You can be creative without having any emotions

Creative insights:
Failing more creatively: Why mistakes and agony are part of it

They say that the person or group must be emotionally stable to endure failure. But how can you even get that positive attitude towards failure?

You can get a positive attitude and a playful approach to creativity by playing with your own "mental and physical box" and "letting in" the unknown. Despair should be seen as something perfectly normal or necessary in order to play at its limits with your box.

But isn't there also the other way around brainstorming and creative sessions that are stretched endlessly, even though one no longer comes up with a sparkling creative thought?

Of course, agony doesn't mean cramp and nobody should get sick after a creativity session. You shouldn't leave employees alone in their desperation, you have to help them handle them. However, my experience shows that many teams are satisfied with the first ideas developed too early. But now it's not about stopping. Because, as a rule, more familiar ideas have been developed. The group is still mentally in the comfort zone. The challenge now is to overcome this point and push forward to the limit. Now the change of perspective is crucial. Here you can, for example, use a new creativity technique, go to a different room, re-mix teams or bring new members into the team. Physical activity, a longer break or waking your senses are also helpful.

How do you know that there is still a hurdle to overcome, and how do you know that you are standing in front of an impenetrable wall that you cannot crack? Or to put it another way: When can you stop?

Igniting ideas have a tremendous emotional effect on those involved: Everyone knows the primal screaming, goose bumps all over the arm, physical tingling, unbelievable happiness in the head. These are signs that a really good idea has been found. Of course, it has to withstand critical reflection, and not every great idea results in an innovation or market success.

The fear of failure is far too widespread in Germany. In America, for example, it is much freer to deal with. To what extent is an open error culture one of the basic requirements for creative work?

Organizations that do not have an open error culture do not allow their employees to venture into the unknown. They promote stagnation in the comfort zone. Which employee dares to venture into limit areas when he / she knows that negative consequences can be expected with the first mistake? In Germany, it is more difficult to establish an open error culture, as failure often triggers malice, especially with successful people who fail once. In addition, due to our industrial and production strength, a culture of error avoidance has been established over the decades.

How can you promote a culture of error in the company?

The error culture should be part of the organizational culture, values ​​and norms of a company. In addition, organizational error competence is required in order to "manage" errors. With regard to mistakes and failures in creative work, employees should be supported emotionally and mentally, but also be methodically trained. Of course, this competence does not have to be deeply developed in all employees, but at least the team leaders should be trained in it. But none of this is of any use if management does not set a good example. Furthermore, open communication is recommended, i.e. talking about mistakes and failures. Why not announce an organization prize for the most creative failure and the lessons learned from it?

Criticism is undesirable in the brainstorming process. How do I promote an appropriate error culture in the creative process? What are the dos and what are the don'ts?

Criticism or critical reflection is a very important phase in the creative process. To put it simply, the development of ideas and the evaluation of ideas alternate again and again in the creative process. It is crucial that these two phases do not occur at the same time. Inhibits criticism during the development of ideas. The critical evaluation of ideas is often underestimated. Dealing with the ideas is too superficial. I would then advise further questioning what characterizes the idea, what is good about it, what is not yet, where the possibilities for further development lie. This is critical to moving forward.

Reviews and likes and dislikes are part of our digital culture today. But for fear of criticism, many like to hold back or only utter banal things. Such a climate doesn't exactly lead to more creative outliers. How can you still encourage reticent people to be more creative?

Much has already been gained by treating each other in an appreciative and open manner. Especially when working creatively, it is important that the participants meet at eye level and that hierarchy and power structures are "invisibilized", at least when working together creatively. This is not easy, and it is the most important challenge in the creative process, especially for managers.

Click here for the first part of the series: "This is how brainstorming finally becomes productive".