In my last blog on creativity, I discussed the aspects of this question: can creativity be taught? My conclusion: yes and no. I put forth a few methods on encouraging creativity in your day-to-day life, but beyond that, I want to discuss a method for strategically developing and practicing creativity. In other words, let\u2019s look at an approach for self-teaching creativity.\r\n\r\nIn his book Zig Zag, author R. Keith Sawyer lays out an 8-point model for actively working to develop creativity. In fact, Sawyer rejects the idea of a creative spark. Rather than an instantaneous burst of light or insight from above, creative ideas are developed and pieced together over time. Yes, the moment the idea comes together might feel magical or mystical, but that moment is the result of hard work, time, and consistent effort.\r\n\r\nWhile the list below is given in the order Sawyer introduces it in his book, he emphasizes the importance of the fluidity of these 8 \u2018steps\u2019 to creativity. Forget about thinking in a linear fashion \u2013 zig zag your way through this framework, going back and forth and skipping around as needed.\r\n\r\n \tAsk:\r\nThe right questions lead to fruitful and surprising answers, whereas the wrong question will often give you uninteresting answers and even lead you to a dead end. To get the answers that will propel you forward, you have to search deeper and rework your questions until you find the right one.\r\n \tLearn:\r\nThe more you learn the more raw material you have to later work with, play with, and mold into an idea. Learn about your own field; master your discipline. At the same time, balance your work with interests outside of your area of expertise; you never know when your knowledge of another discipline will come in handy.\r\n \tLook:\r\nLooking isn\u2019t just about seeing. It\u2019s about interpretation, connections, and being open to new ideas. Once you develop an idea, there is a danger of wanting to preserve the idea and thus not being open to changes and ultimately, improvements.\r\n \tPlay:\r\nThe most inventive concepts often come from discarded ideas, failed projects, or from something made for an entirely different purpose initially. Continue to play, never worrying if you fail, but also not discarding your failed ideas entirely. Additionally, the importance of taking a break from work cannot be underrated. Allowing yourself to play helps your mind synthesize the raw material gathered in the looking and learning phases.\r\n \tThink:\r\nProductivity is the key to creativity. The more you create and do, the better your chances are of one of your creations being a winner. Ideate, share, and record your thoughts. Maybe nothing will come of your thoughts or ideas immediately, but keeping a thought notebook can spark a new train of thought in the future, taking you down a different path.\r\n \tFuse:\r\nWhen you bring elements together in fusion, the most interesting, creative, inventive, and often successful ones and the ones that bring together two seemingly unrelated ideas. Try bringing extremely different elements together. The more odd and dissimilar they seem, the better.\r\n \tChoose:\r\nKnow when to pursue something and when to trash something. This doesn\u2019t mean parts of the ideas can\u2019t later be repurposed or reinvented, but maybe this approach or specific idea isn\u2019t quite right. Good creators are also good judges. They don\u2019t waste tons of time on an idea they know isn\u2019t right and they can see when an idea has potential.\r\n \tMake:\r\nWe often think that the ideas come first, fully formed, and making it into a physical product comes later. But it\u2019s been proven that active making and tinkering progresses the design and ideation. It\u2019s a process that moves back and forth between steps, not a linear progression from idea to design. Sketch it, build it, reflect on it, then go it again \u2013 this lies at the core of design thinking.\r\n\r\nWhile Sawyer\u2019s zig zag approach sounds time consuming and difficult, in the long run it has proven effective for many. Putting in the time can be a daunting task, but Sawyer has broken down the method into small manageable ideas and approaches for implementation. If you feel stuck in a creative rut, let us take the theoretical and make it experiential by customizing an innovation workshop for you and your team today.