The creative spark

I mentioned that I was taking a couple courses through the online portal Coursera.org. This week wrapped the Penn State course, Creativity, Innovation, & Change, and I wanted to share some thoughts about the synthesis of the course’s main topics.

The course focused on three main protocols: Intelligent Fast Failure (IFF), Creative Diversity, and CENTER, concepts developed by engineering professors at Penn State.

idea journals
Always keep an idea journal!

As I understood it, the gist of the three concepts is this: Creativity requires constant experimentation – even failure – and a lot of patience with yourself, your team, and the process.

I’ve noticed changes in how I approach my work as a result of this course. For one thing, I always resist failure. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m an obsessive planner. I like to set goals, develop strategies, and execute specific tactics – all so that I can achieve success, thereby avoiding failure. But one of the instructors emphasized the importance of getting down as many ideas as possible, even ones that won’t/don’t work. I’m scheduling more brainstorming time into my work week to see how this plays out for me and my projects.

I’m also striving to apply the patience piece of the puzzle. When things don’t go well, I get frustrated, whether it’s with myself, my team, or my creative process. This course inspired me to step back, take a deep breath, and keep on keeping on!

The course was fascinating. I took away quite a bit, and I’m excited to read more about these concepts.

Think about your creative process. Has it gone through any changes? If not, is it time to try something new?