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News And Views

News & Views

  • 13 October 2015
  • Stuart Yeardsley

What kind of ‘mindset’ do you have when it comes to creativity?

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Putting on their best Jeremy Paxman impersonation or Edward De Bono’s ‘black-hat’ (in De Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ the black hat is the devil's advocate or why something may not work) can destroy the seeds of an idea without ever letting it see the light of day. Of course you need to evaluate ideas and creative tension is healthy. But the more I think about it, the more I think mindset is fundamental to how we generate and evaluate creative ideas. Walt Disney famously had three stages of creative thinking – the dreamer, the realist and the critic. Time was spent on each stage until ideas stood up to the final stage - the critic.

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

My twins have just started ‘big’ school and will be learning using Dweck’s ‘growth’ mindset. I can definitely identify with growth mindset to aid creative thinking. Cultivating a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity. It enhances relationships. I think there’s a lot we can learn from having a ‘growth’ mindset when it comes to creativity. Think about your organisation. What kind of mindset does your company have when it comes to creativity?