I love HGTV. I am always trying to guess, will they Love It? Or List It? House Hunters who can't get it through their heads that wallpaper is not a deal-breaker drive me crazy. And when Jonathan and Drew suggested that a creative, inspired approach to remodeling would bring new function and flair to the master bath, I jumped on it (currently in progress; see photos).
No worries, I thought. I know I am creative -- after all, I scored 100% on this "Are YOU Creative?" quiz:
Of course, it's ridiculous to attempt to identify creativity (or the lack thereof) in a pop quiz.
The truth is, everyone is creative. It isn't a gift or special talent reserved for a privileged few. But there are plenty of roadblocks to expressing and nurturing creativity: environmental (i.e., a workplace that does not reward it) and personal (fear of failure, fear of criticism, applying too much logic).
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to being creative is self-perception. A study published in the Harvard Business Review by Jeff Dyer et al. suggests that if you don't think you are creative, then you won't be.
So why does this matter in qualitative research?
Part of what makes qualitative research so exciting and valuable is when participants are able to challenge assumptions, push the envelope, and see things in a different way -- and produce new insights and ideas.
There are plenty of "how to" books that offer strategies to help people get in touch with and strengthen their creative self over time. The challenge in qualitative research is to find a way -- in a very short period of time -- to convince participants that they can be creative and get those juices flowing.
Here are three of my favorite techniques to help participants think flexibly and break away from the obvious way of looking at things -- in 10 minutes or less!
I encourage you to incorporate one of these techniques into your next qualitative research project. If there are other sources of inspiration or techniques you use to jump start the creative process, feel free to share them!