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Friday, August 29, 2014

Encouraging San Diego Creativity to Solve Business and Scientific Problems



Creativity isn’t just the domain of the artistic types and has practical applications for businesses. Without new ideas, ways of accomplishing goals, and unique solutions businesses fail to develop and grow. A paper by Deepa and Gopal (2011) delves into a model of creativity and how it can be used to foster business growth. The model focuses on four main stages of creative development that pushes a unique idea to a practical solution. San Diego has an abundance of creative people and artists from all walks of life that can contribute to economic growth.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, Art is a jealous mistress, and, if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband, and an ill provider, and should be wise in season, and not fetter himself with duties which will embitter his day.”  The problem with artists is not the art itself but the practical use of the creative mind to solve real problems. With a little training and trust an artist can turn into an idea generator.

Creative people have the natural ability to see problems from a more holistic vantage point and make new and unique conclusions to solve problems. The very nature of science and advancement springs forth from developing a unique perspective and conclusion of a problem. The possibilities of the solution are analyzed through critical thinking and the scientific method. 

The four stages of creative development are:

Preparation: The period of a person’s life where they gain knowledge, skills and abilities. It is a long process of practice, experimentation, and trial & error. 

Imagination: The stage where new ideas are created through analogies, brainstorming, memory associations. It may also include other types of analysis such as cost & benefit as well as SWOT.

Development: From the imagination stage a few ideas will show promise and are moved into the development stage where they are evaluated for feasibility, marketability, and sustainability. 

Action: Once the most feasible ideas have been evaluated it is possible to develop a strategy for action.

Creative thinking for artists parallels creative thinking in science and business. Newton wouldn’t have discovered the laws of gravity without first being hit in the head by an apple. The Internet would not have been developed without insight into the nature of communication. Society itself cannot move forward without a creative and entrepreneurial class that pushes new concepts forward.

Business executives should learn the important applications of creativity in the workplace and no longer shun such activities but instead learn to capitalize on them. Including creative people on a team help to encourage that team to think beyond conventional limitations. Creativity matched with the experience of more seasoned members and with those who have analytical evaluative abilities moves the unique into something feasible for business purposes. The next time you see an artist walking down the street scratching out a living think about the other benefits such people provide if put to practical use. Places like San Diego have an abundance of creative people seeking opportunities to put their natural abilities to good use to the advantage of themselves and their employers.

Deepa, N. & Gopal, R. (2011). Advocating different paradigms: relevance of workplace creativity. SIES Journal of Management, 7 (2).

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