Creativity SeriesDevReady PodcastWhy don’t kids run companies with Andrew Grant | Creativity in Start-ups Series Part 3 | Episode 74

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On this episode of the DevReady Podcast, Andrew and Anthony continue their conversation with Andrew Grant, Director of Tirian International Consultancy, and co-author of ‘Who Killed Creativity?… And How Can We Get it Back?’ and ‘The Innovation Race’. In the previous episodes, Andrew talked about all the killers of creativity and what that meant for an organization’s/business’s ability to innovate; and what tools can be used to leverage people and organizations to foster creativity. In this episode, Andrew talks about critical thinking.

Andrew starts by adding on to the topics of the previous podcasts and how the book and game can be used as a diagnostic tool to try and discover what blocks our creativity. By using a crime scene investigation, he wants users to play detectives to hide behind safe characters to try and work out what the things that block creativity are. He believes that understanding the blockers to creativity is a prerequisite for creative thinking.

Having left the listeners with a question to ponder over: ‘Why are children not CEOs of companies when they are great at creative thinking?’, he answers the same by saying that children might be great at creative thinking but they are not good at critical thinking—a balance of which is needed to run successful businesses. While creative thinking is the thinking we do when we generate ideas, critical thinking is the thinking we do when we judge those ideas. He believes the problem here lies in the fact that not many people have both.

“Creative thinking is the thinking we do when we generate ideas. Critical thinking is the thinking we do when we judge those ideas.” – Andrew Grant

Andrew furthers that his model uses seven stages and can be done in as quickly as seven minutes. His point is that people need to get to the Apply phase where one needs to choose the right problem for the right amount of time. The technical word for the stage is ‘Prototyping and Implementing’ if one wants to connect it to design thinking. Andrew believes that optimism is essential in this stage as people experiment and explore different paths and sometimes end up having to go back to square one because of that one extreme user that one devil’s advocate who is not happy with the solution implemented.

The then goes on to list the 4 key questions with regards to CSI before going into the market:

  1. Who cares? (is there a large enough market?)
  2. Is it repeatable? (Can it be reproduced?)
  3. Is it scalable? (Can it keep up with demand?)
  4. Is it viable? (Can we sustainably afford its production?)

He calls his approach ‘pre-mortem’ where you sit down with your team once you’ve designed everything and assume that it failed; and list down all the reasons why it failed. Once you are ready to pretend that’s died, sit and troubleshoot all the reasons why it died so that a viable product/service reaches the market.

Topics Covered:

– If children are so creative why are they not the CEOs of companies?

– The ability to think both creatively and critically.

– Connecting two seemingly unrelated things to create something that is spectacularly creative.

– Prototyping and implementation.

– Playing the devils’ advocate.

– Importance of embracing diversity