After being part of the team that revolutionised the first “outside the banner” advertising project, it was obvious that Juan Prego, the director of Actitud Creativa, had a promising future, and was destined to innovate by adding huge doses of creativity to various aspects of life.
Prego has spent the last few years delving into the research and development of Creative Thinking at organisations. He is the author of Piensa como un genio (Think like a Genius) and is also an expert on the development of communication and innovation skills.
Once again, this professional is contributing to the Masters of Design and Innovation to promote creative thinking among our students through interesting workshops. We interviewed him to find out about the keys to become true geniuses through his techniques.
Can you briefly tell us what Creative Thinking is? What stages are followed in this process?
Creative thinking is the ability of an individual or team to generate original ideas that add value. This skill can be developed and there are techniques and tools that enhance the talent of professionals, teams and organisations.
Three of the most important phases in this process, discovered by Alex Osborne and Sidney Parnes, renowned experts on creativity, during their research, are:
● To explore the challenge: delve into the true nature of the aim or issue, seeking sources of information and defining the best approach to resolve it.
● To generate ideas: producing a range of alternatives to resolve the issue at hand.
● Preparing for action: where ideas become viable solutions. Producing prototypes and defining the plan needed to launch the project.
How important is creative thinking today, in the face of current business demands?
One of the problems that organisations face today is that they have never before dealt with similar kinds of market challenges. However, they continue to use the same tools to resolve these issues. This is pointless, as these tools, however effective they may have been in the past, don’t work in the current situation. Because of this, creative thinking allows organisations to find solutions and ideas where they used to see only problems, and, in this way, to launch them in a quick and affordable way, to make an impact on culture and, above all, on results.
What can this way of thinking contribute to innovation? What are its real applications?
There cannot be innovation without new ideas, and there cannot be new ideas without creative thinking. Organizations tend to approach things back to front, with expensive innovation processes and committees, but without truly original ideas that can add enough value to differentiate them from the competition.
I believe the process should be different. First you need brilliant ideas, or you will continue doing the same thing as before, no matter your expertise on project execution. As for real world applications, it is easy: last year your profits were down, and this year looks even worse. So are you going to do the same thing as last year, or are you going to find new solutions? Creative thinking provides appropriate responses to today’s constant change and uncertainty.
How can Design Thinking be promoted and developed? What is the key to achieve unique and original ideas?
There are several ways of developing Design Thinking, which is not the same as promoting it. The book I have just published, Piensa como un Genio, describes more than fifteen exercises to develop idea-generation skills, based on the work of the greatest geniuses in history to come up with groundbreaking innovations.
As in every other skill, the key lies in practicing properly. There are many self-proclaimed experts on creativity today, and, unfortunately, as my Aikido sensei tells me, practicing something in the wrong way will only make you good at doing things badly.
MASTERS OF DESIGN AND INNOVATION
Program Leaders: Jaime Hayon, Clive van Heerden, Toni Segarra and Carlos Barrabés
Start: January, 2014 Last places for the 2013 edition!
Schedule: Monday to Friday, from 9:30 to 18:00h. Distributed into lessons, tutorials, research and trips.
Language: the lessons are taught in English and /or Spanish.