A new paper published by the Intergenerational Foundation this week states that student tuition fees are economically inefficient. The press release for the paper states:
A new paper published today challenges the current funding system in higher education, calling it “economically inefficient”. In the paper, Dr Kevin Albertson, Professor of Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University, points out that the public benefits of a young person’s getting a higher education qualification more than outweigh the costs, according to the government’s published figures.
The paper uses an alternative way of thinking about the economics and is a very good example of how creative or alternative thinking can be used to solve problems and change the status quo.
Procrastination is usually characterised as a negative habit but this is not necessarily so. If you are working to a tight deadline, trying to complete an assignment or aiming for a difficult goal, procrastination will almost certainly delay successful completion.
Here we need a little reflection and to be honest with ourselves (and possibly our colleagues at work). If I delay because I am lazy then I should recognise this and take some action to ensure that I correct this behaviour. But in the world of creativity and innovation we sometimes hang fire completing something, and make several iterations in order to try and make sure that we deliver the best solution possible. This is one of the golden rules of creative thinking ‘cycle often, close late’.
Procrastinating can only help you to improve an outcome when the (tangible) benefits of delay outweigh the risks of hasty progress. In such cases, procrastination allows time for reflection and learning and to incorporate our learning into current rather than future work.
We must therefore learn to procrastinate strategically to avoid threats (or minimise risks), become more innovative, and discover original and creative solutions to our problems. Why not build in a little ‘procrastination time’ into your project plans?
Here is just one example of a famous procrastinator, Leonardo Da Vinci. Researchers estimate that he painted the Mona Lisa in fits and starts over a period of several years, starting in 1503, and not completed until just before his death in 1519. Critics said he wasted his time on various experiments and other distracting activities that prevented his paintings from being completed earlier. Did he in fact make use of any of these lessons in his works before he died? What would the Mona Lisa have been like if it had been completed in say 1504?
Do you have some of those negative people in your business who just suck the life out of you? If you are self employed maybe you are surrounded by some. What do you do about them?
I spent some time talking to individuals who provide coaching and their take on it was to simply ignore these people. This could work if you work on your own and can make that choice but what about those people who work in organisations?
Negativity, like positivity is a resource that can be used so why ignore or waste it? Lets actively make use of it. But how?
There are a number of creative or alternative techniques that can be used to harness negative energy which I will not go into here, however the fundamental principle is the same. Even the most positive of us have a negative streak so let s first of all use this to create something. Maybe it is a whole heap of ideas or a story. As long as there is some sort of mapping between our negative output and something positive in the real world.
So why is this good? First of all, you will get a lot of output! Secondly when we generate ideas we find it easy to judge them. You will have noticed many comments such as ‘that won’t work’ or ‘we can’t afford that’. If what you are producing is in fact negative, the mood hoovers will find it very difficult to judge!
Most, if not all of us have either a ﬁxed way of doing things or a ﬁxed way of thinking about things. These ﬁxed patterns are known as mindsets and they can severely limit our actions in both business and private life. Imagine that you take the same route each day when you walk to your place of work. Each day you buy the same newspaper and the same sandwich for lunch. Over time you begin to get a little fed up with your choice of sandwich and the newspaper does not seem to engage you as it once did.
Is there such a thing as a creative type (other than one who holds a paintbrush or who gets covered in glue)? Here are just a few traits that might help you a) identify potentially creative people b) determine whether you are creative or not yourself. Note that these ‘tests’ are designed for the workplace and not to test your painting or photography skills.
Creative people share many of the following traits, they are likely to:
be able to live with a high degree of uncertainty
thrive on novelty
be tolerant of ambiguity
be open to alternatives
have a well developed sense of humour
use hunches and instinct to make decisions
be curious and observant
have multiple interests
constantly expose themselves to new ideas and experiences
be deeply committed to what they do
constantly share ideas and information with colleagues (well anyone who will listen actually)
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