Creative quotient

creative quotient | Velites: implementation, interaction & leadership

Creative quotient

You might have done an IQ or EQ-test before, to measure your human or emotional intelligence. But, did you ever hear of the CQ-test? Next to the cultural quotient, this abbreviation is also used to measure your creativity, expressiveness and applied innovation: your creative quotient.

What is creativity?

Professor Romey describes creativity as: “the ability to combine ideas, things, techniques, or approaches in a new way.” It is about a new combination of existing concepts. The idea itself doesn’t have to be revolutionary, but they should be new for the thinker, according to Marwaha. Creativity is all about pulling existing knowledge into a new situation, where the creator quickly sorts through potential outcomes. 

In his essay ‘What is your creative quotient’ Romey explains the four main stages of the creative process:

  1. The creative process starts with a period of mental labor and deep involvement in a problem;
  2. The next stage is the incubation period. During this period  we drop the idea for a while to see if anything will hatch;
  3. The third stage is the period of illumination, also called the ‘Ah-ha!’ period;
  4. The last stage is a period of elaboration and refinement of an idea.

Why is creativity important?

When you learn new things by using your creativity studies show that you retain conceptual and factual information longer. It also helps you to acquire certain behavioral patterns and skills that will help you to solve problems. You might link creativity to ‘out-of-the-box thinking’. Here you can find new solutions for a problem by combining existing concepts as well.  Creative thinking helps you to generate answers to problems.

Creativity and leadership

We often associate creativity with people in artistic professions. Think about writers, dancers, painters or musicians. However, in today’s world it is increasingly important for organizations to rely on creative thinking. This in order to be able to distinguish themselves from competition, for example.

IBM interviewed in 2010 more than 1500 CEO’s from 60 countries for a global CEO study. One of the questions in the survey was: what’s the most important quality for leadership? The answer was: creativity. Creativity is key as creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, invent new business models, and are able to change the status quo. Even though the research was done in 2010, global CEO-studies keep on repeating the importance of creativity for leaders.

How do you measure creativity?

Creativity is measured via a CQ-test (creative quotient). There are different tests. All of them do exists out of questions where you have to think about what you can see in a picture, how words are related to each other and so on. Based on your outcome you’ll fall into one of the categories from very creative to not creative at all. Personally, I did the CQ-test via www.testmycreativity.com. I like this test as it not only gives you a score, but also the foundation of your score. This is based on 8 different metrics: abstraction, connection, perspective, curiosity, boldness, paradox, complexity, and persistence. Compared to a test where you are only being put in a box, this outcome gives you a lot more information.

How to improve your creative quotient?

Creativity is something that you can learn and develop through effort and experience. Creativity is a process. It is not about who we are, but about something we do, and there is a huge range of tools and techniques that you can use to develop your skills, according to Dr. Stewart, head of leadership and organization performance at Kaplan University.

To develop your creative problem-solving skills you can focus on three major areas of expertise: multidisciplinary collaboration, human-centered design, and a culture of experimentation. With multidisciplinary collaboration you’ll get new perspectives due to the unique background, knowledge and skills of each individuals. With human-centered design you put the end-user first when designing products, services or policies. It helps to understand your customer and get rid of assumptions, blocking us in our creativity. When you create a culture of experimentation you will give the floor to your creative mindset. Rapid prototyping, brainstorming and so on are part of this culture. It helps you as well to get creative confidence. And it is required to invite disruptive innovations, invent new business models, and alter the status quo.

Five ways to train your right-brain

left vs. right brain

5 ways to train your right-brain

Daniel Pink wrote in his book A Whole New Mind about the rise of the right-brainers. Originally the left-brainers were needed in companies. People who could easily understand spreadsheets, think in words and are good in mathematics and so on. Many MBA’s and leadership programs are based on left-brain skills. However, these left-brain skills become more and more redundant as they can easily be automated or outsourced in today’s world. Instead, people with imagination, intuition, visualization and empathy are becoming more crucial players within companies. So, time to start to reactivate your right brain. Here are five tips.

1. Daydream

You most probably daydream some now and then, but feel immediately guilty, unproductive and irresponsible. However, if you aim for positive constructive daydreaming you give your focused attention a break and allow yourself to realize things about the future. Next to that, daydreaming has the potential to improve your creativity: a right-brain activity. It is not a total downtime. If you do something low-key, on your automatic pilot, you will be able to start wandering.

