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Innovative Creativity- Book Review

1 April 2024

Dr. Moria Levy

Innovative Creativity: Creating with Innovation in Mind is a book written by two friends, Dr. Alex Bennet & Dr. Arthur Shelley, with assistance from Charles Dhewa, and published in 2024.

The book teaches theory but, at the same time, gives a lot of practical recommendations so that each of us can improve our abilities in the field of creativity. The book's title serves two purposes: it offers an innovative way to look at creativity. But more than that, it emphasizes that creativity is pointless for its own sake. We must strive for creativity that translates into innovation in areas of life, whether personal or professional, that is, putting our creativity to use.


The book breaks down the idea of creativity into its components and explores each in-depth, in some cases astonishingly. After describing all the components, they are illustrated in reality through a case study and a summary that ties things together. The following is a proposal for the structure of the book and key components:


You are invited to read the entire book. There is definitely something to learn from this book!


Fundamentals – Creativity

Creativity is the emergence of original ideas or the identification of new patterns in a field of knowledge.

Creativity can be personal and based on knowledge, self, and relationships with others. This creativity is "in the box" (Personal Creativity).

When we "step out of the box," we refer to creativity as environmentally based (Historic Creativity). To get out of the box, we need to expand the three dimensions: the domain of knowledge (not just my knowledge), the self (adding emotional, social, and motivational aspects), and contexts (the network of connections of individuals and institutions).


The basis for understanding creativity is understanding the idea of pattern thinking. This term refers to using our inner world to identify patterns in the external world.

We're all creative; We all think on some level in patterns. And we can all improve this skill, either logically or associatively. For example:

  • Orderly thinking: examining a group of things while orderly analyzing the commonalities and differences between the individuals examined.

  • Associative thinking: focusing on a specific topic before bedtime, instructing oneself to "sleep on it," and thinking about the subject as soon as one wakes up while recording the thoughts that pass through our minds.


People can become exceptional creatives, those who produce innovative ideas regularly while pushing the boundaries of understanding and application.

What characterizes these people? The ability to combine a collection of contrasts:

High energies with the ability to work with concentration for hours; wisdom combined with naivety; a combination of meaning and responsibility, with meaninglessness and play; transitions between fantasy and imagination and reality; balance between externalization and internalization; humility and pride; avoidance of stereotypes; conservatism and rebelliousness; passion for their work, but ability to be objective; openness and sensitivity that exposes them to both pain and pleasure.


How do we promote our creativity and become exceptional creatives? This is the essence of the book. A variety of ways will be presented in the chapters. The arrangement of the chapters was chosen to serve ease of understanding; in any case, all topics are intertwined and interdependent.


Consciousness and subconscious

Creativity develops in the transitions between consciousness and subconscious and back.

True, the subconscious mind is not fully accessible to us, and we cannot open a door and turn to what is inside, just as we turn to what is conscious. The subconscious mind works constantly and without "asking" to implement creativity at the same stages and in parallel with conscious activity:

0. Preparation – thinking at rest.

1.Incubation – While our conscious mind deals with a particular issue, the subconscious continues to incubate and think about previous topics we have dealt with.

2.Illumination – a sudden flash of an idea.

3.Validation – examining the suitability of the idea. Done consciously but also subconsciously.


If necessary, repeat.


Tools for promoting creativity in the context of consciousness:

  • Meditation

  • Frequent transitions (jumps) between conscious and subconscious

  • Learning

  • Random mixing of different patterns (creates new patterns)

  • Associative thinking


The "self"

The "self" is the collection of choices of what we think, feel, and do.

The "self" refers to consciousness and subconsciousness, the brain, the body, and all aspects of our humanity.

The "self" begins in our cerebral cortex, in the neocortex, as we perceive what is happening in the world through our different senses. However, while in the brain, we conduct a controlled process of relating to the external world, creativity should not be limited. On the contrary, it requires freedom of thought.


We can promote the self and prepare ourselves for increased creativity.

Supporting factors:

  • Emotional support to cope with getting out of comfort zones that involve creativity.

  • An enriched environment, physical and virtual, that gives the individual space for reflection of imagination and creativity.

  • Ability to balance opposing elements (see Characteristics of Creative People above).

  • Mindfulness – the ability to experience the moment and be in it.

