Personal development

Personal development - cooking up some creativity

Cooking up a feast in the world of personal development, Cathy Shimmin shows you that everyone can be creative.

I love food. I love cooking. I am not the best but I do like a bit of experimentation from the stock cupboard. I like to throw ingredients together and see what happens. Cayenne and lentil soup – not so good; strawberries, rocket, black pepper and balsamic – wow!!

Since I was very young I was labelled ‘the creative one’ among my siblings. So really, it’s no great shakes that I can run riot in the kitchen and come up with something half decent.

Are you the creative one? Did you get that label too? Funny – sometimes the label is just enough to ensure that we are. Or maybe you are reading this thinking “Nooooo, I am certainly not that. I have never been creative. I do not have a creative bone in my body”. Shame that, that label. Although, that’s the label I own when it comes to baking. “I just don’t have the flair”, “Even when I try it ends in a big gloopy mess”. I am still trying to work out the problem on that one.

Let’s talk about food again. Are you on board with the latest food fads? Forget plain old caramel – get it salted! And pork – that recently added Pull gives it a bit of, well, pull. Cucamelon – cross pollinated melon and cucumber! (Same genus apparently, Citrullus) Who knew? Smoked salmon with strawberries, black pepper, rocket and balsamic vinegar – really, divine.

I hear the resisters – why can’t food just be plain and simple food? Why do we have to create these new fads? Well, I for one, love it. First – I never met a calorie I didn’t like so always welcome the possibility of adding chocolate to anything. Second – I am very easily bored so anything new is always attractive to me (not always served me well that one!) Third – imagine if we didn’t try new things, ever.

Did you do it? Did you imagine if we didn’t try new things? Imagine what the world would be like? What life would be like? Can you picture it? Yes? Yay!!! You are creative after all – that’s all it takes, just a bit of imagination. Phew, thank goodness for that, you can ditch that other label now.

Too often we think we can’t be creative and so when we face the usual problems, challenges, stumbling blocks at work, we just use the old tried and tested methods of dealing with them. We are our own recipe for disaster sometimes – we feel we want to get the perfect solution and therefore have failed if we don’t, (how many attempts before they found the cucumelon?). We limit the possibilities in our fixed frame of mind (strawberries and cream or strawberries and black pepper?) and we get stuck in the habits of doing the same thing (me doing more stock cupboard experiments and not watching The Great British Bake Off).

Anyone can be creative really. We all have imagination don’t we? The problem is we often also have the fear of failure, the fixed mindset and the old habits.

In our sector – our wonderful, resourceful, resilient, determined sector – we need to think differently sometimes. Recent years have seen huge changes in growth, complexity and yes, sometimes, even standardisation within the sector. Want to be different? Then think and act different. Begin by joining me at my “Anyone can be Creative” workshop at Charity Accountants Conference 2019. We will look at how to set some foundations for allowing creativity in and explore some models which help us to look at things just a bit differently.

Ah that’s what’s missing in the baking – the foundations!! Right some catch up British Bake Off TV for me.


Tools and Techniques for Creative Problem Solving

  • Ingredients; Individuals working in the sector who want to try something new
  • Prep time; 10 minutes thinking about some current problems and bring the thoughts with you
  • Cook Time; One day course, techniques gained will last forever
  • Skill level; Novice to advanced – learn or share learning
  • Calories; Zero – what’s not to like?

If you can’t make the date, we can Cook up Some Creativity for you on an In- House basis.

Workshops on thinking creatively and using creative tools and techniques to solve problems.

Or maybe you want to think more creatively about something specific – your strategy or fundraising – and coaching sessions might help

Get in touch and we will see how we can help you.