2. Draw

Don’t let you stop by your limiting beliefs. Everybody can draw. We attend to say that we cannot draw because we are too much led by our left brain. If I draw something it has to look in a way I can put a label on it, it should be something ‘real’. Betty Edwards developed in the late 60s a method called drawing on the right side of the brain. One of the exercises which help you to draw from your right brain starts with crunching up a piece of paper. When done, you start to look at the crunched-up paper and starts to follow the lines of it and draw it, without looking at your pencil. You will only focus on the lines of the crunched paper, follow those and draw it. The outcome most probably won’t look like the crunched-up paper, but this is all about the process of using your right brain.

 3. Laugh

There is a specific psychological study of laughter, called gelotology. Research in this area showed that during laughing both the left-side and the right-side of our brain are in action. Or left-side will help us to analyze the words and structure of the joke. Our right-brain carries out the intellectual analysis so you will be able to “get” the joke. In his book ‘The left brain speaks, the right brain laughs’ Stephens confirms this as well. You can laugh more by adding it to your daily routine. For example, buy a calendar with jokes, so you start your day with laughter. Another method is to smile more often. Even though smiling is not laughing, you can use it as a warming up for laughing. Reading a funny book, watching a funny TV-program or following funny people online will help you as well to laugh more often and train your right-brain.

4. Play

We’ve discussed already the importance of play in our article about playful learning. When we are young play if just common sense, but becomes less of importance as we’re getting older. If you don’t like games, you are still able to play. Think about playing at a piano or guitar. Or think about playful learning where gaming elements are used.

5. Start to look differently

Seeing the surrounding space instead of the item is an important way to train your right-brain. In the exercise ‘Connect the dots’ you have to identify something on the left side of your field of vision and something on the right side. Now start to move your eyes back and forth between the two. This will help you to integrate both sides of the brain.

Start now!

Now you have five tips on how to reactivate and train your right brain. These activities will help you to become ready for the conceptual age where there is more focus on our right-brain. Which activities are you already doing? Which not? How well is your right-brain established?

Right-brain leadership

Right brain leadership | Velites blog about implementation, interaction & leadership

Right-brain leadership

Traditional leadership is mainly focused on our left-brain. This part of our brain is responsible for our logic, rational thinking, analytical skills, and focuses on order, details and numbers. However, our left-brain activities our more and more taken over by computers and robots. So, in order to be ready for the future we need to re-activate our right-brain: the part of our brain that is responsible for emotions, music, rhythm, dimensions, fantasy and play. But, how?

A Whole New Mind

One of the big promoters of right-brainers is Daniel H. Pink, who wrote in his book ‘A whole new mind’ why right-brainers will rule the future. The 20th century was based on knowledge workers. It was the Information Age where the left-brain thinking was key. However, because of automation and outsourcing a lot of these left-brain activities become abundant, which indicates we’re moving into a new age. Pinks calls the 21st century the Conceptual Age, where creators and empathizers are the main characters in society.

Home Ludens

Pink introduces six essential right-brain senses that are required by our new era. One of the senses he describes is Play. As Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic, says: “Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society – our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.” In his famous work about the importance of play in our society and culture, Huizinga suggests that play is required in order to be able to build a civilization and culture. He describes in his book characteristics of play like:

  • an expression of someone’s freedom;
  • something outside the ordinary life;
  • having a magic circle where you can experiment;
  • and, providing order by the rules of the game.

 Gamification and ludodidactics

You might have heard about gamification. Renger and Hoogendoorn describe this phenomenon in their book ‘Ludodidactiek’ as: adding parts of a game to something that does exist already, to make it more attractive. Think about high scores, badges and other awards that you can achieve. The game elements stand on their own. They don’t interact with any content, they are just being added to existing content. Think, in this case about a math test where instead of doing your own test and get your own result, your results are being shown on a leaderboard so you can ‘compete’ with others.

Ludodidactics – sometimes called serious gaming – goes further. In this case a program is developed around certain behavior you want to accomplish. By designing the program all elements of game design are considered, but, different than gamification, in ludodidactics:

  • the parts of a game are interacting with the content;
  • gaming tools don’t stand on their own;
  • extrinsic motivation shifts towards intrinsic motivation;
  • we increase the retention ratio of something you’ve learned during a program;
  • and, it is about game-based learning: the aim of the game needs to fit the things you want to teach the players.

