By Shikhar Mohan
A few months back, I got a chance to review ‘Cracking the Creativity Code’. The book has been published by Sage Publications and has been authored by Arie Ruttenberg, co-founder of Israel’s largest advertising agency, and Shlomo Maital, a Senior Research Fellow at the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies, Technion and Professor (Emeritus) at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
The book explores possibly the least understood aspect of the human psyche – creativity. In most cultures creativity is seen as something exotic. Artists build on this perception and present their work as something that only their unique minds are capable of producing.
The author presents an alternate view – creativity is not an in-born ability as much as a skill that can be developed with the right training. And it’s a skill that deserves to be developed as creativity has been a major force in all advancements in human history – being more creative can help each one of us live richer lives.
Unfortunately, as the book goes on to say, most of us never get any training in becoming more creative.
Our education tends to lay emphasis on rote learning and creativity is often systematically stricken off the pages of our lives.
You may get a chance to be creative, in say, the painting class, but your creativity will find little expression in the history or science class. Most school teachers will ask you to repeat what you have been taught rather than to connect the dots.
To help the reader rediscover the lost art of creativity, the author presents a number of interesting exercises – one of them is the ‘Zoom in, Zoom out, Zoom in’ technique.
The technique involves learning to stick to reality (zooming in) but then also from time to time learning to zoom out – or delving into the world of our imagination, where we disassociate with what is realistically possible.
As someone who has worked in advertising, a field that is considered to be very creative, as well as in the supposedly mundane and number driven world of marketing, this is a technique that I have often used – except of-course, I didn’t call it zoom in, zoom out.
By putting a name and technique to what most creative professionals do, the author has made the process of becoming creative accessible to everyone.
There are a number of similar easily understood tools in the book and it will be an interesting read for most, and a welcome break for managers who are nose deep in facts and figures.