Clemmie-BoxI was asked recently about how to respond when someone says that they (or the organization) don’t have time for creative thinking.

Talk about a comment that chafes me to the core - it's this one! REALLY!!!

Organizational Fears about Creative Thinking

When someone raises the "we don't have time for creative thinking" objection, it's typically code for some bigger, misguided assumptions such as:

  • Creative thinking REALLY DOES take too much time
  • Creative thinking is a distraction
  • Creativity won't address the fundamental business objectives at hand
  • Creative ideas will be new and scary
  • Creative ideas will foul up processes already in place
  • Creativity is squishy and doing what's always been done is certain
  • Creative ideas would require more resources than status quo approaches
  • Creative thinking will distract from the real work to be done
  • Executing on creative ideas takes too long
  • Adequate business returns don’t follow from creativity

Individual Fears about Creative Thinking

When someone raises these types of ASSumptions about the downsides of creative thinking, look for how they are masking personal objections such as:

  • I don't have the patience for creative thinking
  • I'm scared by thinking new and differently
  • You may come up with an idea that I don't know how to address
  • Your creative idea may lead to something I won't be able to do well
  • I'm in a routine with the status quo and don't want to have to change what I do
  • Your creative ideas might put me out of a job
  • I don't think I'm creative so I won't be able to influence the outcome of your thinking
  • People could flock to creative ways of doing things and destabilize my power/ control

Challenging Fears of Creative Thinking, REALLY!

To these objections to creative thinking, you can rightly say:

  • We can do creative thinking in a matter of minutes. We REALLY don't have a few minutes to think about this? REALLY?
  • We'll tie our creative thinking to fundamental business objectives. Are you REALLY convinced the status quo approach is still doing the best job on delivering current business objectives? REALLY?

So what do you think?

Are you up for challenging the frightened little corporate drones scared to death of creative thinking? I hope so! And if you are, you are definitely in the right place! REALLY! – Mike Brown

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