Josh Linkner

Josh Linkner - who started his career as a jazz guitarist - personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold...

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF CREATIVITY

The 1995 movie SEVEN was one of the creepiest I’ve ever seen. It was based on the 14th century’s Seven Deadly Sins, and sent chills down the spines of viewers and critics alike. Even 23 years later, we shiver with fear when reflecting on this intense and horrifying flick.

While the original seven deadlies devour the human soul, there’s a new set of seven that is making carnage of our creativity. We know that developing our creative chops is job #1 in today’s hyper-competitive world, yet there are a few evil forces looking to deplete our most valuable natural resource:

1) Fear – The granddaddy of all creativity killers; we let our worries block our imagination. Our most brilliant creative sparks can be extinguished in an instant by the fear of looking foolish, embarrassment, or even fear of success.

2) Rigidity – Business leaders pride themselves in being “heads down,” yet that narrow worldview prevents us from sparking our imagination. Allowing yourself to be “heads up” will help you discover new possibilities for change and growth.

3) Premature Editing – Great ideas get killed in the blink of an eye when we inject our linear, analytical left-brain into the creative process too early. Brainstorm sessions are geometrically more successful when you check your left-brain at the door. Let all the creativity pour out, and invite the editor in after the fact.

4) GroupThink – Thousands of breakthrough ideas are suffocated each day by the destructive forces of GroupThink. Don’t let the fear-mongers dice up your idea to the point where it loses potency. Have the guts to stand by your original ideas, even if it ruffles some feathers.

5) Outdated Traditions – Blindly saluting the flag of the past is no way to craft a successful future. If you run across a system, process, or idea that has “always been done that way,” you’ve just stumbled upon a beacon desperately calling for reinvention.

6) Playing it Safe – It turns out that playing it safe has become the riskiest move of all. Don’t let perceived safety lull you into inaction.

7) The Status Quo – Complacency kills. The big wins go to those who challenge conventional wisdom and mock the status quo rather than succumb to it.

Don’t let these Evil Seven poison your thinking and murder your imagination. Remain vigilant and, when these nefarious forces emerge, don’t wait for the authorities to arrive – take matters into your own hands. Keep them at bay, and you will enjoy prosperity and fulfillment. But if you let them infiltrate your mind and your culture, not even Morgan Freeman can save you from painful treachery and the agony of defeat.

The Beauty of Forest Fires
Posted August 12th 2018
The devastating fires in California remind us of our environment's fragility and how little we can sometimes do to curtail the ...

How PepsiCo is Reinventing a Category...
Posted August 5th 2018
Innovation is the hottest business buzzword, evoking images of bold tech startups taking dangerous risks to upend the sleeping ...

Why the Term "Entrepreneur" Should be...
Posted July 29th 2018
Having built five startups from scratch and invested in or advised around 100 others, you could say I'm in the business of "ent...

Lick the Screen
Posted July 22nd 2018
Steve Jobs famously said that he made the icons on the iPhone so beautiful, customers would want to "lick the screen." By eleva...

How "Small" Innovations Lead to Big...
Posted July 15th 2018
The concept of innovation can be completely overwhelming. Images of Edison inventing the light bulb or Henry Ford revolutionizi...

Inch-Wide, Mile-Deep
Posted July 9th 2018
If you're looking to buy a new knife, the choices seem limitless. A 21-function Swiss Army knife will run you around $39 bucks,...

The "Do Different"
Posted June 24th 2018
We've all been in business meetings that drone on endlessly, only to be followed with zero change, action or results. Silver-to...

Your Second (and Most Important) Job
Posted June 17th 2018
From Cabinet Maker to Cyber-Security Analyst, we each have the title on our business card. When asked what you do for a living ...

The Three Levers of Productivity (#3...
Posted June 3rd 2018
"Do more with less." "Boost your productive output." "Get more done, faster!" Messages around efficiency, productivity, and har...

How Cheating Led to a Creative...
Posted May 28th 2018
The game of Monopoly, a legendary cash cow for Hasbro, has remained relevant and compelling for over 100 years by evolving with...