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Dealing with Creativity

By Joe Tillman | 05/09/2012 | 6:00 AM

CreativityFor those of us who see the world from the left side of the brain, where most everything can (or should) be explained with the right formula or equation, creativity can seem like an illusion.

Some young professionals—and older ones for that matter—have a problem with the creativity thing. They feel they were left out when the gods went down the line endowing creativity on those select few – Steve Jobs, Bob Dylan, and Michelangelo for example. Or that there is a special gene, the ‘Creativity Gene,’ inherited from past generations. Nothing could be furtherer from the truth.

Creativity is a talent to nurture and hone. Just as you developed other talents and skills, creativity is something you can develop and improve. John Lehrer recently wrote an article, “How To Be Creative” in the Wall Street Journal, based on his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. His premise is simple:  a change in scenery, a quick walk around the office, a beer with friends or changing the interior of our office might be all we need to spark that creative impulse.   

What if you don’t have an immediate answer? Lehrer makes a great suggestion when the answer is not within your head: increase the volume and diversity of information. Expose yourself to audio books, podcasts from TEDTalks, Freakonomics, HBR IdeaCast and any others that may interest you during the daily commute instead of listening to music.

Reading and listening to the ways others have solved problems is a great way to learn and to expose you to new ideas. Attend a local professional organization’s roundtable or council meeting. Find your local AST&L Chapter, WERCouncil and your local CSCMP Roundtable.

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, who co-wrote two books Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, have used their creative talents in ways that even a left-brainer can appreciate.  In each book, they look at how two unrelated things are related though economic data, such as sumo wrestling and real estate agents. Both books are a treasure-trove of fascinating ideas and connections that may give your brain the creative spark it needs.

I’d love your feedback – and would love your help in sharing questions and comments about being a young professional. If you have a question, comment or feedback, please send me an email to [email protected].  Every fourth blog will be a question and answer session from those that I receive from you, my audience. If I use your question, I will send you a free copy of a book mentioned in the previous four posts. 


[Image credit: Creativity by Sean McEntee via Flickr CC]



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About Joe Tillman

Joe Tillman

An enthusiastic and dedicated professional, Joe Tillman offers supply chain education and research through his company TSquared Logistics. Joe has a keen interest in all things supply chain and uses his high-energy approach to life to author articles for industry publications, blog on young professionals for DC Velocity, and speak to supply chain industry groups. He also co-leads the Warehousing Education and Research Council's influential annual benchmarking study, "DC Measures." Prior to founding TSquared Logistics, Joe worked with Supply Chain Visions as a senior researcher and consultant, Wal-Mart Logistics as a distribution professional, and Union Pacific Railroad as a conductor. Joe is certified in transportation and logistics (CTL) by AST&L and SCOR-Professional certified by the Supply Chain Council.


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