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Creativity Triggers for Everyone by Edward Glassman Ph.D.
Edward Glassman : Forced Creativity Combinations for the Arts

Forced Creativity Combinations for the Arts

By Edward Glassman, PhD

(Adapted from Creativity Triggers are for Everyone)

Creativity flourishes best in a zany atmosphere where all ideas, even bizarre ones, survive beyond the initial, usual Quick Negative Evaluation. Please remember that a new idea is like a seed; you don't know how it will turn out until you allow it to mature a little.

So please don't shoot (or shout) my ideas down right away. Please allow me a little recklessness and possibly a grand mistake that may offend your good sense. I am going out on a limb now, and I ask that you exercise patience.

Assume you work in the arts (I don't) … painting, sculpture, fibers, pottery, choreography, short stories, mysteries, poetry, plays, musicals, music, composing, conducting, etc.

Assume further that you are blocked in some creative aspects of your work, and attempts at non-evaluative listing and non-evaluative writing that I describe in my book have failed to get you back on track.

What to do? Fear not. A creativity trigger awaits. However, you really have to want this to work for it to help.

Here's how. Assume you are a painter and you are blocked. (What follows applies to all the arts with some juggling.)

  1. Select two paintings you like (painting 'A' and painting 'B').
  2. Non-evaluatively list attributes and elements of each painting separately.
  3. Design a painting combining the attributes and elements of the two paintings ('A' and 'B') into one design (painting 'X').
  4. Select two other paintings (C and D) and treat them the same way you treated paintings 'A' and 'B,' producing a design for painting 'Y.'
  5. Now list elements and attributes separately for painting designs 'X' and 'Y.'
  6. Design a painting combining the attributes and elements of the two paintings ('X' and 'Y') into one design (painting 'Z').
  7. Decide which of the new designs you want to paint, and do so.

The paradigm diagrams like this:

paradigm diagrams

The same creativity trigger applies to the other arts with appropriate adjustments. Your creative block might end, provided you want it to, or it might not. Please let me know what happened.

Remember that I am on your side even though I do not know what you do, and I am not conversant with your field. Still, the principles I describe in my books and in these Creativity Portal columns generally apply.

I design card magic tricks in a similar way. I combine the 'beginning' of card trick #1, the 'middle' of card trick #2, and the 'ending' of card trick #3, mix them up a little or a lot, and produce a new trick.

An even more creative card trick would result if I mixed in an item from column B of a menu from a Chinese restaurant. That would be an example of an extreme "remote association." •

© 2012 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 »