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Is there a difference between “intelligence” and “creativity”? Many people seem to think so and based on anecdotal evidence you’d have to agree with them. Creative people aren’t necessarily smarter than those around them (although they could be). What they do is think differently than those around them. Michael Michalko, in The Creativity Post, penned an article entitled “How Geniuses Think” in which he claims to have narrowed down the list of attributes on how a genius thinks differently than others. I believe his list, however, can be shrunk even farther as many of the items are just rewritten versions of previous statements. What it comes down to is this:
Geniuses, creative people, think differently.
Creativity is not about going from step A to step B to step C to step D. It is about making a leap, in some cases a leap of faith, that you can get to the finish line by taking a different path. Creative people have a strong belief . in themselves. They think differently, they know they think differently but they also know that thinking differently isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
TEDTalks is full of people who think differently. People talk about how a video game could help us build better cities. Or even how to build a company where the best ideas win. Or for really different thinking, Lifesaving scientific tools made of paper, like a $0.20 centrifuge that does the work of a $1,000 machine.
Thinking differently is good. Thinking differently is innovate. Thinking differently involves risks. Einstein thought differently. He created 249 different research papers but is predominantly known for just 1. Indeed, some of his research papers are complete duds while others are only marginally interesting. You will get duds when thinking differently, you will get failures. But if you want to innovate you have to be able to accept failure. Being innovative means taking a risk because you are going where most other people haven’t gone. You’re James T. Kirk on the Enterprise, you’re not Leroy Fitzsimmons on the Lexington because he was never innovative. He wasn’t attempting “to boldly go where no man has gone before“.
And yet, there are many organizations that fear being different, fear the risk, fear being innovative. But many of those organizations are fading away. The world is changing, and changing quickly. The Millenials and Gen Z demographic groups are use to change and are demanding change. Organizations that don’t change, don’t survive. Iconic stores like Toys’R’Us are filing for Chapter 11 / creditor protection. Toys’R’Us has not been able to adapt to the rate of change required to stay relevant.
People want an “experience” when they shop and store owners need to be innovative enough to give it to them. Table Top Cafe (two locations in Edmonton) is an example of an innovative … coffee shop? You pay a fee to play games, while eating cafe food like soup, roast beef wrap and a cup of Skittles. My daughters spend hours eating, drinking and playing games. Heck, they even buy the games that they play. Was this type of cafe a risk? Definitely. Who would have thought of buying a bunch of games for people to play while eating food? Someone thought differently. They weren’t worried about people spilling food on the game, they were more concerned about providing an experience that no one else gave.
Innovation, creativity, is risky, but sometimes it truly pays off.