Criticism and creativity - do they go together? In order to develop a multitude of new ideas, it is first essential to switch off the inner critic in oneself, to refrain from evaluations and to let the ideas grow protected from criticism. If real innovations are to emerge from the ideas, the best ones must be selected from the multitude of ideas and consistently improved. To do this, we have to evaluate the idea, question whether it really solves the problem and check it for hidden potential. This is where many good ideas fail, because only a few teams have mastered the art of effective criticism. Used correctly, they manage to let ideas grow beyond themselves through the right criticism, while others talk them to pieces before they can develop.

In order for criticism to make an effective contribution to the creative process, the following aspects are important:

  1. The right moment: Nothing destroys the creative flow more permanently than criticism at the wrong moment. It makes sense when ideas are to be evaluated and further elaborated. It has a destructive effect when ideas are to be created or collected.
  2. The right goal: It must be clear to everyone what the goal of the critique is. "Does this idea really solve the problem?", "Does it meet the user's expectation?" or "Does the idea fit with our current business goals?" are goals with which criticism can make a valuable contribution to the result.
  3. The right rules: To make criticism valuable, it must be constructive. Rules help here.
  4. The right procedure: Criticism makes a valuable contribution if it follows a fixed procedure. This ensures that all important aspects are meant and no contribution is lost.

In my CreaKix session "Growing Ideas through Criticism" we work out how to make criticism a constructive tool, how to find the best ideas through the right criticism, how to gain substance through criticism and how to develop from a pure idea to a real breakthrough.

CreaKix is the German conference in BarCamp format for more creativity in organisations and society. It will take place for the second time in 2016 on 4/5 November in Berlin. Registration here.