Hustler’s Mantra: Build Creative Mindset
"Let your creative and imaginative mind run freely; it will take you places you never dreamed of and provide breakthroughs that others once thought were impossible."― Idowu Koyenikan
When we hear the word "creativity", what comes to our mind? Many of us think of artistic activities like painting, dancing, singing or music. We tend to match "creative" with "artistic" and decide that "You know what? I'm not that creative type" just because we don't possess such artistic skills. But the truth is creativity is much broader and more universal than just an artistic expression. We generally think of creativity as using our imagination to invent something new in the world. But Creativity is not just creating something new. Creativity comes into play wherever we have the chance to generate ideas, solutions, or approaches.
Some of us also think, I'm not a designer or writer so I don't really use creativity at work. But whether you're working in a farm or you're in an office, you're probably using creativity to make decisions and solve problems on a daily basis. No matter what your profession is, when you approach the job that you do with creativity, you'll come up with better solutions to the problems that you handle. According to a recent IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEOs around the world, creativity is the single most important leadership trait for enterprises facing the complexity of global commerce today. Needless to mention, creative thinking is the reason for continued success of countless companies like Facebook and Google.
Moreover, creativity is not something that you are born with. Creative people whom you've met in your life do not have creative genes in them; they have just practiced creativity for a long time. And to practice creativity, you need a lot of courage because creative thinking is not about perfectionism. There is no "one right answer" to any of the problem so if you're trying to find the "right way" to do something, you're limiting your creative potential and probably shutting down a good number of your ideas. So simply remind yourself that there are no right or wrong answers, be less critical of yourself and follow your instincts.
One of my favorite stories of creative thinking is the story of Dough Dietz, an industrial designer at GE Healthcare. I came across his story in a book called "The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact". Dough had spent nearly two years on creating a new MRI machine and finally on 2007 his machine was installed in a hospital. Dough was very happy and he proudly entered the MRI room to see his machine. Just then, the first patient who would be using the machine also entered. The first patient was a little girl and as soon as she saw the machine she stopped dead, she was terrified.
She found his MRI machine scary. The machine was huge and she had to lie there inside the tunnel motionless for 30 minutes while the machine is making loud hums and noises. She was crying not wanting to enter into the machine. Dough was crushed to see the little girl's reaction. That's when he realized that he had been focusing on how to make the machine faster and powerful without focusing on the patient's experience. 80% of the children undergoing the MRI scan had to be sedated because they were afraid and sedating children is very risky. Dough started wondering about what can be done to make children enter the machine without getting terrified. What if he could design an experience that was actually fun?
He wondered what if the MRI machine wasn't really a machine but a spaceship or a submarine. Dough and his team started redesigning the MRI room and the machine to make it look like an adventure land. They placed stickers that looked like rocks on the floor so that the kids would hop from one rock to another. The walls of the room were painted in colorful jungle scenes. And the rocks led to a painted pond with fishes, which surrounded the machine.
The MRI table was lowered so that children could climb on the top. It had been redesigned to look like a hollowed-out canoe, and the kids were urged to hold still so they wouldn't tip over the canoe as it floated through the jungle. The kids readily embraced the challenge of not rocking the canoe. Another theme was Pirate Island; the machine was painted to look like a pirate ship. With these new designs, the children were not afraid to get into the machine anymore. It was like an adventurous ride for them in an amusement park. The children's were happy to visit the MRI room, and some wanted to visit the place again just for joy ride across the jungle. Dough was indeed very happy that he could transform the kid's terror into delight.
Dough's design of the MRI room was adopted by many hospitals since then. The number of kids needing sedation dropped from 80% to 27% and earlier it took 10 minutes for them to get the kids on the machine but now it takes them just 1 minute to get the kids on the table. The hospitals were able to complete more scans in a day. Dough's story is a story of creative thinking. We need to approach a problem with a creative mindset like Doug did, and so many new opportunities will present themselves for us. Instead of conforming with the status quo and standard solutions to problems, be wild and creative.