Excerpt from inGenius
Chapter 1: Ideas Aren't Cheap, They're Free
Until recently, prospective students at All Soul’s College, at Oxford university, took a “one-word exam.” They each flipped over a piece of paper at the same time to reveal a single word. The word might have been “innocence” or “miracles” or “water” or “provocative.” Their challenge was to craft an essay in three hours inspired by that single word. There were no right answers to this exam. However, each applicant’s response provided insights into the student’s wealth of knowledge and ability to generate creative connections.
This challenge reinforces the fact that everything—every single word—provides an opportunity to leverage what you know to stretch your imagination. For so many of us, this type of creativity hasn’t been fostered. We don’t look at everything in our environment as an opportunity for ingenuity. In fact, creativity should be an imperative.
Creativity allows you to thrive in an ever-changing world and unlocks a universe of possibilities. With enhanced creativity, instead of problems you see potential, instead of obstacles you see opportunities, and instead of challenges you see a chance to create breakthrough solutions.
Sadly, there is also a common and often-repeated saying, “Ideas are cheap.” This statement discounts the value of creativity and is utterly wrong. Ideas aren’t cheap at all—they’re free. And they’re amazingly valuable. Ideas lead to innovations that fuel the economies of the world, and they prevent our lives from becoming repetitive and stagnant. As the renowned American inventor Alan Kay famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” We are all inventors of our own future. And creativity is at the heart of invention.
After a dozen years teaching courses on creativity and innovation, I can confidently assert that creativity can be enhanced. This course will focus on specific tools...