Increasing your creativity #3

Give your creative super powers a boost!

Give your creative super powers a boost!

This is the third of my series of blogs on creativity. The story so far….. we have covered CHALLENGING (learning through failure) …… CAPTURING (making sure we don’t lose those ideas …. and this week we will be looking at BROADENING (learning through having a broad range of experiences).

So how can learning about other stuff or having a broader range of experiences increase your creativity? A simple answer would be that learning other stuff gives you a wider perspective and makes you look at things from a different angle.

Being a practical person, I need to be able to relate this to a real example, so let’s use one of my hobbies to show you how this works. I love to bake and what I love to bake most of all are cupcakes. Bigger cakes are a little more scary – so much more to go wrong and you cannot easily cover up your mistakes on a big cake. If you are decorating a big cake, it can become quite an onerous task and there is lots to go wrong. However little cakes allow you to experiment and decorating can be quite an informal affair – from just a few sprinkles to full on intricate decorations.

So what makes a good cupcake? Here is a list of things I think make a good one:

  • Good ingredients
  • Pay careful attention to the quantities in the recipe – only stray if you know what you are doing
  • Check your oven is at the correct temperature using an oven thermometer
  • A little bit of artistic flair – if they are informal, random sprinkling can work quite well
  • Attractive, good quality paper cases
  • A stand to show them off on

So if I were to relate this to training, what can I learn from this to help me become a better trainer?

  • Always start off with the right ingredients – if you know what you are aiming for (great objectives) you know whether you have been successful
  • Pay attention to measuring what will show your training off as being successful, why measure employee engagement if out is not related to what you are training in?
  • You  can plan your sessions, but allow time for randomness – those lovely excursions where you explore things that are interesting to your participants, sometimes they lead to some really good ideas!
  • Try to do everything well, little is better than lots! If you try to cram too much in, they may become overwhelmed
  • Communicate success – show everyone how successful you have been so that they believe in L&D and its contribution

So with the theme of cupcakes in mind….. here are some I made earlier….



If you would like to learn more about developing your creative competencies and also meet with other trainers to generate lots of ideas – come to the BFLG Group on the 24th of January in Leeds at Leeds Building Society and join in the “Creativity Olympics!”


©Krystyna Gadd 2014

Increasing your creativity #2

Give your creative super powers a boost!

Give your creative super powers a boost!

In this series of blogs, I am exploring the 4 creative competencies, as defined by Dr. Robert Epstein.

Last week I looked at “Challenging”  – which was all about learning from your failures.

This week I will concentrate on “Capturing”, which is all about recording your ideas, as and when they occur.

Do you ever wake up, having dreamt a really good idea? Or do your ideas come to you when you are travelling in the car or on the bus…. or in the shower? The likelihood of having a notepad and pen available in any of these situations (or being able to use them!) is slim, so it has got me thinking about all the different ways that I now try to make sure that my great ideas don’t “escape”.

The obvious starter, would be a blog…… when I have an interesting thought, or idea, I may just blog about it!

A colleague of mine, Mike Collins, is great at all this digital, social malarky – he has pointed me to lots of great ways to capture learning and ideas. In a blog about a webinar, that we did together “Making CPD Sexy”, he had lots of ideas on how to record your learning for CPD, which could also be used for recording your ideas.

Here are a number of other cool ways that you might capture your ideas:

  • Smartphone – record a memo, or do a quick video message to yourself
  • Notebook by the bed…..
  • Whiteboard
  • Linoit – a great place to keep links, photos and ideas on any subject – here is one of mine on “Free stuff for trainers”
  • Scoop it – if you get a good idea about a particular topic, something you might want to read, you can scoop it! See my scoops on accelerated learning
  • If I am out and about and see a great update on LinkedIn I comment on it so I can go back later and  check it out
  • Or if a tweet sparks off an idea, I retweet it so that I can see it later in my Twitter-feed
  • Make a short cartoon about it, using Powtoon – here is one I made about a book I read
  • Tell a friend!
  • Text yourself a message

These are just a few ideas … I know there are many more ways and would love to add them to this blog ……. so if you let me know of how you capture those great ideas…. then I will add them here!

Here are some ideas from Mike Collins @DPGplc

  • Evernote voice recorder
  • Evernote notes
  • Mindmaps
  • Drafting blogs

From the #ldcu (L&D Connect unconference) – a great way to take visual minutes: Latest meeting minutes video and more visual minutes

If you would like the opportunity to increase your creativity, I am running the “Creativity Olympics” at the next Brain Friendly Learning Group meeting in Leeds on the 24th of January – places are limited so book now!

©Krystyna Gadd 2014

What did they say about the Learning Loop?

IMG_1961“A great way to train trainers!”

Last week, I met up with a great group of trainers in Summerbridge (near Harrogate) for a meeting of the Yorkshire TJ (Training Journal) online group (run by Shirley Gaston). We spent some time playing the Learning Loop and this was the first time I have run the game with such an experienced bunch of trainers. A little scary to begin with, but they were super and really got into the spirit of the game.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session…… but would you like to hear what some of the others thought of it?

Larry Reynolds was there…. (yes THE Larry Reynolds who wrote “The Trainers Toolkit” with Kimberley Hare) and this is what he said:

And here is another clip from Alex Hewlett, a trainer who “makes sense of finance”:
So has this whetted your appetite for the Learning Loop? If it has then feel free to contact us for a no obligation consultation.

