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Creativity within Risk: A puzzle.

Christopher. S. Sellers

A unique trait exclusive to #creativity is the ability to observe the same information, within the same parameters, and draw out unique solutions.

Where formal education/training is ingrained linear process and risk avoidance is high, intelligence becomes framed as; how quickly and articulately can you recite the answer we want to hear.

This handicaps us when we are required to solve complex problems, compose original work or find solutions with no predetermined response.

For example, here’s an abstract exercise.

Within the next 10 seconds complete this sequence:

A ——————> B ——————> ….. ——————> …..

For most of us, we immediately arrive at:

A ——————> B ——————> C ——————> D

Linear. Logical. Easily recognised. Low risk.

For most, this passes as a reasonable solution, though we would admit, this is neither creative or innovative.

There are other options... we could have arrived at:

A ——————> B ——————> A ——————> B

It is equally logical that the series repeats…


A ——————> B ——————> B ——————> A

It is equally logical that the series mirrors itself and bonus points for including Swedish pop music.

Then there is:

A ——————> B ——————> 1 ——————> 2

A ——————> B ——————> ——————> β

A ——————> B ——————> © ——————>

This is an abstract exercise and all outcomes are viable solutions.

The point is, due to our natural bias to avoid risk, we are more likely to provide and prefer the original sequence.

A ——————> B ——————> C ——————> D

It is not any more correct.

It is not any more logical.

We prefer it only because it presents the lowest amount of risk.

We bludgeon multiple solutions, all equally viable, in favour of only one.

This passive bias of risk aversion is a factor all creativity and innovation encounters, and generally speaking, the higher the anxiety/chaos/uncertainty, the greater resistance to creativity and innovation.

As demonstrated above, creativity has the ability to observe the same information within the same parameters and draw out unique solutions - this resistance is something organisations should seek to be aware of, as times of disruption allow for innovation to capitalise.

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To learn more about solutions I design, leaders I coach and creative teams I work with, view my services here.


Christopher. S. Sellers is an Expert on Creativity + Innovation

Founder + Director of Black Bulb Creative


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