ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

If Creativity is for the Birds, it Should be for People Too

Posted by Plish on May 26, 2009

Lesson in Creativity From the Rook

Lesson in Creativity From the Rook

It is not uncommon for management, team leaders, etc. to have a predisposition towards having only the “creative” geniuses provide the creative input in brainstormings, strategy meetings, etc.

I strongly believe that this view can hinder creative output as all people have, and should be appreciated for, their innate creative capabilities –  whoever they are, whatever their positions.

Moreso, when people are allowed to use their creative abilities, they often will contribute in ways that were not anticipated and thus provide innovative impetus to the work at hand.

I came across this fascinating research out of Cambridge.  They did some research on the tool making capabilities of a bird called the ‘rook.‘  What is really amazing is that rooks don’t make tools in the wild, but they do in captivity.  And, not only do they make tools, they pick the best tools for certain  jobs. And, when the needed tools were out of reach, they used a tool to get the right tool!

There are some great lessons to glean here and apply in our teams, workplaces, and homes.

  1. Sometimes creativity shows up when people are out of their natural element.  It might help to put people in non-threatening environments that are different from the norm and let them do their thing.
  2. Let your people determine the best tools for a job.
  3. If the right tools don’t exist, let people make the tools that they will use to do their jobs.  That means two things: a) Take them seriously and listen if they say there’s a better way, b) Supply them with the raw materials they ask for.
  4. Sometimes the tool that someone uses will just be a stepping stone in the process of getting or making the right tool.  Don’t interrupt the creative process!

Ultimately, creating tools is about creating solutions. 

So just think:

If birds came up with these cool solutions, what could you and your teams do with open minds?

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4 Responses to “If Creativity is for the Birds, it Should be for People Too”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by pareidoliac – Real-url.org […]

  2. Indeed! Everybody has a great potential for creativity, provided they get the opportunity to demonstrate it, and the right trigger…. And an environment that foster it and recognise it.
    Trust people, they will demonstrate they deserve it; expect the best, and they surprise you going beyond your expectations…
    Just fing what kicks them to do it (eneagrams theory….), their special motivations. Be creative!!

  3. Plish said

    Thanks for the great insights! I love this:

    “Trust people, they will demonstrate they deserve it; expect the best, and they surprise you going beyond your expectations…”

  4. […] If Creativity is for the Birds, it Should be for People Too […]

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