By Alan Graner
The following is from A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge, & Warrior to Be More Creative by Roger von Oech (1986)
There’s no one right way to be creative. The process consists shifting in and out of four main roles, each of which embodies a different type of thinking.
The creative thinker needs the raw materials from which new ideas are made: facts, concepts, experiences, knowledge, feelings and whatever else you can find. You can look for these in the same old places, but you’re much more likely to find something original if you venture off the beaten path.
The ideas you gather may form a pattern, but if you want something new and different, you’ll have to give them a twist or two. The artist experiments with a variety of approaches. You follow your intuition, rearrange, ask what-if questions and look for hidden analogies. You may even break the rules or create your own to come up with a new idea.
During your evaluation you critically weigh the evidence. You look for drawbacks in the idea and wonder if the timing is right. You run risk analyses, question your assumptions, and listen to your gut. Ultimately you make a decision.
You implement your idea. If you want your idea to succeed, you’ll have to take the offensive by developing your strategy and committing yourself to reaching your objective. Along the way you may have to overcome excuses, idea killers, temporary setbacks and other obstacles.
Equally important to knowing your creative roles is knowing when to use them. Timing is paramount. You need to pay attention to the type of thinking required for each situation and then shift into it.
How do you keep your creativity flexible?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.
An earlier version of this post http://www.dsprel.com/the-four-roles-of-the-creative-process/ was published October 14. 2010.