Leonardo da Vinci is remembered by most as an artist with realistic paintings such as the famous Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, that dominated the Renaissance period. However, when you study the life of Leonardo da Vinci you uncover more than just the artist. You find a multidimensional person who contributed to art, science, medicine, engineering, the military, town planning and politics.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci in 1452. His father was a notary in Florence and his mother a 16 yr old servant girl. He grew up in his grandfather’s vineyard and orchard overlooking the valley of the River Arno. In his early years Leonardo was educated by the local priest, asking many questions and challenged the existing beliefs of the time.

Leonardo eventually moved to the bustling city of Florence, which was a key city of the Renaissance period. He studied as an apprentice in the studio of Andrea del Verrochio where he worked on various art projects. Leonardo da Vinci worked with like-minded people to learn his trade, and share knowledge and technical skills, including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry, as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modelling. Leonardo made a significant contribution to refining the art of realism and the use of linear perspective. Leonardo was asked to complete one of Verrochio’s paintings and when Verrochio viewed what Leonardo had completed, he was astounded at the high level of detail and realism that Leonardo achieved. Verrochio had vowed that from that moment on he himself would not paint again. It is clear from the painting below the artistic contribution that Leonardo had made (the detail in the image of the left angel and the distinctive rocky background).

The Renaissance period followed the Middle Ages and began around the 1400s. The period was dominated by learning, discovery and inquiry. Ancient Greek and Roman knowledge was revisited and revised from the perspective of the Renaissance period. One of the key movements during this time was the transformation of two-dimensional Middle Age art to a three-dimensional perspective, creating a sense of realism in artwork. Furthermore, the Renaissance period spawned new discoveries in art, science and adventure. For example, new lands were discovered by Christopher Columbus (1942) during this time.

From an early age Leonardo began to draw and record his thoughts on paper. He kept numerous notebooks of his drawings, designs and observations. He also recorded a number of questions and then tried to answer them as part of his quest for knowledge and understanding. One of Leonardo’s peculiarities was writing many  of his notebook entries  in mirror image (reverse text) demonstrating superior spacial skills. It has been postulated that he wrote many entries in reverse to try to hide some of his notes, thoughts and ideas from prying eyes, or simply because he wanted to prevent smudging as he was mainly left-handed (although he was also ambidextrous).

Leonardo displayed certain distinct characteristics common amongst creative people, including:

  • Curious and open-minded
  • Challenged assumptions and sought the truth
  • Optimistic
  • Tolerant of ambiguity
  • Comfortable with imagination and intuition
  • Viewed problems as opportunities
  • Persevered and didn’t give up easily
Michael Gelb in his book “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” identified seven principles demonstrated by Leonardo da Vinci:
  1. Curiosity
  2. Demonstration
  3. Sensing
  4. Ambiguity
  5. Whole-Brain Thinking (art and science)
  6. Physical Being
  7. Interconnectedness

Leonardo utilised the seven principles to achieve a number of outcomes. For example, in 1502 he worked as a military engineer for Cesare Borgia the son of Pope Alexander VI at a time where many Italian city-states were always at war. Leonardo’s job was to design new devices to better kill the enemy. He also came up with ways to remove, redirect or poison enemy water supplies.

Leonardo also identified and recorded a number of observations in his journals, and designed a number of inventions before their time:

  • 40 yrs before Copernicus – wrote that the earth is not the centre of the universe
  • 60 yrs before Galileo – large magnifying lens to view the moon
  • 200 yrs before Newton – theory of gravitation
  • 400 yrs before – concept of flight, parachute, helicopter, submarine, tanks, recoil-less gun and other inventions

By studying Leonardo da Vinci we find that we can identify a number of learnings from his life that we can adopt in our personal and working life, including:

  • Be curious and open-minded – a wealth of opportunities emerge when our mind is prepared to be open to ideas and curious about our surroundings
  • Ask questions to solve problems – asking “Why?” is a great way to solve problems by finding the root cause or causes
  • Capture ideas and experiences in a journal – thinking on paper by keeping a journal is a great way of expressing your internal creative spirit
  • Balance art and science – get the best of both worlds through reading and creative activities
  • Harmonize body and mind - use whole brain thinking techniques by stimulating and reprogramming your subconscious mind
  • Appreciate nature and our surroundings - enjoy and protect our world by considering the implications of increasing waste and carbon emissions
  • Set goals and aspirations - ensure you set SMART goals that are backed by action to create successful outcomes
  • Create a harmonious work-life balance - both work and play are important for humans, therefore ensure that your work and personal life are integrated and balanced

To continuous learning and creative inspiration!