David Shaffer is a pioneer in applying games in education. He is talking about serious games that are much more than a nicer version of a test. You can upgrade a test with things like badges, high-scores, etc. as much as you want, but at the end it is still a test. Shaffer compares this with “chocolate covered broccoli”, more related to gamification. To design towards the desired behavior in serious gaming, or ludodidactics, is therefore really important and prevents it from becoming “chocolate covered broccoli”.

Lean Forward

So, play helps to develop your right-brain and ludodidactics can actually change your behavior by using game design. Playing games is one of the things you can start with to re-activate your right-brain, but Pink mentioned as well that joining a laughter club helps. I think the most important thing is that it is based on a lean forward principle, meaning you are able to influence the progress of something. This can be a painting you’re working on, a book you’re writing or a serious game you’re playing. These are examples to re-activate your right-brain, necessary in our 21st century.

Celebrations

Time to celebrate | Velites blog about implementation, interaction & leadership

Don’t forget September 19

We celebrate many things: Christmas, a marriage, when a baby is born or when we graduate from school. Special days are marked in our calendars so we won’t forget. September 19th will be such a special day. Not only because it’s my birthday, but also because we’ll launch the Velites Online Leadership Program.

Advantages of celebrations

Celebrating is from all times and has many benefits. The advantages are universal and can come from small celebrations or big parties. When you celebrate as one country when the soccer team wins the soccer World Cup, you’ll see a sense of unity but also people being proud. Celebrations make us feel good, happy and relaxed (not considered the stressful day before your birthday doing grocery shopping etc.). It even helps your physical and mental health.

Why we celebrate

From a philosophical point of view, there is more than only the benefits that we’ve just discussed. Philosopher Hannah Ahrendt talks in her book The Human Condition about the artificial agreement. In a short video, Boris van der Halm does relate her theory to the celebration of holidays. In fact, the celebration of holidays helps us to keep our promises and helps us in our sense of security.

The grounded idea of celebrating life is grounded in an individual’s self-concept. Our life is a journey where we face moments of pain and moments of happiness. Special occasions are milestones along this journey. It gives chances to stop and reflect on our life as a whole. A birthday is not just a party, it shows that someone does matter.

How we celebrate

We can give a big party, but also keep it small. At work we do celebrate big achievements, like a record revenue month or the 100-year existence of the company. We can buy a cake for the department or send a personal note to each and every team member. The personal touch is important for me and it gives the other person the biggest feeling of being someone who does matter. I remember that I wrote for all team members a poem for Sinterklaas, a tradition in The Netherlands. It took me quite some time to write them all, personal based, but the appreciation couldn’t be bigger for the team. With birthdays of team members it was somewhat different. Depending on the person I kept it small or big. But a personal message was the least I could do to wish somebody a good new year full of good health, happiness and love.

September 19

So back to the 19th of September. Why is this a day to remember? Like I said, it is the start date of the Velites Online Leadership Program and my birthday. But it is more than that, and that’s also one of the reasons why this is our starting date of the program. September 19th is the blood miracle of Januarius from Naples takes place. Januarius from Naples was the second bishop of Benevento in Italy and was burned and tortured during the Christian persecutions. Every year on the 19th of September the solidified blood becomes liquid. Solidified blood turning into liquid is a for me a sign of change, a sign of life, a sign of a new start and a sign of that nothing is what it looks like. If you look at the way how the Velites worked in the Roman army you see a lot of similarities.

Ready to join?

The Velites Online Leadership Program is developed in a way that you have to apply what you’ve learned into practice in order to proceed and succeed. Via workbooks, leadership videos, Q&A-sessions and so on, you get the leadership basics. But the implementation takes place via playful learning: one of the best learning methods. The program takes 6 months and is specifically designed for current and future leaders. So, are you ready to join? Register now via our webpage and celebrate with us together our go live date: September 19.

More than words

More than words - Velites blog about interaction, implementation & leadership

More than words

People who are travelling are open to discover new places and communities and are open for new experiences. But what if you’re abroad in a country where they don’t speak your language? We start using our hands and feet to book an excursion, buy a ticket or reserve a table for dinner in the restaurant. Because at the end, we can communicate via much more ways than only using words.

