The role of creativity in strategic thinking
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The Role of Creativity in Strategic Thinking. Agenda. Think Strategically Right Brain/Left Brain Innovation and Creativity Primary Principles of Innovation Creativity Generator It’s All About Possibility Wrap Up and Questions. Strategy.

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The Role of Creativity in Strategic Thinking

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The Role of Creativity in Strategic Thinking


Think Strategically

Right Brain/Left Brain

Innovation and Creativity

Primary Principles of Innovation

Creativity Generator

It’s All About Possibility

Wrap Up and Questions


  • Determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals

  • Strategic thinking and creativity are requirements of doing this activity well

Strategic Thinking

Answers four key questions:

  • Where are we now?

  • Where do we want to be?

  • How do we get there?

  • How will we know?

Reorganizing Klee’s Colour Table

There are many ways to see the same thing

Right Brain or Left Brain?

  • Are you predominantly right brain or left brain?

  • Do you see the image rotating clockwise or counter clockwise?

  • If it spins clockwise, you supposedly use more of your right brain

  • If it spins counter clockwise, you’re more of a left brain person


  • Uses logic

  • Detail oriented

  • Facts rule

  • Words and language

  • Present and past

  • Math and science

  • Can comprehend

  • Knowing

  • Acknowledges

  • Order/pattern perception

  • Knows object name

  • Reality based

  • Forms strategies

  • Practical

  • Safe


  • Uses feeling

  • “Big picture" oriented

  • Imagination rules

  • Symbols and images

  • Present and future

  • Philosophy and religion

  • Can "get it" (i.e. meaning)

  • Believes

  • Appreciates

  • Spatial perception

  • Knows object function

  • Fantasy based

  • Presents possibilities

  • Impetuous

  • Risk taking

  • We need both types of people in a planning process

  • Those who can see the forest (big picture) and those who can see the trees (details)

Think Strategically

  • You can use innovation to meet the gap between increased or new community needs and a lack of financial resources

Innovation Creativity

  • Innovation = the development of new ideas or methods, that when implemented, create value

  • Creativity = the ability to transcend traditional ideas. Creativity is the starting point for innovation and is applied throughout the innovation process

Primary Principles of Innovation

  • Everything is connected to everything

  • New thoughts, new action, new results

  • Everyone is creative and innovative

Everything is Connected to Everything

  • Everything in the universe affects everything else because they are part of the same unbroken whole

  • We live based on an explicit order (normal everyday thoughts and perceptions) – based on our filters

  • We need to move to an implicate order (beyond normal everyday thoughts and perceptions) – start with the fact that you don’t know the answer and that you are only able to see a piece of a fuller range of possibility

  • What’s the bigger picture?

Small Group Discussion

  • Everything is connected to everything

  • What are the implications of this principlefor our planning process?

New Thoughts, New Actions, New Results

  • Thought is the starting point of every new creation. Thought creates

  • If our thinking doesn’t change neither will the results

  • The range of our present possibilities does not extend far beyond the range of our present thoughts

  • Thinking determines actions. Actions determine results

Nine Dot Puzzle

Directions: Connect the 9 dots using four straight lines without lifting the pencil from the paper

  • Ah, the phenomenon of the mind...we see a box with dots in four corners even when it doesn’t exist

Small Group Discussion

  • New thoughts, new actions, new results

  • What are the implications of this principlefor our planning process?

Everyone is Creative and Innovative

  • Creativity and innovation are not rare

  • Creativity and innovation can be studied

  • Can be developed by anyone

  • Less than 5% of people over 45 years are creative. At age 5 it was 90%. What is the conclusion?

Small Group Discussion

  • Everyone is creative and innovative

  • What are the implications of this principlefor our planning process?


  • What is the difference between the right answer and the best answer?

  • Don’t stop generating ideas with the first one that you think is “right”. The first “right” answer is not necessarily the best answer

  • What is half of 8?

Creativity Generator

  • Scan: need to define the right question

  • Focus: need to use the right criteria

  • Act: build, test, draft, learn

  • Always start with an individual generated list and then work as a group to scan and focus

  • Do not use phrases that shut down the discussion

Scanning Guidelines

  • Quantity not quality counts

  • Don’t be logical or evaluate

  • Scanning is not about being right

  • Create a free association of ideas

  • Welcome radical ideas

Focusing Guidelines

  • First, select the right criteria

  • Quality counts – use best judgement

  • Listen carefully

  • Value differences

  • Let your thoughts be known

  • Do not focus while scanning!


  • Scan: Write down all the uses you can think of for my belt

  • Focus Criteria: Most unique idea

  • Do a personal scan and focus (top 3 choices) and then a group scan and focus (top 3 choices)

Questions to Stimulate Creativity

  • What would you do if there was no money or time limitations?

  • How can we improve this work AND make it more fun?

  • What is the great “gift” in this problem?

  • How else might we define the problem we are discussing?

  • How else might we solve this problem?

It’s All About Possibility

  • The Art of Possibility - YouTube

Discussion Question

  • How can innovation and creativity be used in your planning process?


  • What learnings and reflections do I have from this session?

  • What are some potential actions for my Regional Network?

Wrap Up and Questions


  • GoInnovate! (2003). Making Innovation Happen Seminar and Workbook.

  • Winer, Michael and Karen Ray. (1994). Collaboration Handbook: Creating, Sustaining and Enjoying the Journey. Minnesota: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.

  • Zander, Rosamunde Stone and Benjamin Zander. (2000). The Art of Possibility. New York: Penguin Books.

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