"The Creativity Guy"
     Author of the book The Joy of Thinking Big


17 Principles of Creativity and Innovation

By Ernie J. Zelinski from the Book The Joy of Thinking Big

 Creativity and Innovation Book Cover

David Ogilvy was once of the most creative individuals in advertising and widely regarded as a genius – so much so that he wondered it if were true.

After all, he reported, he had flunked out of Oxford. He decided to find out exactly how smart he was, expecting to have an IQ around 145. He scored 96 (Business Strategy Review, 2005).

This is just one example of why creativity does not depend on intelligence. Creativity depends on following a number of principles that contribute to individuals being creative and innovative.

Following are seventeen principles (more or less) of creativity and innovation that I consider basic for being creative at work and play. This means these principles can be applied to personal matters as well as career success and business innovation.

There is no claim here that these are the only available principles for enhancing your creativity. Other principles and techniques exist.

The objective is to enhance your ability to see and generate more options by using as many techniques as possible.

 17 Principles of Creativity and Innovation

  1. Choose to be creative
  2. Look for many solutions
  3. Write your ideas down
  4. Fully analyze your ideas
  5. Define your goal
  6. See problems as opportunities
  7. Look for the obvious
  8. Take risks
  9. Dare to be different
  10. Be unreasonable
  11. Have fun and be foolish
  12. Be spontaneous
  13. Be in the now
  14. Practice divergent thinking
  15. Challenge rules and assumptions
  16. Delay your decision
  17. Be persistent  

 Note: Most of content on this website has been adapted from my book The Joy of Thinking Big.

Ernie J. Zelinski, Author of The World's Best Retirement Book

The Table of Contents from

The Joy of Thinking Big 

Creativity and Innovation: Thinking Big

Preface - The Paradox of Creativity  1

Introduction to Creativity and Innovation  3

  • So what's the point of being creative?   3
  • Creativity is having your cake and eating it too   6
  • Seventeen Principles or Creativity   7
  • Don't forget the problem   8
  • The most important creativity principle   12

Chapter 1:  How to Be Creative and Write Graffiti 13

  • To be more creative, forget what you know   13
  • How creative are you really?   14
  • Creativity put in a can   16
  • Even lawyers can be creative   18
  • Does it matter if your brain is tilted left or right?   19

Chapter 2:  Robbed Blind by the Creativity Bandits 23

  • Who stole your creativity?   23
  • The four great brain robbers    25
  • Societal bandits demand your conformity   26
  • Educational bandits demand one right answer   27
  • Organizational bandits demean the human spirit   28
  • Self bandits - The greatest brain robbers   29  
  • Perception can be deceiving   29
  • Classic exercises with non-classic solutions   32

Chapter 3:  Do Be Do Be Do 35

  • You can be more creative than Einstein or Picasso   35
  • Dispelling your romantic notions about creativity   36
  • Are you too intellectual to be creative?   38
  • So much for the easy life   39
  • It's publish and creatively promote or perish   41
  • Don't pay the price; enjoy the price   44

Chapter 4:  101 Ways to Skin a Cat or Do Just About Anything 45

  • Getting the right answer may put you on the wrong track   45
  • Break it before someone else breaks it   49
  • Exercises to motivate you to look and look and look   50

Chapter 5:  A Great Memory for Forgetting 53

  • Is your photographic memory out of film?   53
  • Growing an idea tree   56

Chapter 6:  The Advantages of Drinking on the Job 61

  • Cycle designed by a psycho?   61
  • Don't nuke your ideas with VOJ   63
  • Some great "wacky" ideas saved from VOJ   63
  • Don't bank on your banker or suggestion programs   65
  • Attack of the VOJ idea killers   66
  • Treat all your ideas to some PMI   66
  • Most organizations say they are Innovative - So what?   69
  • Organizations need the highly creative more than vice versa   72
  • Why know-it-alls suffer from specialist's disease   74
  • MBA doesn't stand for Mercedes-Benz awaiting   75
  • Beware of specialists who aren't so special   76
  • The cure for specialist's disease   80

Chapter 7:  Goaling for It 83

  • Goaling for what?   83
  • Goal setting is creative, believe it or not!   84
  • Why most people don't "goal" for it   85
  • The ultimate goal is not a goal   87
  • Going for the real thing in career success   88
  • Life without purpose is life without direction   93

Chapter 8:  In the Land of the Blind, One Eye Is King 95

  • You can observe a lot just by watching   95
  • Why didn't I think of that?   97
  • Exercises with obvious solutions not so obvious to most people   99

Chapter 9:  Thinking Way Out in Left Field 103

  • Seeing double or better   103
  • Mind benders which may run your brain off its rails   108
  • Rebus mind benders   110
  • More exercises for divergent minds   112

Chapter 10:  Boy Are You Lucky You Have Problems 117

  • So what's your problem?   117
  • My house burnt down and now I can see the moon   119
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly of problems   120
  • Other people's problems can be your opportunities   123
  • Big problems, big opportunities      

Chapter 11:  How to Be a Successful Failure 127

  • To be more successful, fail a lot more   127
  • Afraid of being a fool is foolish   129
  • Try celebrating your failures   130
  • Setbacks experienced by successful people   131
  • Warning: Success often leads to failure   133
  • What a difference being different makes!   134
  • For happiness and longevity, try eccentricity   139
  • Rules and assumptions not to be ruled by   140
  • Breaking the rules for fun and profit   141
  • Ya gotta break the rules when ya speak   142

Chapter 12:  Creative Thinking Is an Exercise in Silliness 145

  • Growing up may be harmful to your health   145
  • Humor is no laughing matter   147
  • More graffiti to cleanse your mind   150
  • Putting humor to serious use   152
  • There is reason to be unreasonable   154
  • What if we ask dumb questions?   157

Chapter:13:  Don't Put Off Your Procrastinating 159

  • Procrastinate and be more creative   159
  • Generating more stunning solutions by slowing down   163

Chapter 14:  Be Persistent and Wind Up a Genius 165

  • Genius is nothing more than persistence disguised   165
  • Don't be a victim of incorrect thinking   167
  • Belief is a disease   170
  • Liberation is a state of mind   172
  • To know and not to do is not yet to know   174

Chapter 15: Be a Creative Loafer Now and Zen 177

  • Is time on your side?   177
  • Concentrating on concentration   179
  • Worrying about matters that don't matter at all   181
  • Being bored is an insult to oneself   183
  • Lack of spontaneity is a trait of the dead   186
  • Be a creative loafer and be more productive   187
  • How to leisure your life away   188
  • Eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die   191

Chapter 16:  Creativity Is a Three-Letter Word 193

  • Why you must become a quick-change artist   193
  • A new paradigm for success   195
  • Look inside if you want to find more outside   198
  • Highly creative people never soar too high   199
  • Business innovation takes thinking for a change   202


Bibliography and Recommended Reading


When a true genius appears in the world, you will know him by this sign, that all the dunces are in confederacy against him.
- Jonathan Swift


COPYRIGHT © 2016 by Ernie J. Zelinski 
 Owner of VIP BOOKS
and Author of Career Success Without a Real Job
All Rights Reserved