  • Inquisitiveness.

  • Humility and open-mindedness to the fact that others are sometimes right and have knowledge and ideas that might even be better than our own.

  • The habit of working in harmonious synchronization of the right hemisphere (visual) with the left hemisphere (textual, logical).


Tools for creative thinking based on the left hemisphere:

  • Analogies: connecting to a similar problem from the past, identifying the patterns that characterized it, and examining the adaptation of the patterns to the current situation.

  • Decomposition: breaking down a significant problem into its components and creatively searching to solve some or all.

  • Reformulation: examining a problem through different perspectives.

  • Macro-micro: When an issue has too many details, formulate the problem at a macro level, with fewer details, and try to solve it. Going up and down repeatedly until a suitable solution is found.

  • Self-reflection: Ask yourself? Why is it hard for me to solve the problem? What could I be doing wrong in the process?

  • Logical contradiction: presenting an argument for a counter-solution and attempting to contradict it. Based on the contradiction, as a platform for a solution.

  • External representation: Writing and presenting the problem in text (document, presentation, etc.). It helps regulate thinking, freeing the mind to see creative directions.


Tools for creative thinking based on the right hemisphere:

  • Listening to feelings.

  • Sympathy, empathy, and compassion for others, within a tool called ISCJ - Intelligent Social Change Journey, in which each stage relies on the previous ones:

    - Sympathy: Looking at the past (in the context of the issue being addressed) while sympathizing with the characters who participated.

    - Empathy: examining the issue in the present, analyzing the opportunities and risks while demonstrating empathy for the relevant figures, and trying to understand why they act as reflected in reality. Represents a higher level of emotional capacity.

    - Compassion: Trying to think together about what the future could look like while taking responsibility for the meaning of that future and formulating a creative solution for this future.


Tacit, implicit, and explicit knowledge

Knowledge is information that can be effectively acted upon (potentially or in current practice).

Knowledge makes it possible to know, and over the years, we have come to understand that knowing is one of our senses, and it guides us in conduct, just like the other familiar physical senses.

The sense of knowing allows us, consciously or subconsciously, to nourish and expand our knowledge through experience-based work, reminiscing, or even creating associative patterns, thus creating a loop, both consciously and subconsciously, between tacit and explicit knowledge.


Three levels of knowledge:

  • Explicit knowledge: Effective, retrievable information that can be accurately explained by words or other representations (such as images) so that another person can fully understand the transmitted knowledge.

  • Implicit knowledge: Knowledge that can be retrieved from memory that the individual is not immediately aware of but can be reached by actions such as questioning, dialogue, reflection, or as a result of an external stimulus process. Although a person does not know that he possesses this knowledge, it is discoverable, expressive, and transmitable to another.

  • Tacit knowledge: Knowledge that an individual has, they may not be aware of the existence of knowledge, and even if they do, they cannot express it in words, an image, or some other representation.

    All knowledge begins and develops as tacit knowledge. From there, it can also be

    transferred to other states in a continuum and not wholly different and distinct situations.

    And more: tacit knowledge is divided into four subcategories (with overlap): spiritual, intuitive, emotional, and embodied knowledge:

    - Spiritual knowledge: Knowledge based on matters related to the soul, such as morality, human nature, and higher development of mental faculties.

    - Intuitive knowledge: An individual's internal knowledge influences decision-making and actions, but the individual cannot explain why or how he knew.

    - Affective knowledge: knowledge related to emotions and feelings that we do not express and sometimes do not even acknowledge. For example, the feeling when holding a newborn baby.

    - Embedded knowledge: Knowledge that we feel in our bodies or senses. For example, we can ride a bicycle without being able to explain how we did what we did.


There is much to tell and explain about knowledge; indeed, the subject of knowledge is described throughout the book (of course – tacit knowledge is the star). For the sake of this conclusion, another chapter is devoted to actions on knowledge that enable the promotion of exceptional creative thinking.


imagination

Imagination will be defined below as the ability to perceive images of reality that do not necessarily exist immediately.

Based on the definition, it is clear why imagination is an element that frees us from some of the limitations that exist in our brains and facilitates creative thinking.

Moreover, when imagination is based on a strong desire, as follows, our subconscious capacity for creative thinking is strengthened:

Desire* -> imagination->will-> create.

