Riding High on Ideas

A Creative Thinking Profile of a Creative Team

I’m exploring how creativity works within a creative organization — what are the strengths and where are the potential blind spots? As an important first step, the eight members of the core team recently learned their preferences for different stages of the Creative Problem Solving process. We’ll look at how this creative team stacks up as a group…

We used the FourSight Breakthrough Thinking Profile to generate the data. FourSight is a great tool for understanding where your energies lie for different phases of the Creative Problem Solving process: clarifying the situation, generating ideas, developing ideas, and implementing them. For example: are you energized by coming up with ideas, or do you find your greatest preference to be in implementing them? Does gaining a through understanding of a situation give you the most energy, or are you attracted to developing ideas and fleshing them out? Maybe you have two preferences, or three, or all four. FourSight brings this information to light.

A key thing to keep in mind is that FourSight measures personal preference, and not ability. Talented, motivated people can develop their abilities across all four preferences. But: what you’re good at doing and what you love to do often feel differently; this is where the question of preference comes in.

Why is this important? Apart from the value of knowing how we thrive within the creative process, this information helps us avoid pitfalls. When we’re stressed, tired, or under time pressure, our low preferences can become potential hazards, blocking us from bringing our best and most thorough creative thinking to the task at hand.

Understanding preference is also very important in team work. What happens if a team is loaded with developers who love to perfect things, but has few people who gain energy from implementing? Or what about a team that loves to hold onto the first step of clarification, generating reams of data, but gets stuck moving forward? And, in a situation many teams can identify with, what happens when people with different preferences step on each other’s toes? Looking at a group FourSight profile gives a clear snapshot of the creative thinking strengths and tendencies for weakness within a team.

So how did this group of eight creative people show up? This company’s stock in trade is in coming up with creative ideas and implementing them in memorable ways. It’s no surprise, then to see the results:

Creative Team FourSight Profile

The team shows a strong preference for ideation (the orange bar), followed by implementation (the purple bar). But clarification (blue) and development (green) are low preferences for them collectively.

How might this play out during project work for clients? Might there be ways in which ideas are generated without a thorough understanding of the client’s needs or context? Might there be times when the development stage becomes muddied? Do the dual preferences of ideation and implementation energize this team to dependably identify strong ideas and successfully carry them out?

Most importantly, knowing there are no wrong scores, how to make the best use of the information, and help this team build on their successes?

In an upcoming post, I’ll share insights the team generated, and plans for applying them.

In the meantime, if you’d like more information FourSight, and how it can help you or your team, let me know.

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