I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Nixon, PhD, who besides being a renowned keynote speaker and author also describes herself as a “creativity strategist.” Wondering what a creativity strategist is? So was I. Natalie explained that she made up the term. It was a great term to explain how she works directly advising business leaders to help transform their business growth and success through creativity.
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I have never considered myself a creative person, but I do try to think “outside the box” in terms of business. Natalie’s advice and expertise takes that type of thinking to another stratosphere, encouraging businesses to consider their innovation IQ and aim to increase it dramatically. Considering we are living in a time of unprecedented innovation through technology, this advice is right on point. Think of brands like Kodak and Blockbuster…they didn’t innovate, and now are not much more than nostalgia brands.
In competitive work environments or for people just entering the work force, developing your “creativity quotient” can set you apart from the crowd. Natalie explains that the creativity quotient is made up of the 3 “i’s”- inquiry (ask a lot of questions), improvisation (don’t be afraid to try new things and new ways of doing old things) and intuition (trust your inner voice.) This kind of thinking produces novel value in the workplace and will give you the edge for being the company’s problem solver.
I asked Natalie what holds most people back from embracing their creative side. She believes the answer is a combination of fear and complacency. Most individuals fear that they’ll fail when trying new things, but fear can be an excellent motivator if you don’t let it limit you. Many large companies become complacent because they’ve achieved a certain level of success and start to feel as if they’ve already “made it,” or they think they’re simply too big to fail and the need to innovate seems less pressing. This is a dangerous way of thinking- we must constantly evolve as the market does.
So How Do You Begin To Nurture Your Innate Creativity?
Natalie insists the best way to nurture lifelong creativity is to be a clumsy student of anything that interests you. You don’t need to be a natural at it and you don’t need to excel; just explore new hobbies and interests throughout your life. This type of learning and curiosity gets the brain firing on all the right cylinders to spark creativity that carries over into all aspects of your life.
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Another great tip? Always have role models in your life and career. Collect role models who are doing things you admire, who live a life you aspire to and who encourage you to live with both wonder and rigor. Ask a lot of questions and listen to a lot of different perspectives. Let go of the societal pressure to have it all together and simply live to learn and explore.
Feeling inspired or have someone on your list who you think would love to take the “creativity leap?” Order Natalie’s books — The Creativity Leap and Strategic Design Thinking — on Amazon or enjoy the Wonder Rigor card deck with your family or your work team this holiday season.
Who (or what) motivates your creativity? Have you read any of Natalie Nixon’s books? Let us know in the comments!
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