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October 11, 2016

Sparking Creativity in the Workplace

Yolande Conradie


©Mind Tools

Please Join Us!

What: #MTtalk

Where: Twitter

When: Friday, Oct 14 2016 @ 1pm EST (6pm BST)

Topic: Sparking Creativity in the Workplace

Host: @Mind_Tools

About This Week's Chat About Creativity at Work

"Creativity is just connecting things." - Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

When we started using mobile phones, all of them had buttons. We got so adept at typing messages without looking at the screen that many of us could literally do it with our eyes closed! But phones with buttons posed a problem: manufacturers couldn't just add new functions. New functions could only be added by modifying the phone. Consumers could only use a new function if they bought a new phone.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, didn't think that was good enough. He wanted to be able to add functions to a phone at any time. When Apple launched the iPhone and introduced us to the idea of a touch screen, Jobs emphasized that the company could now add functions to a phone whenever it wanted to, and consumers could start using them immediately. Someone had to think beyond buttons to take us to the next era of phones.

We often look at such creativity in awe. Where do those people come from? Actually, we were all born creative beings. Between the ages of three and five, we are 100 percent creative in how we think. From ages five to 10, creativity decreases to 71 percent. From 11 to 15 (hold on tight now), it decreases to 35 percent. At the age of 21, when we're done with university, it's down to 2 percent! This tells us that we're not encouraged to think creatively. We're encouraged to fit into existing ways of thinking and to accept things as they are.

The type of thinking that creates a problem won't create the solution. To find solutions, and to find new ways of dealing with old challenges, we need to think more creatively. In the world of creative thinking and creative problem solving, we sometimes refer to "beyonder thinking." "Beyonder" thinking is when you move out of the comfort zone (ordinary thinking), through a fear zone where you challenge your thinking, to the stretch zone. Once in the stretch zone, you challenge your thinking even more to move through a second fear zone. Once you've dealt with the fear of the unknown in this edge zone, you're able to enter the "beyonder" thinking zone.

Ideally we'd like our workplaces to be full of "beyonders." In #MTtalk this week, we're discussing how you can spark creativity in the workplace. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • How could creativity improve problem solving?
  • What does it mean to be creative in the workplace?
  • How do you encourage people to be more creative in the workplace?
  • Why do people fear being creative in the workplace?

Also, take a peek at the results of our Twitter poll about the link between mindfulness and creativity. You'll find it at


We've compiled a list of resources to help you to prepare for the chat.

At Mind Tools, we like hearing thoughts and ideas from people all over the world. We'd love you to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the #MTtalk chat this Friday at 1pm EST (6pm BST/10:30pm IST). Remember, we feature great participant responses every fortnight, right here on our blog!

How to Join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don't miss out on any of the action this Friday! We'll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on "All Tweets" and you'll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hash tag #MTtalk in your responses.


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