Theory of Creativity


According to Juanita Weaver, a Takoma Park, Maryland, creativity consultant, Joe Designer is right on target when it comes to the following strategies:

  • Fostering a safe and open environment for employees. "A major block to creativity is the internalized voice of judgment that says this can't be done; if you do it, something awful will happen; that's ridiculous; it's stupid; it would never work; it doesn't matter anyway," says Weaver. "When that happens, we can't even get a little idea out. The critical thing in creativity is to suspend this voice of judgment during the initial phase when you're trying to come up with something new. Keep it positive. Just let go and proceed."

As a business owner, Weaver says it's important to understand, as do Joe Moya and Joe Raia, that while you can come in on the next stage and select, sort, evaluate and then implement these new ideas, it's in that beginning phase that you just have to move from impulse to impulse and trust your first thoughts.

  • Not trying to force creativity to happen. Especially in brainstorming meetings, says Weaver, there needs to be some time in which each group member goes away alone and processes, and then comes back to the group. This alone time is an important component of creativity.
  • Having fun. "[Moya and Raia] have the courage to play," says Weaver. "We're trained to think [business] is so serious, and that shuts us down in terms of playing around and combining things in new ways. A sense of humor and fun opens us up again."

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This article was originally published in the October 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Theory of Creativity.

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