3 Tools to Become More Creative: Balder Onarheim (Transcript)

Balder Onarheim at TEDxCopenhagenSalon

Here is the full text of creativity expert Balder Onarheim’s talk: 3 Tools to Become More Creative at TEDxCopenhagenSalon event conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio: 3 tools to become more creative Balder Onarheim TEDxCopenhagenSalon


My talk today will be about re-learning creativity. And as you’ve seen from the talks, of course, I can’t teach you anything in 20 minutes.

So what I’ll try to do is I’ll try to give you three very concrete tools that you can go home and use to try to become a bit more creative person.

The first thing I need to know from the audience is of course, do you find yourself creative? So I want you all to close your eyes. And keep your eyes closed. If you feel like a creative person, raise your hand so I can see.

Okay, and then keep your hand up. A lot of people try to take it down and open your eyes again.

Wow, this is a real great audience. Okay, so that will amplify one of my points. One of the things I normally see in audiences when I do this is people tend to take their hand down when I ask them to open their eyes.

And that brings me to our first question of this talk. And that is, please, why creativity? Why should any adult person want to be creative? Of course, creativity has kind of a bad reputation.

And when I say I’m a creativity expert, creativity researcher, people tend to say also work with dance and music. And this to me is sort of a myth about creativity. And one of the reasons I see people don’t dare to claim themselves as creatives.

And there are a lot of ways of understanding creativity and normally you talk about the either the creative person, the creative press sort of situation you’re in, the creative process, or the creative product. So there are a lot of different ways to understanding creativity.

Today, I’ll talk about the creative person, meaning your creative abilities. I do not talk about the creative person, then this is what normally people sees on their eyelids as Pablo Picasso.

But I have a very different take on creativity, a very different type of creativity that I find as important and as interesting. And that is the Vladimir Putin creativity.

Because Putin is, to me a brilliant example of a role leader who is extremely good at using different ways of thinking to achieve his goals. I won’t get political here, so I’ll leave it there.

But luckily, I’m not the only one seeing these types of creative skills as seemingly importantly as the more creative in the classical sense, the more artistic domains.

And one of my favorite studies was back in 2010, IBM did a big study where they asked 1600 CEOs in more than 60 countries around the world, whether these CEOs were prepared for the future. And actually less than half of the CEOs they asked felt that they themselves and their companies were actually ready for the future.

And then when asked what they could do better in their company to actually prepare for the future, creativity came out on top.

So in more than 60 countries, these 1600 CEOs agree that creativity was actually what they needed to make their company resilient for the future.

In another study that I really like, LinkedIn, they have this thing every year; they publish a list of the most common words people use to describe themselves.

And in 2012, creative was the most commonly used word in LinkedIn, when people describe themselves in their profiles. 2013 it drooped to I think third, but responsible minimum, but it’s still up there. So people still want to perceive themselves as creative.

And this view on creativity, to me changes the whole discourse about how we can actually train creativity. Because to me, we have to start seeing creativity as a fundamental human skill. It’s something that we’re born with, that we all need. And that is actually the key to success in any domain, any way of life, and any way of living.

I think, normally, I would say, that creativity is as important as an engineer for as an artist. And I love this because I see a lot of nodding here. So people seem to agree, you get the point, creativity is important.

And after one of these talks I gave, this old engineer came up to me, and he said, “Well, I really like to talk very interesting, especially the point about like, everyone should be creative. I think that’s such a brilliant point. But you know, you should also remember to mention that some of us still have to do the serious stuff. So the rest we can be creatives.”

And that was after listening to me for 45 minutes, only talking about why creativity is important to teach in engineering schools. So to make my point as clear as possible, in my point of view, when I talk about training creativity, it’s not about art, it’s about success in any aspect of life; that being work, private life, sex, cooking, wherever.

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