the What-If game and getting creative with it.

  1. “Is there another way of looking at it?”

Can you flip the scenario and see it from a different angle? What does that angle tell you?

  1. “Who cares?”

Innovation is an awesome goal to strive towards, but if no one besides you cares, it doesn’t lead to much. But practice makes perfect!

My conclusion is that it is easier to learn to be creative than to learn to be a good golfer but you’ll have to listen to this episode to decide on that one for yourself.

Meet the Guest

Your Business, AmEx Open Forum TV
Larry Robertson with JJ Ramberg on MSNBC

Larry Robertson is the 8-time award-winning author of A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress, and The Language of Man. In 1992, he founded the Lighthouse Counsulting LLC, a consulting firm committed to guiding entrepreneurial ventures, their leaders, and investors. Then in 2011, he founded the (re) institute, a nonprofit organization committed to helping creativity thrive amongst future innovators. Regarded as an expert on entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, Robertson also authored the eight-time award-winning novel, “A Deliberate Pause,” and has received wide acclaim for his latest book, “The Language of Man.”

What You'll Learn

  • That creativity is a mindset that can be re-learned (we all have it as kids).
  • Asking the right questions can increase the odds of a creative outcome.
  • You need to give yourself time to be creative in a purposeful way.
  • If you want to be creative, you have to give yourself permission to do so.
  • All lot of big ideas are arrived at indirectly and are "purposeful accidents!"
  • Thoughtful insights from MacArthur Fellows, as shared by Robertson.

Quotes from Larry Robertson

  • Most of us don’t really take the time to think whether or not we understand creativity.
  • Creativity and how it leads to innovation isn’t something born in an instant.
  • Creativity is something that every one of us is built for.
  • The truth is, creativity is a gradual sorting; it happens through purposeful accidents.
  • The unprofessional question, the flipped view, allows you to explore your assumptions and explore your thoughts.
  • The fox brain is the part of us that’s always looking around at new things and if you think about it, we are the only species that we know of that thinks about the future.
  • We all have the fox and hedgehog mindset capability, but we’re often heavily leaning towards one side. Whether it’s a parent or a teacher, having permission to explore [the fox] side is critically important.
  • You can’t turn to creativity or decide to be innovative in a moment of panic.

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