When facilitating creative thinking for a group, it's helpful, at least for us, to think of structuring the flow as a performance, even though none of the participants may think of it like that. Considering an analogy between creative thinking and planning a live performance opens a whole variety of new ways to approach creativity.

Creative Thinking and James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show

I led a sheltered musical life growing up and missed a lot of great music when it first appeared. One music experience before my time I only learned about years after it took place came via a reference in a Police song. In the song, "When the World Is Running Down," the Police mention a video of James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show.

Although seeing James Brown live twice in his later years, it wasn't until recently I discovered how incredible James Brown was on the T.A.M.I. show while watching the Mick Jagger-produced documentary, "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown."

I have read many references over the years to how memorable James Brown was on the T.A.M.I. show, but seeing snippets of the performance in the documentary prompted watching the full performance on YouTube many times in the past few weeks.

It truly is remarkable!

Just Watch the Video

So I know everybody is busy, and NO ONE has any time for watching a nearly fifty-year old, eighteen minute music performance.

Ignore all that.

Take time to watch this video of James Brown on the T.A.M.I. show if you've never seen it. Careful though, because the video may be TFFW (Too Funky for Work) depending on your office.

And in case you need to make watching the James Brown performance "work-related" to justify taking time from your day to watch it, you’ll find an array of lessons that translate into how you might approach leading a team through creative “performance.” I counted nearly twenty lessons on starting a group sessionsequencing creative thinking exercises for maximum effect, exploiting the rule of three, and better using emotion to get people engaged in creativity.

If you'd like to see the list, with time codes, you can do so on this page. You can use the list to prove to your boss everything is above board and all very productive! – Mike Brown


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