To be creative is to be in an”open mode” – How to enhance creativity in groups

British actor and comedian John Cleese wants you to be more creative. He also wants you to understand that creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of life.

In this impassioned speech that’s making its way around social media, Cleese provides an argument for building a creative life and organization that aligns nicely with current research and trends on the subject.

What do we know so far?

  1. Everyone has the ability to be creative
  2. Creativity is unrelated to IQ
  3. There is an optimal way of operating that we can adopt to enhance our capacity for creativity.

Says Cleese, key to that optimal mode is openness.

The opposite of an open mode, is a closed one – and Cleese argues creativity is not possible in this closed mode.

Instead, when we operate from a place of openness, we are relaxed, expansive, contemplative,  curious, and more inclined to humor and curiosity – without as much pressure to get a specific thing done quickly. This sort of relaxed state promotes creativity (just ask Jonah Lehrer).

We as leaders have the ability to promote a certain mood and mindset that allows creativity to flourish – and with that comes an understanding of how to manage with creativity in mind. 

To get into that open mode, we need:

  1. Space
  2. Time
  3. Confidence
  4. Humor

When we mix all of these factors together – we have the ability to play, to be childlike, to not have the fear of making a mistake , to experiment – and an openness to anything that happens.

We cannot create from a place of fear.

The creativity that comes from an Improvisation ensemble is the result of an open mode. Here, we risk saying things are illogical and wrong because we know that part of being creative means nothing is truly wrong. We know mistakes are gifts, an offer or idea might lead to a breakthrough, trust is imperative, and positivity and building on ideas creates the free-est of possible atmospheres.

Cultivating a creative atmosphere for your team starts with your mindset. What can you do to promote one of openness?

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