Before talking about John Cleese, I want to bring up someone else. Paco Underhill has frequently referred to retail as being the dipstick of social change. As retailers - and businesses - figure out how to bring innovation to their retail experience to compete with new social models [e.g., showrooming], they require creativity.
Enter John Cleese and creativity.
I first heard John Cleese talk about creativity a few years ago. He discussed the importance of carving time out to be creative, to think without interruption, to let the unconscious mind tackle problems.
Since watching his presentation, I've been more aware of the process I follow when I try to solve problems creatively. I've also been more protective of uninterrupted time [increasingly, a luxury in our always-on environment] so I am able to concentrate.
Fast Company recently published 4 Lessons in Creativity From John Cleese. The article reminded me of that talk [I had thought it was a TED Talk, but I can't locate it] and led me to another video of Cleese, titled John Cleese on Creativity [see below].
I'd love for you to watch the entire video [assignment: let me know how many "lightbulb" jokes Cleese shares]. I guarantee it will lead you to brilliant business innovation!
Here are a few highlights:
- Creativity is possible for anyone in an open mode of thinking [vs. a closed mode when implementing ideas].
Most critical for encouraging creativity are the following:
- Space: a quiet, undisturbed space
- A set span of time, with a beginning and ending point [i.e., ~ 1 hour 30 minutes]
- Taking the time to not be pressured; taking enough time to be as creative as need to be while protecting oneself from the 'closed' mode of thinking
You'll notice that he refers to finding an "oasis of time" that is separate from ordinary time and a "tortoise enclosure" to come out and play in.
When I think how hectic our lives are, with the constant interruption of digital devices, I can't help but think how being programmatic about finding these oases is a major source of competitive advantage and business innovation.
These articles offer additional insights:
- John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity
- John Cleese on the 5 Factors to Make Your Life More Creative captures highlights from the video.