According to the study, this power can also lead even further:

Creative imagination + empathy + energy -> Innovative creativity.


* And even passion


Several tools for imaginative-based creative thinking:

  • Wishful thinking: Raising a picture of imagination without a shortage of resources. How can one deal with the need in such a case?

  • Impersonation: Uploading an imaginary image of a person with a different interest or even detached and looking from the sidelines. How does he see the issue? How can the need be dealt with?

  • Storytelling: Creating an imaginary picture in which you tell future stories, telling what happened. How does he see the issue? How can I deal with the need?


Combining wisdom

In Judaism, it is common to say that old age means earned wisdom (M.L.). Indeed, wisdom comes with age.

However, there is wisdom beyond the passage of years, and certainly when it comes to thinking in general and creative thinking in particular:

Wisdom includes two components that both influence:

  1. Developing the mental abilities of the individual:

    Learning that examines, analyzes, and is based on effective and ineffective activities develops a new pattern.

  2. Deepening relationships with others:

    An ISCJ (multitemporal observation) journey is where, based on time-dependent analysis, sympathy, empathy, and compassion are created, allowing a shared focus on creating good.


In creative thinking, wisdom combines these two to move toward intelligent activity.

Tools for creative thinking based on wisdom that represent different approaches and perspectives of thinking:

  • Living systems: Each instance represents a type of possible additional solution.

  • Consciousness: Transition between conscious and subconscious and recurring (see Consciousness section above).

  • Scientific: An understanding, based on quantum theory, that everything is probabilistic, and all possibilities already exist, and you have to choose between them, which then limits the field, not necessarily produce them from scratch.

  • Spiritual: Creating a climate full of emotions and images that can stimulate a person to think in different directions.


Environment

We live in a vast, energetic field with an infinite amount of information constantly growing.

This field:

  1. Is overwhelmed with ideas and content of others, which have already become conscious, have already been documented, and even shared.

  2. Enables collaboration – working together on the content.


We advanced on the axis:


Closed structured perceptions -> limited sharing ->

Awareness and connections through sharing processes -> collaborative development ->

Sharing at scale—> training, leading, and creating wisdom—>


Creating and sharing new thinking in collaborative and comprehensive consciousness processes.


Such an environment means you don't always have to reinvent the wheel.

The needs exist, existing ideas exist, Imagination exists, and Existing solutions exist.

It is worthwhile to set boundaries for focusing knowledge and consciousness so we will not be entertained.

It is worth investing in selection, filtering, and adjustment. Moreover, it can be done together, increasing the potential for valuable creative thinking!

It is worthwhile to define tools for synthesizing knowledge so that we can indeed derive value from it (one of the tools proposed is adopting the Story Thinking model – see a dedicated summary of this theme >>).


Combining knowledge, intent, direction, and knowing will make it possible to get more out of the information-flooded environment.


In such an environment, to maximize the added value, it is also recommended that network relationships be managed to derive more value from them, whether inclusive or for the needs of designated zip codes and subgroups.

In such an environment, adopting the secrets of group facilitation (physical and virtual – ML) to maximize creative thinking based on people's gaps and differences is worthwhile. The more there is such a difference, and the more the facilitation succeeds in taking people out of their comfort zones and establishing learning and creative thinking based on differences, the more fruitful the ideas will be.

There is room to aspire.


Intuition

Some dismiss intuition as an official tool. Not so here. An entire chapter is devoted to intuition and its place in creative thought processes.

Intuition is defined as consciousness at a starting level, a deep understanding supported by our senses, allowing us to know, even without using rational processes.

We know several categories of intuition:

  1. Earned intuition: Intuition that develops subconsciously based on our accumulated experience and historical discoveries. Intuition comes from within and affects individuals' capacity for creativity, decisions, and actions. The individual is not aware of the origin of the ideas or of explaining the source of why they knew how to act.

    Intuitive, tacit knowledge is the source of the sense of knowing and results from an ongoing process of learning from experience. Intuitive, tacit knowledge is one of the four categories of tacit knowledge (knowledge section above).

  2. Revealed intuition: An intuition not based on the past but on values and other tacit knowledge, often spiritual (but not only). An example quoted from the book Think Fast Think Slow (summary below>>) is that of a fire crew chief who, without any warning, kicks the entire crew out, and seconds later, the structure collapses. He did not accumulate relevant knowledge, but combinations of knowledge and synchronization between different components led him to this knowledge, which was revealed when necessary for the first time.


