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The process of creating ideas – for product managers
Today we are talking about the 7 habits of creative people.
For such a discussion, we need a truly creative person, and that is why Nathan Phillips is with us. He is cofounder of Technology, Humans And Taste (THAT). Nathan leads the development of a proprietary collaborative methodology, which invites diverse and unfamiliar collaborators to co-create innovative concepts, leveraging AI to supercharge ideas. He’s also a best-selling author and Emmy award winner, on top of it all!
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[7:06] You’ve identified seven habits of creative people. Where did those habits come from?
I focus on teachable methodologies for collaboration and creativity. People often think creativity is a magic power that only some people have. Everyone is creative, but sometimes we lack the vocabulary to understand how to build an idea. Building ideas is like math—once you figure out how to construct an idea, all you need to do is slot ingredients into that process and watch as innovative original ideas emerge. People think ideas have to be good, but that’s anti-creative; you can’t know if an idea is good until it’s executed. Our process, which inspired the seven rules of creativity, is designed to be understandable by anybody and inclusive of anybody’s participation. It celebrates the fact that you have to have lots of ideas to have a good idea.
[8:48] What are the seven rules for creativity?
[10:55] #1 Don’t eat with your hands
Always have a writing utensil. If you can’t capture your thinking, you’re left without that idea. As my wife Victoria Wellman says, if you have an idea and don’t say it, it doesn’t exist. Don’t write in your phone because word processors and notes are designed to make lists, but beautiful ideas don’t happen in order. A piece of paper and pen allow you to express the creative data point that happened in your head, however it comes out. Writing makes you remember things and think differently. Personally I use pen, not pencil, because when you write with pen you’re locked into it and reminded that what you’re doing has value.
[14:11] #2 Art is dead
If you want to be a creator, listen to music you don’t love and find out what you could love about it. Don’t go to museums to be inspired; you’ll just see what’s been done before. Instead, go to a place least like a museum and find something that belongs in a museum. Approach the world from the perspective of someone who’s creatively engaged and trying to discover their own way of seeing.
[16:32] #3 Keep it Kanye
The idea of protecting your creativity is anti-creative. Always show your work. In an office, mandate that people show their work at the end of the day. If you’re sitting in a bar and thinking about a half-baked, great idea, tell someone about it and practice pitching it. If they can steal it, it wasn’t a good idea, but if they respond to it, you’ve got something original that’s yours to run with. It’s risky, but there’s nothing to be afraid of with sharing your work.
[20:44] #4 Save your trash
Author Stephen King threw away the first chapter of his first novel, but his wife pulled it out of the trash and he finished it, launching an incredibly impactful career. Reimagine your process through the lens of what you throw away. Look at what you’ve thrown away and connect those disparate data points. Your great concept or product is hiding in your trash, because you probably threw it away before you knew what you were doing.
[23:30] #5 The Tina Turner Principle: We never do anything nice and easy
There are tools that help you have ideas fast, but we need tools that help you have ideas slower. You have an idea by increasing friction, challenge, work, and disruption. You have to make it hard for yourself. If you’re making it easy, you’re skipping the creative part.
[25:11] #6 Worship Satan: Religious imagination
Use the power of make-believe to solve problems. When you approach a task where no solutions are available, come up with a story with a solution in it. That solution could be magic, from outer space, or something you completely invent. Then ask, How can I make this real? This is how you can get incredibly innovative solutions to problems everyone else is leaving on the floor.
[28:34] #7 Create a code
One of the most exciting parts of being a writer or creator is seeing people reading or using your stuff. You realize all the weird stuff bouncing around in your head is really useful to people when you bring it to life. They’re treating your crazy ideas like they’re normal. Instead of waiting for that, when you stumble on a new phrase that makes sense to you, codify it. Name a sketch you put on the wall and eventually people will start referring to it by the name you gave it, and it will become a useful tool.
Put the information Nathan shared into action now. Click here to download the Action Guide.
- Learn more about Technology, Humans And Taste (THAT)
“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.” – Mitch Hedberg
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.