Creativity & Innovation

3 REASONS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE CONSIDERED WHY BEING MORE CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE COULD BE HELPFUL

Professionally, I've been trained to come up with good ideas to a deadline. When I worked for a major London ad agency, newspapers wouldn't stop the presses because I was stuck for an idea that morning. I had to create.

I've done the same as a screenwriter, faced with constraints as a result of budget, and working with a team where juggling the input of others to make a script shine was more important than getting my own words down.

I learned more when I was a member of an invite-only group learning cutting edge psychology with Eric Robbie, who in his copywriting days came up with some classic TV commercials, and worked as a journalist and editor too before leading workshops along with Richard Bandler, the co-creator of Neuro Linguistic Programming. (Never mind if you've not heard of NLP - suffice it to say applications are used widely within both the therapeutic and business communities, covering topics including learning styles, communication skills, and fast phobia removal.)

All of that, along with experience as a support worker in a hostel for people with mental health problems where the job required being more flexible than them, helps explain why this second session is about Creativity & Innovation. You can come to this session on its own, or attend all 3.

1) Look around you. Pretty much anything that didn't start off growing in a field began as someone's idea. And with the ease of getting your ideas out there thanks to digital media, 3D printing, and crowdfunding, there are more opportunities than ever before to turn your concept into something real that can increase your income and lead to new opportunities.

2) Whatever it is you're doing, it can help to get ahead if you make it stand out somehow. That applies to the concept you're developing - you can't always rely on an idea's inherent appeal to stand out, sometimes you have to think about how it comes across too. And that can mean considering new ways to present yourself too, online and off. Finding ways to become more memorable is a real asset. That counts if you're working within an organisation, and it counts even more if you're making your own way forward in the world. Innovation is sometimes about the big ideas, but without getting the small ones about how you're perceived sorted out, you might never achieve the bigger goal.

3) The more ways you have to solve problems, the less problems you have. Having ways to tackle issues can transform not just your own life and fortunes, but the happiness and effectiveness of the people you care about. 'Being there' is great sometimes. Being able to make a difference puts you in a different league.

Places on the upcoming courses are limited. Go here to find out more and secure your place now.

THE 3 BEST REASONS TO HONE YOUR PROFESSIONAL EDGE

These are tricky times, whether you're self-employed or with an organisation. And that's something I know about, having worked in both contexts, in the private and public sectors. I was one of a third of the staff let go by a leading London ad agency only a couple of years after headhunting me. That led to adventures with the producer of Four Weddings And A Funeral, and writing TV drama for the BBC. I moved to Nottingham, and joined the team at a charity-operated hostel for homeless people with mental health problems. Great experience, and one I wanted to move on from. That's when I returned to self employment.

Putting together what I've acquired through my own training with mentors who skilled up the likes of Derren Brown and Paul McKenna, plus adventures in film, advertising, coaching and more, I realised that what enabled me to keep moving forward could be summed up under three categories. And they're covered in the sessions that I'll be presenting: Language & Persuasion (Oct 20), Creativity & Innovation (Nov 10), Confidence & Charisma (Dec 8).

The banner heading for the sessions is Hone Your Professional Edge. It took a while for me to spot what the initials spell, and it made me smile. Which is the attitude I'll be taking into the trainings too. So, what can you look forward to when you join us?

1) The theme connecting the sessions, which will be practical and (I promise) roleplay-free, is freedom. What that boils down to is being able to make more choices. Like, having options for what to do when you're meeting someone who isn't responding to what you've said so far. Like, coming up with new ideas for your future, and some sense of how they can be realised. Like, finding that entering the unknown is a whole lot easier than you might have expected.

2) The more resources you bring to what you do, the more valuable you are to others. That's true if you're working within a system. And it applies if you're self-employed, as well. Being the person others come to rely on for ideas gives you leverage that's valuable across contexts. It also puts opportunities within your grasp that may have eluded you so far.

3) Turning your capacity to engage with people up a notch can be invaluable for professional networking, and it has social and personal benefits too. Feeling more comfortable with talking expressively and with confidence can open doors as well, especially when you're more secure in your ability to deal with unexpected questions.

Places on the upcoming courses are limited. Go here to find out more and secure your place now.