Unleashing Creativity

Unleash Your Originality – A Hiebing Book Report

July 22, 2016by Becca Vollmer

What does it mean to be an original? When should you follow the status quo or go against the grain? How can you better champion originality in others? These were just a few of the questions our team tried to answer during my presentation of Adam Grant’s book Originals

So how can you unleash your originality? Here are some top takeaways from Originals:

1. You don’t have to be first to be an original. As Grant puts it, “Most successful originals don’t always arrive on schedule: They are fashionably late to the party.” While being a pioneer of new ideas is fantastic, it’s also okay to be someone who waits and watches for the right opportunity to move forward with an interesting idea.

2. Find the fault in default. It’s easy to forget that people created the rules and systems we all follow. If you’re dissatisfied with the way something is, seek out a better way of doing things. Don’t rationalize the status quo as legitimate and something that can never be challenged.

3. Get excited. Fear of speaking up for an original idea can be tough to overcome. No matter what you do, you’re going to be experiencing a lot of emotion. Instead of letting fear cripple your confidence, reframe your fear as excitement or another positive emotion that propels you to step on the gas and move forward.

While procrastinating often has a negative connotation, Grant stresses that strategic procrastinators never skip planning and must be motivated to solve a problem in order for this method of thinking to work.

4. Strategic procrastination. Would you believe procrastination can fuel creativity? It can. When you take breaks from a project, you’re more likely to come back to it with fresh insights and solutions that you wouldn’t have had if you tried to complete a project in one sitting.

At Hiebing, we have exercises in place like “yes, and” that empower us all to share any and all ideas that come to mind so that members of our team have the chance to see the potential and build upon ideas.

5. Come up with more ideas. It may seem like a given, but the more ideas you come up with, the more likely you are to land on a great one. Stanford professor Robert Sutton beautifully illustrates this point when he says, “Come up with many ideas that are strange mutations, dead ends and utter failures. The cost is worthwhile because they also generate a larger pool of ideas—especially novel ideas.”

6. Balance your risk portfolio. Championing an original idea can feel like risky business, but it doesn’t have to. If you have a great idea, consider making “safer” decisions in other areas of your work to give you the sense of security you need to be original in another.

7. Speak up. At one point or another most of us have probably told ourselves, “if this were a good idea, someone would have done it already.” Don’t let the fear of speaking up silence you. We all have a voice, and with the help of others in the room a simple idea can quickly rise to be a remarkable idea. Train yourself to have the confidence to speak up and share your opinions.

8. Outsource inspiration. Just because you have an original idea doesn’t mean you’re the best person to present it. Your audience may be more inspired by an idea if a leader presents it and a person who aligns with the idea—a customer, for example—brings the idea to life by sharing how it will affect them.

9. Get feedback. Opening the door to feedback from others will not only improve your ideas, but also promote open communication that encourages others to speak up if they have suggestions for making something better. Work starts and ends with the target, so it’s important to take every opportunity you have to gather feedback from your colleagues and target audience.

You are capable of having and sharing original ideas. With practice, you can become more confident in unleashing your own originality and as well as fostering it in those around you. After all, original ideas are often a team effort.

Book reports are one of the many ways we at Hiebing stay curious and hungry for knowledge that betters our work and ourselves. Check back to read about our next book report.

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