"Mechanics of Creativity" at DAC 2012: Oxymoron?

"Mechanics of Creativity" at DAC 2012: Oxymoron?
by Holly Stump on 04-19-2012 at 8:13 pm

A perennial DAC highlight for me is the panel session sponsored by Women in Electronic Design. This year, it is called “The Mechanics of Creativity: What does it take to be an idea machine?”

Is this an oxymoron?

I interviewed panelist Dee McCrorey , Chief Risk Guru and Innovation Catalyst at Risktaking for Success LLC, to find out.

“Mechanics /Creativity” and “Idea / Machine” seem like oxymorons, but are they?

I think it is an interesting juxtaposition of concepts, a creative one! Mechanics can mean:
• Functional side of mechanics (“mechanics of the brain”)
• Mechanics associated with physical science that deals with energy and its effect on bodies
• Mechanics and the practical application of machines or tools

I like to think of creativity as energy. But creativity by itself is fleeting. We can no longer wait for our muse to visit us. Mechanics of creativity can develop the “on-demand muse,” and we do this by developing a creative mindset that provides us with a continuous source of energy. A creative mindset “feeds” us on a regular basis and eliminates the need to unblock creatively. By integrating the components of a creative mindset these “packets of energy” become part of your creative DNA—you always have something in the creative hopper.

Ron Adner’s book The Wide Lenssays: “Invention used to be 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. These days, it’s probably 50 percent collaboration. Companies trying to commercialize innovations won’t succeed unless suppliers, distributors, and other partners can and will do their parts.”

Is creativity a province of “artistic/ intuitive” people, as opposed to “analytical people” or can everyone be creative? Might analytics even have special strengths when they allow themselves to be creative?

Contemplation is not just for introverts. Success in the new world of business demands “whole brain” thinking–people who use the full functionality of their brain; cross back and forth between that of “thinker” and “creative.” These “whole brain adaptives” will model the best in “flexible mindset” thinking. Ambivert: a person who is intermediate between an extrovert and an introvert.

All energy begins with us, but when we expand energy it gains traction and grows stronger. Think about the last time you experienced a “collaborative high,” that buzz you got when you produced something greater than anything you could have done alone. That’s expansion of energy.

Collaboration is a timing thing—bring it in too soon and you risk vetting before you’ve had a chance to fully juice your idea—this is why contemplation and alone time is so important.

“Time to market /Creative flow” are challenging to balance. Thoughts?

At a time when we’re being called on to solve big, complex problems and to innovate at a faster clip we can’t afford to scatter our energies.

In my book, Innovation in a Reinvented World: 10 Essential Elements to Succeed in the New World of Business, Steve Todd, EMC Distinguished Engineer, shares his advice for professionals in preparing them to succeed in the new world of business: “Learn how to think—just think. Set aside time to just be still…The most complex problems will be solved by the “thoughtful ones,” people who just put their feet on the desk and think about solving big problems. The thoughtful employees will survive and thrive in future.”

For more information on Dee McCrorey
For more information on the “Mechanics of Creativity”Pavilion Panel

Join panelists Dee McCrorey of Success LLC, Lillian Kvitko of Oracle, Sherry Hess of AWR, and moderator Karen Bartleson of Synopsys on Monday June 4, at DAC 2012!