Dr John Kapeleris

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We are faced with problems and challenges in our work and personal lives, daily. A problem occurs when a present state is unsatisfactory and we wish to change the present state to a more desirable state. The model of a problem is outlined below:


However, finding the appropriate solution path is not always easy and straight forward, requiring a number of different options and meandering pathways, as represented by the diagram below:

A number of different approaches and processes have been documented to solve problems. However, in addition to the process, the right mindset (attitude) is also required for successful problem solving. A simple problem solving process, involving a sequence of steps, was presented by Herbert Simon in 1978 and is outlined below:

The process begins with the realisation that an undesirable state (problem) exists which needs to be analyzed and defined. The next step, design, involves the development of potential solutions to solve the problem. This step is followed by selecting the most suitable solution to the problem and implementing the solution. Finally, a review activity is undertaken to ensure that the solution implemented was effective in solving the problem.

A more detailed Rational Problem Solving process was described by Kepner and Tregoe in 1981 and involved nine discrete steps, as outlined in the diagram below:

Although it became widely used as a rational and systematic approach to problem solving, it did not incorporate creative thinking tools or approaches to solve more complex problems. Having used a number of different problem solving processes, I developed a novel six step Creative Problem Solving process in 1996 that combines a number of creative and analytical tools with a rational approach to problem solving. The process is summarised in the table below:

I also developed a Problem Solving Worksheet that can be used with the above six step Creative Problem Solving process. By using the approach outlined above I have found that both simple and complex problems can be resolved with minimal effort, but at the same time achieve effective and long-term solutions.

Dr John Kapeleris

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In my previous company Panbio Ltd, one of the key success factors of the company was embedding innovation across the whole organisation and not limited to the R&D Department alone. One of the initiatives that I implemented to drive innovation in the organisation was the establishment of a Creativity Club. The main objective of the creativity club was to stimulate creative thinking in individuals and encourage the use of creative thinking tools to come up with new ideas, and to solve problems in the organisation and for our customers.

The original objectives that we brainstormed at our first creativity club at Panbio are outlined below:

The format and structure of the creativity club included the following:

  1. The creativity club was open to all employees of the organisation. Everyone was invited to deliver presentations, and to share their knowledge and experiences.
  2. The creativity club was held either at lunchtime or before work (lunch and breakfast were provided which was a great attraction for employees).
  3. The agenda of each meeting consisted of the following:
    1. Ice-breaker – each participant would be asked to describe a creative experience or reading since the last meeting (those participants that could not describe a creative experience would be asked to tell a joke – right brain thinking)
    2. Formal presentation – a theme was chosen as a focus of each creativity club including: Introduction to Creative Thinking, Serendipity vs Synchronicity, Idea Management, Creativity Tools, Imagination, Innovation case studies (3M, Dupont, Lotus Corporation, Ideo etc), Creative Problem Solving, Intuition, Chaos Theory, etc
    3. Informal discussion – this session included open discussion about the specific topic presented and the practical application of the learnings from the presentation
    4. Action planning – the creativity club concluded with the recording of action plans that each participant could take back to their department or functional area and implement
  4. The creativity club was modelled on the Dupont OZ Creative Thinking Network and the Parisian Salons (creative communities) of the 1920’s. The creativity club included a number of games and puzzles to stimulate the creative juices of participants. It also provided a fun environment conducive to the sharing of knowledge and ideas that could be further developed or implemented. A database was set up within the Knowledge Management system of the organisation to capture and record the presentations, knowledge, ideas, learnings, discussions and action plans arising from the creativity club.