Linguistic diversity

There are quite some different languages. We talk about the language of love, og sign, of our body, about spoken and written languages. Via all these different languages we are able to communicate with each other. Often our words doesn’t stand on its own. When we are talking to a colleague, we use words to express ourselves, but body language and context play a role as well. When you are saying something very enthusiastic, the other perceives the message differently compared to when you’re sitting laid back in your chair. Having a talk with your colleague in the canteen is different from a talk with your director. The contact can influence the way of communicating.

Interaction

Without language there is no interaction. A reaction cannot take place without language, no matter in which form: using your hands and feet, sending a text message or having a face to face talk. The sender does expect a reaction from the receiver. This can be a message back, a feeling that arises at the receiver or an action taken by the receiver. A red traffic light would expect that the receiver will stop. A green traffic light will expect the receiver will drive through.

The influence of language to others

The way language is being used does influence others. Are you happy when your manager looks all the time busy and doesn’t have time for you? What if you’re talking at home with your partner about a bad day at work, but he or she seems to be somewhere else, not listening? How does it feel? You would feel being useless, not being understood. But it can work out positively as well. How does it feel when you’re coming back home after a busy day at work and your partner bought a beautiful bouquet for you? Or how does it feel when you receive a postcard from your friend, just because he or she was thinking about you? Or what if your manager invites you for a cup of coffee, just for a small talk? You’ll get a positive feeling, a feeling that you’re useful and that you do matter.

The influence of language to yourself

The sender does influence the receiver by the way how language is being used. But language can influence the sender itself as well, according to Amy Cuddy. When you see the Ted Talk you’ll get that body language does not only influence others, but influences ourselves as well. There is a correlation between the way how you use your body and the level of testosterone and cortisol in our brain. When you make yourself big, you’ll become more certain about yourself and the situation. And the other way around: when you make yourself small, you’ll feel less confident.

The universal language

Body language seems to be universal, but this is not the case. In one country raising your thumb is something good, while in other countries this doesn’t have to be the same. Looking in someone’s eyes during a conversation is well perceived in some countries, while in others it’s perceived as disrespectful. Word, symbols and body language can be interpreted in different ways. However, we do have one world language that we all know very well: the language of pictures. In his Ted Talk, Christoph Nieman explains that wherever you are, pictures are being read the same. The picture itself doesn’t have to tell us everything. We add the missing elements ourselves, based on our interaction with the picture and the questions we raise. This is how the dialogue starts.

Interaction and communication without words

How often did you receive a text message or email that was received differently compared to how it was meant? How often did you proof that you don’t have to speak the same language to communicate with each other? What is the value of the written and spoken word if our universal language is based on pictures? Do we need to start communicating in pictures from now on instead of the written and spoken word? No. Frida Steurs wrote in her book ‘Language is business’ about the economic value of the written and spoken word. With this skill, we are able to describe and transfer very complex processes. And to develop and share knowledge we need the written and spoken word as well.

But instead of only focusing on these ways of language I propose to start looking at the other languages and start to apply this in our interactions. Do you want to learn more about interaction? Join our Velites Online Leadership Program.

The first time

For the first time | Velites blog about implementation, interaction & leadership

The first time

We’re busy with the renovation of our old farm. This time we’re working on the open barn. Not scheduled, but necessary as the tiles were coming down through the broken roof. We are doing everything ourselves and a lot of things for the first time. Scrapping a brick wall, strengthen another wall and learning how to build it up again: all kinds of things that come with the renovation. Every day we learn something new. How often do you learn new things?

A feeling of victory

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Do you remember when you did your first online sale, when you drove a car for the very first time, or when you had to do a first presentation at school? Was it exciting, or did you feel scared? And how does it feel when you succeed to learn and do a new thing? For me, it’s a feeling of victory, every time I learn something I didn’t know or couldn’t do before. And I have the same feeling when I can teach somebody else, something he or she didn’t know or couldn’t do yet.

Everybody can learn everything

To learn new things is really easy nowadays. Do you want to know how to knit? Just watch a few YouTube tutorials and start. Do you want to build your own website? Check several blogs and start. It doesn’t matter what you already know or not: everybody can learn everything. And that’s what I believe as well. Maybe at gymnastics somebody is better than another person, but with the right amount of time for training everybody should be able to do gymnastics. You won’t become anyone like Epke Zonderland, a famous Dutch gymnast, but you should be able to do a head roll after a few times of practicing.