The accumulated intuition and the one revealed are both based on tacit knowledge and, therefore, operate continuously 24/7 and are activated by external or internal triggers.


The good news is that intuition can be controlled, at least partially. This is “control” in terms of “access”. We can subconsciously approach intuition when we ask ourselves "how" questions about items of knowledge and ideas while trying to create patterns for the future based on what we learn. The authors of the book propose several preconditions that will strengthen the possibility of controlling intuition (each detailed in the book):

  1. Self-discovery

  2. Connection to Consciousness

  3. Balancing mental thinking (between contributing to self and others)

  4. Development of conceptual perception (logic – what can cause what)

  5. Developing relationships with others.


Note: The last three sections represent the ISCJ.


Development of extraordinary consciousness

Beyond all the tools proposed above, actions on tacit knowledge can develop abnormal creative thinking in transitions back and forth between external and internal knowledge, between consciousness and the subconscious.

Here are the four main types of actions that enable better utilization of tacit knowledge:

  1. Surfacing Tacit Knowledge:

    When new latent knowledge develops, it is stored in the subconscious and is naturally challenging to retrieve and externalize. However, it is possible to transmit this knowledge to the conscious mind using the techniques of:

    - External triggering, for example, by a sound (a specific melody).

    - Self-collaboration, for example, by active dialogue with oneself while listening deeply and preventing a rapid excess of judgment.

    - Nurturing: For example, meditation, mindfulness, lucid dreaming, inner tasking, flow state, and more.

  2. Embedding Tacit Knowledge: It would be nice to think that when we experience an experience, it is fully absorbed in our minds. However, it is stored in invariant form. Only a small and significant part (what is most important to us) is absorbed and linked to other pieces of information, which produce or reinforce patterns. The embodiment of knowledge in our brain is a proactive act of creating these patterns, and it can be carried out accidentally or intentionally when immersed in thoughts or when revealing information. This happens when we perform repetitive activities such as visiting a concert or traveling. The deliberate embodiment of knowledge can occur through learning processes, imitation, repetition, training, or mental thinking.

  3. Sharing tacit knowledge: It is easy for us to think about sharing open knowledge; the idea is more challenging for tacit knowledge. Covert knowledge sharing is possible (as we have already learned in the SECI model, M.L.) and can take place through apprenticeship or using allegory.

  4. Inducing resonance: By bringing together well-established but opposing ideas, it is possible to create resonance in the listener's mind that enhances the meaning of the information and its emotional impact on us. A typical example is debate, where opposing ideas serve as a platform for sharpening attitudes and internalizing knowledge, and sub-ideas emerging in a debate resonate with the listener.


Creativity developed socially

It is possible to go up to another stage in the development of creative thinking – the development of shared creative thinking.

Contrary to the popular myth that highly creative ideas are developed in the minds of geniuses, they can be developed – in groups.


Below are four tools for implementation:

  1. Connections: windows of awareness and focus on connection to yourself and others—an attempt to reach his hidden knowledge and yours through his.

  2. Search after truth: learning from mistakes. Appreciating mistakes and taking them as an opportunity. A process that has more success when performed not alone (M.L.)

  3. Service to others: When we serve a greater purpose in an issue being solved, not for our own sake, but for the sake of society and others, we can reach higher levels of creativity.

  4. Co-creation: joint activity. One unique way to amplify it is by emphasizing the contradictions of different people's ideas and opening a window for creative thinking in a higher order out of openness to these opposites.


Innovation-driven creativity

Seemingly, this is where the book was supposed to end. Creative thinking generates ideas.

But an idea is a means, not an end. A message is offered here.

To understand it, one must first recall the definitions:

Knowledge = information + effective action (potential or actual),

Innovation = knowledge + creativity + applied use.

[Disclaimer: Presenting the definitions as equations can give the impression that this is a recipe. Not so, but these are the ingredients that create innovation.]


Invest in intention; invest in the attention you pay.

That's it. Don't be creative just for the sake of creativity; be creative, directional, and intentional. Work to improve life situations, whether personal or professional.

Everyone will benefit, but first of all, you.

Worthwhile.


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