The creativity club at Panbio also spawned the development of Creative Problem Solving Hit Teams. These teams consisted of cross-functional team members that would work on solving problems both inside and outside the organisation. When an internal functional area or an external customer could not solve a particular problem then a Creative Problem Solving Hit Team was deployed. The cross-functional nature of the team allowed a wider range of skill-sets to be incorporated in the team, providing a diverse perspective when investigating each problem. The team included people directly involved with the problem but also people who had never been exposed to the problem. Team members were also equipped with a variety of creative problem solving tools and resources. These teams became so effective that we started to provide this service beyond our existing clients and domain areas of expertise.

Enjoy!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Six Thinking Hats

October 26th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Creativity | Ideas | Innovation | Mind - (2 Comments)

“If you wait for opportunities to occur, you will be one of the crowd”. Edward de Bono

Dr Edward de Bono introduced a simple, but powerful technique called the Six Thinking Hats[1]. The technique outlines different thinking styles that are associated with a different coloured hat. This parallel thinking approach forces each of the participants in a team meeting or focus group to adopt the particular thinking style represented by each coloured hat. By conceptualizing each type of hat, the person focuses on the style of thinking associated with each colour. For example, when wearing the RED hat a person will state what he or she feels about a particular situation. Wearing the YELLOW hat compels people to think about the positive aspects of a topic or situation, while the GREEN hat encourages people to adopt a creative thinking focus. The Six Thinking Hats encourage even the most pessimistic or negative people to think of the positive outcomes of a given situation.  By adopting the Six Thinking Hats technique in meetings or problem solving sessions, participants have found that they achieve a number of outcomes, including:

  1. Efficient meetings where meeting time is cut by one to two thirds of traditional meetings
  2. Productive meetings with solid outcomes generated from different thinking styles that can be explored further
  3. Quickly identifying alternative solutions to problems
  4. Effective thinking techniques where participants experience different perspectives using parallel thinking

A summary of each hat is outlined in the Figure below:

The key factor in successfully using the Six Thinking Hats and applying them in a practical situation is to better understand the sequence that the hats are used. The following diagram shows a typical sequence when using the Six Thinking Hats and applying them in a practical setting or meeting.

When considering a specific problem or topic it is best to start with the WHITE hat as this allows all the background information to be presented and documented. Once the problem or topic is fully defined then the RED hat is used to ask participants how they feel about the problem or situation. Participants’ feelings are documented. The general tendency for a proportion of people in a meeting, at this stage, is to present the negative aspects of the problem or situation, however in this process the next step is to use the YELLOW hat to capture the positive aspects of the problem or situation from all participants. This step is then followed with the BLACK hat when everyone considers the negative aspects of the problem or situation. The BLACK hat is then followed by the GREEN hat where everyone is encouraged to use creative thinking to overcome the negative issues but also develop new alternatives to solving the problems or resolving the situation. The RED hat is used again at this stage to gauge the feelings of participants. Generally, most participants who were previously concerned about the problem or situation would now be feeling more positive after having gone through the process of using the different hats. Finally, it is always appropriate to use the BLUE hat as this allows participants to evaluate whether the process has offered solutions or conclusions. The BLUE hat also provides process control to ensure the right technique or approach was used by participants. If a solution or resolution was not identified then another approach or process would be suggested as more appropriate in solving the problem.

Add your comments on whether you have found the Six Thinking Hats effective in your business and personal life.

Dr John Kapeleris


[1] De Bono, E. (1999) Six Thinking Hats, Back Bay Books, New York

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Innovation has been identified as the last competitive advantage available to organizations in a turbulent and hyper-competitive global market. Therefore, a number of key drivers are needed to encourage and foster innovation in organizations, including:

1. Strategy for Innovation

A clear and articulated strategy for innovation must be developed and accepted to encourage innovation across the organization. Strategy development first requires an understanding of the business and its environment, and should involve stakeholder input to ensure buy-in across the organization. Innovative companies have a clear vision and core values that encourage the pursuit of organizational objectives, including innovation initiatives.

2. Innovation Leadership throughout the Organization

Commitment and support from top management is the cornerstone of successful innovation. Management influence is necessary to overcome the barriers to successful change, which innovators often encounter. Identifying “champions” in the organization to drive the innovation agenda can make a significant difference to innovation diffusion and adoption. Innovation champions can also provide the leadership required to stimulate innovation throughout the organization. Effective change management will ensure that improvements will be easily implemented. When top management is pro-active and becomes a catalyst for change, the organization has a better opportunity to adopt an innovative culture.

