If the evidence is right, and procurement don’t have a natural bias for creativity our challenge is how to generate that much needed creative mind set. Firstly, being clear on why we need to be creative is key - Is it to identify new opportunities for value delivery or to solve problems in existing sourcing scenarios?
Having established the motivation, the task becomes to 'Be Creative' and there is
nothing more likely to constrain creativity than to demand it! Creativity is rarely
found through doing what we’ve always done or are used to doing, or to be stimulated
by sitting at a desk with an excel spreadsheet open and simply a desire to type up
a list of ideas. A different environment, new behaviours and new ways of thinking
are all essential. So taking oneself off to a museum to solve a problem may just
be all we need. The issue is our mind will come with us and if it’s not used to thinking
differently a museum may not help. It might need a little more assistance.
This is where role play can be powerful as a technique for putting normal thinking to one side and thinking/doing things differently.
Asking ourselves, What would a different person do in this situation? can stimulate
different trains (and aeroplanes!) of thought. Multiplying role play scenarios, multiplies
the potential number of ideas and solutions. There will be time to judge and evaluate
these ideas later – this is a creative process - where no idea is a bad idea.
There’s an infinite number of people we could role play – mentors/coaches/super stars/rock legends/TV characters and even family, friends or neighbours. We could even ponder on what our car, dog or even car would do in the current situation! Don’t mock it till you’ve tried it.
The type of role play I’d like to consider today is characters from books – let’s see how we get on if we consider a common problem procurement problem – we don’t have enough time to do everything – and explore what each character has to offer:
Of course, I wonder if this says more about my reading habits than anything – so happy for other suggestions in comments below. A great reminder though that metaphor is very personal so I’ve seen the solution that best fits my current situation. On another day or with a different issue I might interpret it differently. You may notice therefore that you observed different meaning from this same list of characters.
Do let us know how you get on and what characters or people helped you find more solutions to a situation you were working on.
For more on the procurement training and coaching we deliver, including thinking differently, see here or call Anna on +44 (0)1483 243520+44 (0)1483 243520
by Alison Smith