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Creativity Triggers for College Students by Edward Glassman Ph.D.
Creativity Triggers for College Students : Page 2 of 2

Creativity Triggers for College Students

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Reduce Your Resistance to Using
Creativity Triggers

Today, many people find that creative thinking contributes to a winning edge. Students who work alone, or in groups, use creativity triggers to solve problems more creatively.

Many students underestimate the power that creativity triggers provide, because they believe creative thinking comes from an exceptional, inherited gift. You either have it or you don't.

Not so. Most of us have creative ability and use it everyday. We don't recognize it as creativity or even see it as special. We call it tinkering, ingenuity, intuition, trial-and-error, imagination, making suggestions, inventing — anything but creative thinking. We think creative thinking an exceptional gift inherited by other students.

Not true. Most students think creatively most of the time; it depends on what you spend your time creating that makes the difference. Best of all, creativity triggers helps solve problems more effectively in your life and your career.

We could not have survived as a species had we not been creative and adjusted to changing conditions.

Here are some quick tips to start thinking creatively:

Seek Many Alternatives
Consider this situation. You perceive a problem you want to solve. An idea flashes through your mind. You like it. It appears to work. You shout eureka, and the creative process ends. Actually, it hardly started, because this is the quick fix.

To avoid the quick fix, generate at least five new alternatives. One hundred is better, but who's counting.

Ignore Premature Criteria
Knowing the criteria for a quality solution too soon suppresses creative thinking. Criteria box you in, and you waste time worrying whether each idea and new perspective meets the criteria.

Avoid Instant Evaluation
Evaluation depends on old ideas and old information. Creativity seeks new ideas and new information. Old and new conflict with each other. Instant evaluation versus the new idea. So, to escape old thinking patterns, do NOT evaluate new ideas too soon.

Listen To Other People's Ideas
Other people's ideas will often trigger new ideas in you.

Change the setting of your perspective. Create and combine alternatives within a different context than the real problem you want to solve.

For example, pretend that you attend a different school in a different country, or that you are a different person. In this way, you avoid getting bogged down in stifling old thoughts and habits.

Ideas that do not contribute to a quality solution, when properly used, can trigger other ideas that do work. Trigger-ideas can play a key role in creative thinking. Indeed, even indifferent, exotic words can spark new ideas.

Forced Combinations
You may create unexpected and useful ideas by combining ideas, objects, thoughts, and impressions with your problem. You may connect your problem with thoughts related or unrelated to the problem.

Idea Improvement
Improve your idea relentlessly. This process itself will spark many more new ideas.

  1. List what you like about the idea so you won't change that.
  2. List what needs improvement. This process will give you a sense of the usefulness of your idea.

Use Bizarre Ideas To Startle & Upset Your Viewpoint
What works counts most. Avoid philosophical distractions.
Avoid the internal gauntlet and other habits that distort the creative atmosphere in your mind.

Stay patient and relentless. •

© 2011 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.

Edward Glassman, PhDEdward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. More »