3. Culture and People

Establishing a culture that is conducive to innovation requires building a work environment where trust, open communication and teamwork are the norm. A team is capable of significant achievements because individual abilities can be pooled towards achieving a common objective. The use of cross-functional teams helps break down the barriers by transcending the existing organizational structure. An environment that encourages participation, learning and fun allows new ideas to be generated and improvements implemented. Harnessing the creativity of the workforce forms a critical component of an innovative culture. Therefore, professional development of employees should include skills development in creativity tools and techniques. Other characteristics of an innovative culture include, tolerance of ambiguity, challenging the status quo, asking “Why?” and not being afraid to speak your mind.

4. Tolerance of Risk

The innovation process generally has an element of risk since any change involves uncertainty. Some organizations are risk averse and usually struggle to become innovative. Organizations that incorporate a higher level of risk tolerance in their business processes are more successful in adopting an innovative climate. The downside of risk is failure. However, “failure is not built on success: success is built on failure”. Sagacious or calculated risk taking is therefore the preferred option, because this implies that outcomes, consequences and contingencies have been considered in advance.

5. Open Communication

The existence of free and open communication channels is favourable to innovation because it provides the opportunity for ideas and information to be relayed throughout the organization. It is also important that, in addition to vertical communication, an organization maintains lateral relationships between functional areas to break down any silos. Collaborative information technology solutions, such as Microsoft Sharepoint or Lotus Notes, encourage information sharing throughout the organization and provide a repository for knowledge and ideas.

6. Flexible Operating Structures

Establishing adaptive organizational structures, which are characterized as flat, organic and cross-functional, is a key characteristic of innovative organizations. For example, 3M is a large global company that operates small autonomous cross-functional business units to encourage innovation and participation. In an organic structure job definitions are flexible, and both vertical and lateral communication flows exist. Power and authority are generally shared across team members.

7. New Ideas and Opportunities

The continuous flow and capture of new ideas provides organizations with a source of new products and services, product improvements, and novel processes that contribute to the organization’s survival and growth. Creativity is therefore an important key driver of innovation by providing new ideas and new ways to solve organizational problems. Organizations also need to adopt a formal ideas management process to capture, develop, evaluate, protect and implement ideas and suggestions, which form the foundation of new opportunities that satisfy needs and wants in the market.

If  organizations and their leaders readily embrace the concepts of innovation and successfully implement innovation strategies and processes, they would have made the first steps towards achieving growth and sustainability in the hyper-competitive global arena. Creativity is a skillset that, despite popular belief, can actually be learnt and nurtured within an organization. Senior managers and leaders need to take responsibility to foster an internal culture that recognizes and supports creativity and innovation to ensure they sustain their competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Dr John Kapeleris

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I recently attended a seminar on “Art meets Business” and the key discussion topic was that art can bring creative inspiration to business. I didn’t disagree with this statement, however, when one presenter stated that creativity is synonymous only with the arts, and that business can only access creativity through the arts, I began to challenge this belief.

Creativity is defined as the process by which individuals or groups generate or conceive new ideas, or adapt existing concepts into new principles, in order to solve problems or develop new opportunities. In addition to being a process, creativity can also be an attitude and an ability. I believe that all people can be creative; some express their creativity more than others.

Creativity is not limited to the arts or creative industries. Creativity can also be found in science, engineering and all disciplines and professions.  Being artistic, which is commonly confused with being creative (although both are not mutually exclusive), is about deliberately arranging symbolic, visual or auditory elements in a way that influences and affects senses, emotions and intellect. This could include drawing, painting, music, sculpture, literature, photography, film and drama.

It can be argued that a child being taught to play the violin is not demonstrating creativity – they are just following a technical learning process to apply music knowledge to an instrument – that is, being artistic. True expression of creativity will emerge as the child learns to adapt existing musical concepts on the violin into new improvisations – that is, being creative.

The ongoing challenge is to nurture and stimulate creative thinking and creative problem solving in our work and in our daily lives.

