The Most Accessible Creativity Tools

There is a volume knob for the most powerful creativity tool - and your hand is on the knob right now…

Cartoon explaining creativity tools
Velociraptors decide to flex their creativity tools

You have the power to make anything different.

You can ensure whatever you are working on will become different from anything else.

You simply need the right creativity tools to create the innovative change you seek.

This creativity tool can be controlled much like turning a knob - a creativity knob - from low to make make small incremental creative changes.

Or, turn the creativity volume all the way up past ten to eleven for radical disruptive innovative changes (yes, Spinal Tap was right!).

How a "Volume Knob" is a Powerful Tool for Creativity

Consider that there are levels and thresholds of change. For example:

Small incremental changes: where things change in degree – such as the iPhone 4 developing into the 4S, then 5S and so on. The creativity knob is kept low and features are added or improved, but it is the same phone.

But, turn the knob past ten and you get radical changes; changes that cross a threshold and are no longer incremental but produce a qualitative change: a change-in-kind. The jump to the smartphone was not an incremental improvement -- but the introduction of a new way of engaging the world that also made phone calls.

So Where Is the Innovation Volume Knob?

It’s a creativity technique we call blocking.

This process of blocking is a type of ignoring, -- refusing or creative negation.

Blocking what exists pivots experiments towards the new.

How does Blocking work?

In any object, environment or system the components have a primary purpose.

If a component or a purpose (low volume), some of the components/purposes (mid-volume) or all of the components/purposes (volume turned to 11) are “blocked,” and in conjunction an experimental process is undertaken to discover “what else can this thing do?”  -- we now have a process that will lead to change. The new, novelty, paradigm shifts, and radical or disruptive innovations all emerge from this process.

To get blocking to work and be maximized, one needs to first Disclose what already exists. Without understanding what is in the world, we cannot block it to generate difference.

Blocking is like “breaking all the rules”. You’re experimentally refusing the “rules” for how something is used. You are experimentally forcing yourself outside of a system, your habits, and the existing logic. But, just as importantly you are making new rules -- developing new constraints. Not doing something leads to establishing new ways to do something else that has its own unique logic, tools, habits, concepts, and practices.

We wrote an in-depth article detailing blocking as a creativity tool, how it develops from a new understanding of the process of evolution, and its importance to reinventing creativity and innovation.

Now that you know the volume knob of innovation is always at hand: what can you block right now that will generate some difference?

Seriously, give it a try with anything in front of you to see how powerful this technique can be. Would be SuperDynamite if you share what you block and develop in the comments so we can all learn from each other…

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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