As Walt Disney once said, "Every child is blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it."
According to left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the left brain excels at analytical thinking, reasoning, logic, numbers, language and order. Alternatively, the right-side of the brain is adept at expressive and creative tasks, such as “big picture” ideas, color, emotion, music, imagination, innovation, risk-taking and visualization of the future.
Here at Disney Institute, we believe that now more than ever innovation and creativity are critical skills in today’s business world. Unfortunately, many organizations and individuals tend to be left-brain dominant, leaving the right brain weaker and passive. Why? Because corporate culture tends to place greater value and emphasis on left-brain thinking, while viewing the functions of the right brain as less important.
What’s the risk of continued left-brain dominance? Inevitably, stronger innovators will outperform weaker innovators. Organizations that believe in and regularly engage the whole brain will continue to drive sustained innovation and business results, while those that fail to consistently innovate their products and services risk being left behind.
So, how can you shift the thinking in your organization? Be a champion for creativity and encourage innovation. And remember: Everyone has the potential to be creative and innovative, but to see this expressed, it is critical to intentionally nurture right-brain creativity.
An easy way for you and your team to nurture right-brain activity is to do a daily right-brain warm-up. Try this one:
The “Wrong” Hand Sketch
Research suggests that your non-dominant hand generally governs the right hemisphere of the brain, therefore stimulating the right brain through writing or drawing with your “wrong” hand can reignite your creative side. Spend five minutes and sketch the outline of a house with as much or little detail as possible, using your non-dominant hand.
Nurturing right-brain activity is one of the key concepts we teach business professionals in our “Disney’s Approach to Creativity & Innovation” program. Or, for more on this topic, I recommend the book: The Imagineering Workoutby the Disney Imagineers, which offers many more examples of right-brain warm-ups and other exercises to help shape and refine your creative muscles.
What are some other ways you can encourage creativity and innovation in your organization?