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Ten Creativity Killers

Ten Creativity Killers

We’ve likely all had our share of jokes in honor of April Fool’s Day! However, being made to feel like a fool when your ideas are different is no joke!

At first glance, many people thought that these ideas were both foolish and ridiculous!!

  1. …taking the legs off a table to fit it in the car!
  2. …hanging onto a moldy sample rather than throwing it away!
  3. …forgetting to wash your hands before eating dinner!
  4. …using wallpaper cleaner in a nursery school!


These are the people who immediately dismiss an idea (often before it’s even completely verbalized). These are the people we call creativity killers!

When a judgment is made about someone’s idea before it has had a chance to be explored, the world automatically misses out on any opportunities for improving on that idea, and possibly incorporating it into a clever solution.

Let’s take a quick look at the ‘foolish’ examples above!

An employee was trying to get a table into his car. It wouldn’t fit, so the employee took the legs off and reassembled them at his destination… the birth of Ikea!

A scientist kept a moldy sample rather than throwing it away… leading to the creation of penicillin.

Constantine Fahlberg was working on an analysis of coal tar at Johns Hopkins University. After a long day in the lab, he forgot to wash his hands before eating dinner. He picked up a roll, and noticed that it seemed sweet—as did everything else he touched… the invention of Saccharin, the artificial sweetener in Sweet’N Low.

This clay was first created as a wallpaper cleaner. One of the by-products of the coal fires that people used to keep their homes warm was soot, which coated the walls. Rolling this clay over the soot removed it. Remove the detergent, add some colour … Play-Doh!

10 Examples of Creativity Killer Behaviour

  1. Ignore it: Say nothing.
  2. Criticize it: Say how bad an idea it is.
  3. Faint praise: Damn it with faint praise or say how very ‘interesting’ it is.
  4. Laugh at it: Smirk, giggle, and laugh out loud!
  5. Analyze it: Ask searching questions about it. As a simple idea, the person offering it will not have thought it through.
  6. Tried it: Say how the idea has been tried before and found to be completely ineffectual.
  7. Compete with it: Come up with a better idea that shows the idea to be not that good.
  8. Change it: Take the idea and adjust it so that it is no longer recognizable.
  9. Shoot the messenger: Instead of attacking the idea, criticize the person bringing it up.

10.Give it to a committee!

While April Fool’s Day happens just once a year, feel free to go ahead and be as ‘foolish’ as you like… as many times as you like.

Norm Larsen was “foolish” 39 times before he created WD40! Read more here.

 

Marilyn Barefoot is the founder of Barefoot Brainstorming. Contact Marilyn at marilyn@barefootbrainstorming.com.

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See also: Second Wind's brainstorming content.

 

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