Creative Intelligence – Be More Creative – CQ

creative intelligence, creativity, business, brain, design, inspirationDo you want to be more creative? What is your creative intelligence? How do you test it? How to you improve your creativity?

As information becomes more easily available and computers are doing more of our thinking for us the ability to remember facts is becoming less important, while the ability to think creatively continues to  be an important asset. What distinguishes great minds is the creative ability to think on your toes and look at problems with a different perspective to figure out innovative solutions. This is Creative IQ.


Creative Intelligence


In his book Creative Intelligence – Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire, Bruce Nussbaum explores a number of concepts related to ingenuity and creativity to display how they have assisted individuals and businesses to create innovative ideas. He attempts to crack the code of imagination by deconstructing the key principals to find the qualities or circumstances that bring forth creativity. A central idea in the book is that imagination is not an inherited quality people are born with and either possess or don’t. It is a quality and ability that can be learned, nurtured, practiced, and even mastered.


People from different fields, be it science or art, rate creativity in different ways, so there are many types of ingenuity. Originality is brought on by environment. Nussbaum talks about Florence Italy, in the Renaissance, and how it attracted and created many great artists. A big contributor to this was social factors. At the time, in Florence it was popular for art patrons to fund artists, which attracted the best artists in the region. With many great artists in the same vicinity they learned from and challenged each other. This close social bond can be seen in many other times and locations to the close groups of writers in the 30s, the Seattle Grunge Scene in the early 90s, to even the new comic teams of the Judd Apovok crew. Nussbaum states, “What makes for a great creative team? Whether it’s musicians, improv acts, or business teams, there are three elements to creative teams: Trust, familiarity, and a shared commitment to the same goals” (page 26).


If you want creative ideas why not just Brainstorm? Research shows brainstorming doesn’t work – as people will usually hold back their best ideas in a group. Great thinking often results from a deep knowledge of the topic and expertise, as opposed to an explosion of scattered thoughts (page 30).


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The Five Parts of Creative Intelligence


Knowledge Mining


Knowledge mining is diving deep into a topic and having the ability to connect information from a variety of sources into new, creative ways. Mash –ups are a great example of connecting other ideas and sources in new ways. This method is similar to connecting thoughts just as a child will connect dots in a book. Throughout our lives we process vast amounts of information. Learning new skills and knowledge provides a base for these connecting ideas. These connections may seem to have nothing to do with each other, but could turn into the inspiration or spark a completely different idea. The key is to become an expert in your chosen field, but actively learn about other topics that interest you.


Look to the past for ideas. The old cliché of history repeats itself is not wrong. Look to the past for ideas that have been successful; change them, and adapt them with new technology. Have a deep knowledge shows you where your area of expertise has been, where it is going,  and also the ability to see what isn’t there or hasn’t been done yet.


How do you accomplish this?


It will naturally occur over time. It takes time to create a deep knowledge base, but without it there is no strong foundation to build upon. Surround yourself with experts that know more than you, their abilities and intelligence will rub off on you. Ask questions and build strong relationships. Find a mentor to help speed up the process and then pick their brain. Nussbaum believes the first step is to evaluate the knowledge and ability that you already possess. Do a self- audit to evaluate what you already know. This can be done by making lists, writing a report, an essay, anything to demonstrate your knowledge. Once this is complete it becomes possible to see where the gaps in your knowledge base are and discover what you need to fill them.




Framing is changing the way we view the world, use a product, or go about solving a problem. You have the ability to shift your perspective depending on situation. Nussbaum states, “Frames are more than mere stories. They provide a schema of expectations that can help us interpret the meaning of a situation, the intentions of the players, and the consequences of the outcome. A frame gives us the answer to the question “What is going on here? “ (page 89). Look at situations or problems from all angles. How will other people see your idea or product? Who is telling the story? Ask the questions “what if?” This will lead you down the path of opportunity to predict possible trends, conduct scenario planning, or war gaming. Move past what you think is possible. There are countless times in history inventors were told their ideas were impossible – yet here we are in an age that would have been described as impossible fifty years ago.




Playing is a complex behaviour that deals with experimentation and is part of the learning process. It is the act of trying to do things in new ways. Games are a great tool to incorporate. Play is not kid stuff that should be viewed as trivial and a waste of time. Nussbaum explains, “Play can be defined as tossing aside the rules of “regular life” for a period of time in order to follow new rules or try new possibilities (page 119)”. Set some very basic rules for play to stay on target. Trust is important in play to receive the full benefit – people need to be able to take risks and are more prone to do this with people they trust. Turn everything into a game. Games allow you to keep track of records, the ability to beat yourself, and research shows has the ability to keep you motivated to win. Build your own games – by using your knowledge to turn things into a challenge.


Here at The Keys to Optimal Living we have turned goals into games by creating Challenges. These challenges make difficult tasks more enjoyable and easier to accomplish.



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The final two concepts of Nussbaum creative intelligence I will be focusing on in a later post, but to give you a sneak peak they are Making and Pivoting. Making is the step of turning your creative ideas into a physical reality. Pivoting is the next step in the creative process after coming up with the idea and turning in to something else. This may include starting a business or manufacturing your idea. Without these two final steps your creative ideas stay exactly that – an idea. Pivoting can also be moving from one idea to another related or completely separate of the original idea.


How to boost your Creativity?


The first step is to reflect on your knowledge base and strengths and use this as a spring board.  Keep a portfolio of your ideas and accomplishments. Expand your knowledge and experiences in a variety of subjects. Consciously look for connections by examining the past and looking for trends in the future. Look at everything from multiple perspectives and be open to both strange and impossible ideas because you never know which ideas will later be called genius. Don’t be afraid to play with ideas, creative ideas are there, you just need to find them.


Remember the root of creativity is to create.


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Note – I only touched the surface of this great book. I recommend you get your own copy and dive deeper into your own creativity. Click here for more information and copy: Creative Intelligence 


“Creative Mind Image” courtesy of samuiblue/
“Innovative Success Image” courtesy of pakorn /
“Creativity Brain Blackboard Image” courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN /
“Creative Intelligence – Idea Man Image” courtesy of savit keawtavee, /


Inventive References: