One of the human competencies that is being looked at today as fundamental for the reinvention of business, of companies and of human work itself, is our ability to imagine what does not yet exist. We know, today, much more about the way human beings imagine and create these new worlds, and the challenge for us at Nova SBE is to bring that knowledge into our transformation programmes, so that we can reinvent the way we innovate.

f we analyse the most creative ideas in the history of humanity, we find that they are ideas that were born from a combination of realities that already existed. We are brought up to think in a logical and analytical way, so it is very difficult for us to associate things that apparently have nothing to do with each other. This natural resistance of ours to associate things that apparently have nothing to do with each other is a huge obstacle to creativity, because it is from this association of improbable and unpredictable points that innovation emerges. Today we know that the most creative people are those who manage to make these improbable associations, who manage to connect points that nobody has connected before and manage to do it before everybody else does. 

We also know today that humans are programmed for two apparently contradictory realities. We are programmed to save energy. We are alive because we have developed a central nervous system that allows us to save energy to use in the coming hours, days, weeks. So we love norms and standards, because they allow us to save energy. However, we are also programmed to explore and to enjoy novelty and to take risks, thinking about worlds that do not yet exist. 

Thinking about worlds that don't exist involves going outside the norm and makes us spend a lot of energy. One of the activities that uses up most of the energy in our brain is thinking about new ideas. This is why it is so difficult for human beings to innovate. And there is a direct relationship between quantity and quality of innovative ideas. So, to find a good idea, we have to generate a lot of ideas and that idea generation takes time and makes us consume a lot of energy. 

Another important discovery has to do with how human emotions impact the creative process. So, all behaviours and practices that help us get to know ourselves better and develop our emotional intelligence will literally transform us into more creative beings.  

Creativity is also associated with human memory and the stimulation of our senses. We use sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste to understand our surroundings. Our brain uses these stimuli to formulate ideas and opinions, to evaluate situations and then store what it has learnt in our memory. For this reason, we should provoke new experiences in a systematic way.  

These scientific discoveries are just a few examples of what we now know about the way the human brain innovates and which are leading us to adapt the learning methodologies of this human competence. 

But there is yet another reason why Nova SBE is highlighting this skill in its training portfolio: it is that the most creative people have an enormous capacity to tolerate ambiguity, dissonance, inconsistency and things that seem out of place. They look at problems from different perspectives and try to examine different variables, often looking for and focusing on the unexpected. 

And it is human beings like this that we want to form. 

Article originally published in PME Magazine

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