Following I have outlined ten ways to enhance and stimulate your creativity:

  1. Connect with people – creativity is about people, therefore you need to build your network, engage with the right mentors and join creative communities.
  2. Create the right environment – take control of your workspace and create an environment conducive to creative thinking e.g. this could involve setting up a den with a large mahogany desk, a library and a soft leather chair, or it could be a quiet and relaxing retreat to read and think quietly without interruptions
  3. Learn new creativity tools – attend seminars and workshops on creativity, and become familiar with a selection of creativity tools and techniques that you can begin to implement and use (e.g. brainstorming, mindmapping, 6 Thinking Hats, why-why-why, SCAMPER, random word, force field analysis, visualization, synectics, morphological analysis, imagination, intuition)
  4. Expand your mind through reading – read books and articles on creativity, but also references on  personal development
  5. Fun and humour – play games, solve puzzles, attend comedy shows, take up a sport, go to the park, or watch your favourite DVD movies
  6. Take up the arts – learn to draw and paint, learn to play a musical instrument, or participate in drama
  7. Travel and discovery – visit inspiring places such as the Louvre, ancient Greek locations, Tuscany, the pyramids of Egypt, or you can visit your local museum, art gallery, or relaxing holiday destination
  8. Understand the power of your subconscious – take advantage of the alpha state or the power of visualization to enhance your creative abilities
  9. Think on paper – escape from the current dominance of computers by keeping a journal, an ideas notebook, or grab a pen and paper and write down the problems you want to solve and the opportunities you want to develop
  10. Ideas into action – one of the most rewarding activities is to take the ideas you have captured, develop them further and implement them to achieve successful outcomes

Take the creative journey!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Have you ever considered at what time are you the most creative or when is your mind highly productive? For some people it is when they  just wake up in the morning or when they are about to go to sleep. Others find that they are most creative in the shower or when relaxing in the bath. I have also found that people are creative when they are driving along the highway or going for a relaxing walk. Interestingly, not many people actually state that they are most creative when at work, which could be the reason why our abilities to solve problems and create new opportunities are usually stifled by our work environments.

The key to achieving a highly creative and productive mind is to move into a relaxed state of being, that is, when your mind enters the alpha state. The alpha state occurs when your brainwaves run at about 8 to 12 cycles or hertz. It is defined as the borderline between conscious and subconscious activity – the period when we are just about to fall asleep or when we slowly and naturally wake up.

The normal conscious state of 13 to 25 hertz is called the beta state. The beta state is when we are awake as we go about our daily lives. Just below the alpha level, is the theta state which is even slower than alpha at 3.5 to 7 hertz, and an even deeper sense of relaxation. Slower still is the state of sleep which is called the delta state at 0.5 to 3.5 hertz.

By inducing the alpha state and maintaining this state for long periods without falling asleep, we can become highly creative and productive. During this heightened state of awareness the mind is clear, receptive to information, and therefore able to rapidly make connections that result in new ideas and thoughts. The mind also becomes focussed and able to solve problems almost effortlessly.

A number of methods exist that allow you to enter and remain in the alpha state of mind. Following are two of the most common methods that I have used to induce the alpha state that allows you to begin to generate new ideas, solve problems and make new connections. The best time to induce the alpha state is either early in the morning after waking up or just before you go to sleep in the evening. However, you can induce the alpha state at anytime if you can find a quiet environment without any interruptions.

Relaxation Through Breathing (Dr Benson’s Relaxation Response)

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair with feet on the floor, close your eyes and relax your body
  2. Take a deep breath and mentally focus on a single item or stimulus
  3. Continue for 5-10 minutes breathing deeply
  4. Move into a meditative state letting go of your thoughts and clearing your mind
  5. New ideas, solutions and connections will emerge (record your thoughts immediately)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  1. Relax each part of your body from the top of your head to your toes, progressively relaxing each of your muscles
  2. With your eyes closed, count backwards from 21 to 1 breathing slowly
  3. Clear your mind and relax
  4. New thoughts will begin to emerge (record your thoughts immediately)

Try the two techniques above and see what emerges. By frequently practicing the lost art of inducing the alpha state we will strengthen our ability to use our heightened state of mind and begin to generate new ideas and productive thoughts.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Intuition

May 26th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Creativity | Mind - (0 Comments)

Intuition is the ability to know or understand without conscious thought, observation or reason. It is associated with the right-brain functions of the mind, although it is commonly referred to as gut feeling. Intuition provides us with the ability to develop valid solutions to problems or make appropriate decisions beyond conscious understanding.

