Creativity is in every profession whether you are a painter or a data analysts. It is creativity that leads to innovative solutions to problems from new products to improved spreadsheets. Developing your creativity to improve your innovative thinking is paramount in business (refer to my post Required Skills for Solving Problems in the Jetson-Age).
Once you realize and accept that creativity can be found anywhere, you start to see its application in unusual places. This past week, I watched one of my favorite shows, The Great British Baking Show, and was amazed at the different applications of creativity. I was not surprised to see creativity at work because the people bake works of art on every show. The part that grabbed my attention were the way that creativity was applied to the baking. I recognized several of techniques that I teach to help people develop their creativity in business.
Here are the creativity lessons you can learn from The Great British Baking Show:
Use all your senses
The obvious sense that bakers need to use is taste. They taste the recipe to adjust flavor. In addition to taste, the contestants use their nose and their eyes to judge if a mixture is correct. While mixing dough or testing a baked cake for springiness, they use touch. Finally, they listen for a hollow sound when thumping the bottom of a freshly baked loaf of bread to make sure it is cook thoroughly. By using all their senses, the bakers can create, adjust, and perfect their creations without the need to follow a step-by-step recipe. Using all your senses is a great skill to develop in order to fully integrate with your surroundings. You are better able to judge when you need to react and adjust.
The contestants on the show are judged on the appearance of the baked goods as well as the taste. To impress the judges, they often incorporate novelty in the design of the creations. Bakers have created windmills, working gears, black forests, and peacocks to present the wow factor. Using novelty to standout and generate interest is a common technique in business. For example, restaurants use kids’ meals, retail has eye-catching displays, and all types of businesses use commercials with catchy music, memorable mascots, and memorable slogans. These are all methods of incorporating novelty.
Make unusual connections
One of the things that draws me to this show is the unusual flavor combinations that the contestants devise. Combining chili powder in a dessert to give it a kick would never have occurred to me, but it sounds (and from the reactions of the judges, tastes) delicious. Sometimes unusual flavor combinations are a hit, and sometimes they are a disaster. However, it is the creative genius to think of them and the courage to try them that is key. When they work it is a baking masterpiece that is new and exciting and memorable. Making unusual connections in business is a great way to take something that exists and make it new.
Fail … Like a Genius™
In every challenge, on every show there is at least one major failure. Someone’s cake doesn’t rise, someone doesn’t leave enough time to decorate, or someone’s pie has a soggy bottom. The amazing thing about the contestants is that they quickly identify what went wrong and adjust to avoid having it happen again. This is failing like a genius. They failed the challenge. They identified the problem. They listen to the judges’ criticism and advice. Then they make adjustments to improve in the next challenge. The people that are the best at failing like a genius are the ones that remain on the show the longest. They are the ones that win. I have never watched a season of the show where everyone did not fail at least one time. Failing like a genius is applicable in everything – work, family, and hobbies. You are going to make mistakes, and to succeed you need to learn from them and keep going.
Deal with constraints
It would not be an exciting show if the contest was not challenging. The contestants are not only expected to bake beautiful, exciting, and delicious food. They are also expected to deal with and overcome many constraints. The challenges include time constraints, ingredient constraints, and design constraints. Sometimes the bakers also must deal with the constraint of baking with an incomplete or vague recipe. The contestants that quickly adapt to the constraints either by overcoming them or by using them as opportunities are the ones that do best in the challenges. This is the same in business. In every job, there are constraints such as deadlines, budgets, and difficult clients. Successful business people are the ones that do not allow the constraints to hinder their work.
Give the show a watch and see what creative techniques you notice. Try the creative techniques in your life to see how they can help you be more innovative. If you have a team that needs to fuel their creativity, contact us and ask how BrainSpark can help.