‘Creative Lean’ is the combination of Creative Thinking and Lean thinking together, and is the Yin and Yang of business improvement for prosperity. The ancient Chinese concept of yin-yang is the generalisation of two polar complements related to each other. These complementary opposites, Creativity and Lean, can be used as labels to describe two opposite things or two opposite aspects contained within one thing – Business Improvement.
The two sides of ‘Creative Lean’ are the ‘creative left’, and the ‘logical lean right’ hemispheres of our brains thinking. They are polar yet complimentary thinking patterns that together creates a pathways to innovation. Connecting these thinking methods to business problems can produce extraordinary results. Not just coming up with the great idea but actually implementing it as well.
Lean thinking engages the identification of waste, analytical in method. Leveraging the logical mind; for waste removal, reordering or refinement. The logical mind deciphers complex concepts, technology and data and can develop efficient solutions based on framed information. Combine this with creative thinking, by engaging the left side of the brain sparks multiple connections between unrelated fields. A creative mind can see a problem from different and unexpected angles generating unexpected solutions. In a team problem solving this produces extraordinary outcomes.
Our top 5 Tips to stimulate Creative Lean in your business.
- New experiences and new environments: To open up your creative thinking, do things in new and untried way. You may want to try an obscure location or invite outsiders into your workshops to provide a totally different perspective. Avoid the set ways of solving problems, mix it up a bit!
- Constructive conflict: Allow passion to be respectfully harnessed, and differences understood. Creatives and innovators always have enquiring minds. Are you, and the team, asking enough questions? Obtain a deeper understand the problem and each others perspective. Encourage risk taking, and provide a safe environment for this exploration can take place
- Quiet time: Set time aside for team members’ quiet time to stimulate and let the mind wonder until ideas flow
- Creativity tools: Use brainstorming and other creative thinking tools, to improve divergent thinking. Use visual aids as much as possible. Robert Epstein from Harvard University developed a technique called ‘shifting’, this involves both individual and group idea brainstorming that can build on ideas, extending and evolving ideas and unlocking creativity
- Test and learn license: We all prefer control over our environments. According to a 2008 study by Harvard University, there is a direct correlation between people who have the ability to call their own shots, and the value of their creative output. Allow experimentation to test and learn. Apply the Lean; Plan, Do, Check, Adjust (PDCA) cycle, with short tests and reflection time, this will encourage more creativity
Rapid, constant, environmental change is our reality. To survive the creative minds of your people needs to be unlocked, set free, highly engaged and pragmatically harnessed. Use the two sides of the same coin to drive ‘Creative Lean’ on your Business Improvement challenge.