Intuition is a sensing function where we experience a flash of sudden insight. For example:

  • The hunch that you should investigate a new idea or opportunity
  • The feeling that you need to look over previous work or information
  • The sensing that you will meet someone you know at an upcoming function

The intuitive process can unexpectedly lead you to the right solution, a valid decision, a new discovery, a creative experience, or a new opportunity. Studies have shown that many senior executives have relied on intuition or “gut feeling” to make the right decision when their businesses have come to a defining moment in time. However, we generally do not want to admit that we use intuition to make some of our decisions and choices in life.

Philip Goldberg in his book “The Intuitive Edge” describes six types of intuition:

  1. Discovery
  2. Creativity
  3. Evaluation
  4. Operation
  5. Prediction
  6. Illumination

Intuition is central to many scientific discoveries and creative inspirations. Intuition can also be a spontaneous experience where a solution to a problem emerges in our minds without prior analysis or incubation.

It is difficult to develop our intuitive abilities, however, we can learn to become more aware of our intuition. For example, we can become more receptive to our feelings and thoughts, believe in our own abilities, and internally ” listen”  to subconscious messages.

To strengthen our intuition we can implement the following simple steps:

  1. Prepare by sourcing as much information as possible around the issue or problem you are trying to address.
  2. Incubate the information in your mind to allow your thoughts to create new connections – allow the creative process to occur.
  3. Trust your mind that it will come up with a solution or new discovery.
  4. Pursue unrelated activities or try to relax your mind, avoiding tension.
  5. Recognize intuition and the internal messages created.
  6. Act on the intuitive ideas immediately when you feel complete certainty.

Make it a great life!

Dr John Kapeleris

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The Creative Mind

May 18th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Creativity | Mind - (3 Comments)

Introduction

Creativity is the ability or aptitude by which individuals or groups generate or conceive new ideas, or adapt existing concepts into new principles. Many ideas have led to successful businesses and innovations. For example, these ideas may be a new solution to a problem, a new business model, or a new method or product concept. By stimulating the creative process within individuals, new ideas and concepts can be generated that can lead to the achievement of new innovations.

When ‘creativity’ is mentioned to people, the general perception is that creativity is associated with the ‘creative arts’ or being “artistic” such as music, painting and literature. This is not the case, as creativity is an ability that can drive competitive advantage across all disciplines, including business. The general perception of creative people is that they were born with unique creative skills. Michael Polanyi[1] and Arthur Koestler[2], who began writing on the subject of creativity in the 1950s and 1960s, further clarified and described tacit knowledge and creative thinking processes. Creativity and lateral thinking was later popularised by the likes of Dr Edward de Bono[3] and Tony Buzan[4], reinforcing that creativity was not innate but could be learned and deliberately applied to personal and business environments.

The creative process was first described by Wallas[5] back in 1926. He proposed a systematic model that usually follows a sequence of phases:

  1. Preparation: Collecting background information & focusing on the problem or opportunity
  2. Incubation: After reviewing and processing the available information you sleep on it!
  3. Illumination:  Often when least expected an idea will flash into your mind – the Eureka experience!
  4. Implementation/Verification: Develop a plan to implement the idea and test.

However, we find today that many people do not have the interest or inclination to develop their creative thinking capacity. They feel more comfortable with their analytical or logical thinking.

It is well accepted that a continuous flow of ideas provides the antecedents for innovation within an organisation, and in particular the development of new products, services and processes. Creativity plays an important role in the generation of new ideas and the identification of new opportunities. However, once ideas are generated they must be captured, screened, evaluated and finally implemented, which takes significant effort. This is reflected in the statement made by Thomas Edison that “Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

The Creative Mind

Brain research, particularly the work of Dr. Roger Sperry, has helped to explain how the brain works and provide a better understanding of differences in thinking style. The cortex of the brain has been shown to consist of two distinct hemispheres: one on the left and one on the right[6]. Figure 1 shows the difference between the two hemispheres. The left hemisphere has been associated with linear, analytical thought, the type of thinking associated with solving a mathematical problem or writing a report. This side of the brain uses logic to analyze different situations. The right hemisphere deals with creativity, intuition and non-linear information. It uses pictures and images to visualize situations and problems. By using techniques to stimulate right brain thinking, such as creativity techniques, tools and processes, a person can learn to be more creative.

Figure 1.  Comparing the Left and Right Brain Hemispheres

Source: Adapted from Hermmann, 1988

The Lost Art

When observing the behaviour of children it can be noted that they are ready to jump into any situation: to explore and discover, to touch and hold new things. Children are known to be curious as they constantly observe their immediate environment and ask intriguing questions.  They seem to have no boundaries restricting their thoughts and feel that they can achieve anything. However, as children become adults they seem to lose these special characteristics that they exhibit. This change that people undergo throughout their early life can be attributed to the conditioning that they experience at school and at home[7]. They are constantly reminded about what is right and what is wrong, they are educated in such a way that initiates the formation of boundaries and restricts their thinking patterns. It can be assumed that the conditioning stimulates the analytical or left side of the brain and suppresses the creative or right side of the brain. The level of creativity is analogous to “Children enter primary school with a set of multicoloured crayons and leave high school with a single black pen”.

Whole-brain Thinking

Whole brain thinking is important in that both the analytical and creative sides of the brain work together to help drive personal and organizational objectives. For an organization to be successful it must have a system to provide a continuous flow of ideas. Creative right brain thinking (divergent thinking) provides the means to generate ideas. Once these ideas are generated and captured they can then be evaluated using analytical left-brain techniques or convergent thinking. The screening process identifies higher value ideas that can be developed further into concepts which can be implemented in the organization. Barron and Harrington[8] argue that both divergent and convergent thinking is required in the production of any new idea.


[1] Polyanyi, M. (1966) The Tacit Dimension, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London.

 

[2] Koestler, A. (1964) The Act of Creation, Macmillan, New York

[3] De Bono, E. (1993) Lateral Thinking, Penguin Books, London

[4] Buzan, T. (1995) Use Your Head, BBC Books, London

[5] Wallas, G. (1926) The Art of Thought, Jonathon Cape, London

[6] Herrmann, N. (1988) The Creative Brain, Ned Herrmann Group, North Carolina.

[7] Ayan, J. (1997) Aha! : 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find your Great Ideas, Three Rivers Press, New York

[8] Barron, F. and Harrington, D.W. (1981) Creativity, Intelligence and Personality, Annual Review of Psychology Vol.51 pp.478-485

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Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week”. George Bernard Shaw

The human mind is one of the most powerful information processing tools on Earth. It can process enormous amounts of information per second and stores a large quantity of knowledge in the form of memory, yet we struggle to use more than 10% of its capability.

The key to unlocking the power of your mind lies within your subconscious. The subconscious mind has the ability to influence your beliefs and attitudes, and subsequently to direct your thoughts, desires and purpose.

Although studies have shown that we use less than 10% of our brains (the conscious mind), phenomenal capacity exists within the subconscious mind to achieve greater use and application. If we could tap into this power that is readily available we could achieve far greater outcomes in our personal and business life.

The subconscious mind offers a wealth of resources to transform our lives, including:

  • Positive beliefs and affirmations
  • Imagination and dreams
  • Intuition
  • Creative inspiration
  • Visualisation
  • Alpha dynamic state

In order to tap into and develop the power of your subconscious you need to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas. The infinite capability within your subconscious mind can reveal and unleash new thoughts, ideas and creativity to transform your life and capitalise on opportunities.

Your subconscious mind can provide you with new ideas and inventions, new discoveries, new works of creative expression, new thoughts and knowledge that can be applied to your personal and business world.

Within the subconscious mind you can find solutions to problems, new opportunities, hidden powers and new wisdom to achieve abundance, success, health and happiness.

In the next few blog posts I will be providing knowledge and exploring techniques,  from my personal experience, on how to tap into the power of your subconscious mind and access the other 90% capability of our brains.

Dr John Kapeleris

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