Increasing your creativity #1

In my up and coming blogs, I will be exploring further  Robert Epsteins 4 creative competencies…… in this one we will be looking at ……

….CHALLENGING – seeking out opportunities to fail – this can help boost your creativity!

In a blog last week, I wrote about Epstein’s 4 creative competencies and briefly how they could be increased. I was just reminded today, by a dear friend, how I could use an example of a recent failure to demonstrate its value, in boosting my own creativity.

I am not used to failure but I do like seeking out new opportunities to be creative. Now creativity does not have to be about arts or crafts but this story is. When a friend asked if I would like to join her and some other friends on a day to learn how to crochet, I was up for the challenge. I am quite dexterous, so I did think “How hard could that be?”

Without going into too much detail, I found the day quite challenging to say the least. I was probably the worst person in the class and it was not a place I was used to. My efforts were not rewarded at all, the harder I tried the worse my outputs were.


The best thing I produced all day can be seen in this photo and I did not even manage to finish that! Part way through the day, one person reminded me that I “have other gifts”, a gentle reminder that crocheting was not one of them. So how did this experience benefit me, in the field of creativity? Here is a list:

  • I was reminded I have “other gifts”, which I began to think about and recognise
  • I learnt I am very competitive and that failing is very hard for me
  • I reflected on a recent hobby I had taken up and decided to put some energy into that, as a way of relaxing
  • Taking time to spend on my new hobby and exploring how it works has stretched me
  • I have given myself permission to not be good at crocheting
  • The next time I try something new, I will know that failing is not fatal

So I thought you might like to see what I have been doing …. Needle felting! Et voila!

20131124-203232.jpg… abstract landscape…

20131124-203436.jpg …. some Christmas baubles…

20131124-203456.jpg…… a heart …..

If you would like to learn more about developing your creative competencies and also meet with other trainers to generate lots of ideas – come to the BFLG Group on the 24th of January in Leeds at Leeds Building Society and join in the “Creativity Olympics!”


©Krystyna Gadd 2014

Unleashing the creative inner beast

IMG_1801From the age of 5 until round about 60 we become less creative, according to research. So is this inevitable or is there something we can do about it?

Dr. Robert Epstein talked about the four creative competences and even has suggested that we can improve each one of them. So what are they?

Capturing- creative people have ways to capture their ideas wherever they might be
Broadening- learning new things outside your comfort zone exposes you to new ways of thinking and can boost creativity.
Challenging- taking on new hobbies, responsibilities, doing things that may fail, challenges old ways if thinking
Surroundings – what can you do to make your surroundings stimulating?

As a facilitator, if you improve these four areas it will impact your role in a a very positive way. So let us look at some ways of developing these competencies:

Capturing: use your smartphone to take pictures of your ideas, or record memos of your thoughts, carry a notebook or use post-its and an ideas board, write a blog or tweet about your ideas

Broadening: talk to people you have nothing in common with and be interested in how they go about their job/hobbies etc, join a forum on LinkedIn on a subject you know very little about, subscribe to a newsletter from a company whose services you may or may not use.

Challenging: volunteer to chair a meeting, take on a new role within your team for which you have little experience – learn from your mistakes!

Surroundings: walk and talk with a colleague, meet colleagues in a cafe, put up inspirational quotes around your desk, put up holiday photos around your workspace

If you would like to lear more about developing your creative competencies and also meet with other trainers to generate lots of ideas – come to the BFLG Group on the 24th of January in Leeds at Leeds Building Society and join in the “Creativity Olympics!”


©Krystyna Gadd 2014

A little more about the Learning Loop

A game for trainers

A game for trainers or anyone who delivers learning as part of their role

Just in case some of you are  interested in this and would like to know a little more, let me tell you what the Learning Loop could do for your team and what a day running the game would look like:

We all know that L&D teams can be made of people whose experiences, knowledge and skills vary widely. This can mean that a “whole team” approach to something as important as needs analysis, design, delivery and evaluation are not dealt with in an entirely consistent manner. This can lead to a loss of focus for any learning events or programmes or even, little understanding about the tangible outcomes. This in turn can lead to L&D not gaining the respect and importance it should have in an organisation.

In the past, sending new team members to do a recognised qualification has been the approach used by many organisations and to a degree this can help. The Learning Loop is a completely different approach to trainer training. This innovative game, acts in itself as a “needs analysis” for the team. Split into 2 or 3 groups,  your team will answer questions, firstly on needs analysis, then design, leading onto delivery and finally evaluation. More knowledgeable members of the team, will share their knowledge with the less knowledgeable, whilst also sharing the vision for “how we do it here”.

If at any point a gap is identified in the knowledge or skills of the team – this topic will be “parked”. After an hour of playing the game, the learners will get an opportunity to bridge those gaps, with a variety of resources and activities – I may even chip in myself! Click here for a sneaky peek at one of the many resources that make up the activities.

The game continues, looking at topics such as:

  • Stakeholders and how to engage them
  • The learners – how to appeal to this very diverse group
  • Action planning – what do you or the team, need to do?
  • How to deal with the unexpected
  • How to apply certain models, a little NLP and other such good stuff!

In the afternoon there will be another opportunity to bridge those gaps, but by the end, all the team will have:

  • A better view of their shared vision of “how we want to do it here”
  • Tips, tricks and tools to take away and share (to help in the design and delivery)
  • An action plan of what should be done
  • An identified list of further needs, with some ideas how to address them

This offer is for a limited time only and you have until August 15th to make your booking.

To find out more about it click here!

If you would like to know more fill in the form below and Krystyna will contact you:

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