At work

Also, at work we learn new things all the time. Maybe even without us noticing it. Think about a new system that is being implemented. That makes that you’ve to learn new things. And what will you do in this situation? Would you go to an expert who can explain the system to you? Don’t you act at all, as the old system is still working perfectly? Or will you do the research yourself? How do you discover new things?

Preparation

I love to do research myself and spend a lot of time in preparation. The preparation phase is the most important phase of learning new things. When I want to do gymnastics and be able to do a head roll, I will watch videos to check on the technique. When I want to know a new system, I’ll make sure I’m part of a testing pool. And when I need to stabilize a wall, I search on YouTube for instructional videos or ask a befriended bricklayer for advice.

Just do it

Will you always succeed? No, definitely not. Preparation is one, but to put things into action is something else. The main lesson here is: don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t think after watching a couple of YouTube videos that you’ll become the best bricklayer ever. And don’t think after joining a test panel that you will understand the new system completely. But if you don’t put anything into action, you won’t learn new things. As Michelle Obama said: “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”. So, join us in the Velites Online Leadership Program and learn based on the principles of playful learning a new way of putting things into practice. Do you want to achieve new heights in leadership growth? Apply now for our program via this link.

Leadership age

How old is a leader? - Velites blog about implementation, interaction and leadership

Legal leadership age

There is a law in place to determine the minimum drinking age, the minimal smoking age, the minimum age to gamble, to get married and to drive a car. But at what age are you ready to become a leader?

Born or made?

In the first place we have to see what is needed in order to become a leader, which lead us to the discussion if leaders are born or made. There is much research done on this topic and still a lot of different views. The one which fits me the most is the combination of both: leaders are born and then made. There are certain people who naturally have the ambition to inspire others, who have a clear vision, who can talk really easily and who are not afraid of changes. But leadership training and real-life experience will help you to grow into that role.

Leadership skills

Secondly, we have to investigate which skills are critical for a leader. In that way we can determine at what age you can learn these skills. Roselinde Torres provides in her TED Talk three questions to answer to determine if you are a great leader in the 21st century. The first one is the questions how your agenda is set, to determine if you’re shaping the future and anticipate change or not. The second one is about the diversity of your network: do people, who completely differ from yourself, trust you and want to cooperate with you to reach certain goals? And lastly, are you courageous enough to abandon the past. Are you instead of applying the same method over and over again, thinking about ways to get is done differently? Looking at these three questions you might have learned this during school at a young age. But I believe, but the more you practice, the better you’ll become.

3 generations on the work floor

A leader needs its followers in order to have an impact and get things moving. You might have seen the video about how movement starts. In the dancing scene you see one person starting, a second one steps by and at the end a whole group is dancing. But with three generations on the work floor you might wonder if there are enough people to be the first follower. Are they in for a new challenge, but more importantly: do they trust you enough to decide they’ll cooperate and follow?

Young leader disadvantage

Research has shown that it is harder for leaders under 40 years old to get followers and being accepted as a leader by other employees. This compared to leaders that are older. Reason for this is because other people think there is a lack of expertise and status due to a younger age. Expertise and status is something that comes along during your life. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to be a leader at a young age.

Leadership age

One of our youngest world leader is 33 years old and founders of Spotify, Airbnb and Facebook are all less than 35 years old. But same time we see a lot of CEO-positions filled by people over 50 years old. Is the older CEO doing it better due to more life-experience? Or might the younger CEO in fact has the same experiences done in a shorter time-frame? One thing to take into consideration is as well your real age and how old someone does really feel. And someone who has young looks, but in fact is much older. In the end it falls back on expertise and status. Expertise you can learn, status you can deserve, no matter how old you are.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning: Velites insights in implementation, interaction and leadership

Lifelong learning

When I studied in Amsterdam I was fascinated by a lady of 78 years old who worked in front of our class on her master degree in law. She didn’t have to work anymore and she didn’t have to prove herself any longer. But still she wanted to obtain her master degree in law. Just out of curiosity and her internal motivation to explore.  Continue reading “Lifelong learning”