Newsweek published a feature entitled “The Creativity Crisis” which laments the decreasing creativity of children in America. It’s a fascinating read. Among their suggestions to increase creativity is a somewhat counter-intuitive approach:
Don’t tell someone to ‘be creative.’ Such an instruction may just cause people to freeze up. However, according to the University of Georgia’s Mark Runco, there is a suggestion that works: “Do something only you would come up with-that none of your friends or family would think of.” When Runco gives this advice in experiments, he sees the number of creative responses double.
There you have it. Want someone to be creative? Tell them not to be.