Creativity is not reliant on a brilliant flash of insight, a “Eureka!” moment where it seems the only sensible thing to do is run down the street naked. You can approach creativity systematically and one method is Roger von Oech’s “4 Roles of Creativity.”

  1. The Explorer’s job is to collect the raw material for creativity. He is constantly asking questions, talking to different people, and processing as many inputs as possible.
  2. The Artist takes the raw material from the Explorer and combines it in new and interesting ways. He’s playful and imaginative with no concerns about judging the quality of what he’s creating.
  3. The Judge takes the Artist’s ideas and determines if they’re practical. He thinks critically and realistically about what can actually be done.
  4. Finally, the Warrior takes an idea the Judge has determined worthy and tenaciously follows it to completion. The Warrior’s job is to overcome resistance, be courageous, and ship the idea.
  • Ricardo McRae

    Brillent – I’m going to share this with everyone in my company @Wedge15

    More of the creative thinking process is a good thing

  • Sophie | Spark

    This is great – I find that the Judge tends to creep in at the Explorer and Artist stage, so need work on keeping him out of things until later in the process!

  • Daniel Cole

    This reminds me of the Walt Disney method. Did I read about that here? I think I did.

  • jkglei

    This reminded me of a favorite excerpt from Susan Sontag’s diary:

    “The writer must be four people:

    the nut, the obsédé: supplies the material

    the moron: lets it come out

    the stylist: is taste

    the critic: is intelligence

    A great writer has all 4 — but you can still be a good writer with only 1 and 2; they’re the most important.”

  • Matthew

    Birthing creative projects most certainly takes a team – even if you are only 1 person! Thanks for this.

  • David McBurney

    It’s a great 4 stage model Sam. It can be useful to visualise the first x2 stages as expansive and then the second two stages as convergent.

    I find the turning point is nearly always inspired by a deadline.

  • Kathy Dannel Vitcak

    As a small business owner I see myself in all four roles. The next stage of my business growth will be to determine which one is better suited for someone else to run with. Thought provoking – thank you!

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