"Doing new things is like a neurological double espresso," says The Creative Nudge co-author Kevin Chesters

"Doing new things is like a neurological double espresso," says The Creative Nudge co-author Kevin Chesters

What is The Creative Nudge?

‘The Creative Nudge’ is a new book that sets out to unleash the creativity within us all.

Creativity is a way of looking at the world in whatever field you are in. Even a big muddy field. 

There’s creativity in every industry. Every walk of life. The key to success in life or in business is applying original and different thinking. But we don’t always do it. 


Because a combination of biology (simple human traits) and sociology (societal conventions) stops us from embracing the new and the different, in all areas of life.

This book is designed to overcome our natural programming and the straight jacket of society, so we can release our inner creative potential. It’s not hard. It just takes a few small nudges.

This is chapter one.

Literally, but also metaphorically, of “The Creative Nudge”. 

If you look up the word ‘creative’ in any dictionary it won’t mention painting or drawing or dancing. It won’t show you pictures of three quarter length jeans or cafes in Shoreditch where they charge you £15 for a bowl of Coco Pops.

The dictionary will simply say it is about doing things in new and original ways. If it isn’t new then it can’t, by definition, be creative. 

But people (yes you, all people) love doing what we’ve always done. We humans love habit.

We love the tried and tested even if it leads to the usual outcomes (even if those outcomes aren’t great). Did you know for instance that, according to a poll in 2017, one-third of Britons eat the same lunch every day and 50 percent of those people have been doing it for five or more years? Mad, eh?

The problem is that habituation is dangerous. 

It means we go on autopilot. It’s the reason that one-third of car accidents happen within a mile of home. It is a principle called 'inattentional blindness' – we stop noticing things. 

Now editing things out is useful if we want to live a more efficient life, but it’s bloody useless if we want to live a more creative one. And Edward de Bono not only said that “creativity makes life more fun and more interesting” he also said it was “the key to all progress”.

It’s intellectually and commercially dangerous if we don’t think differently in the context of business or communications. 

We just end up saying the same things in the same ways using the same words or ideas. And a behavioural science principle called the ‘Von Restorff Effect’ proves that humans only notice the noticeably different – so it’s a waste of money too.

Doing new things is like a neurological double espresso.

It makes our brain fizz to try new things in new ways. But it’s not easy. 

We have 50,000 years of evolution and biology to fight against at the same time as societal conditioning driving us to do things the way everyone else does – to “fit in”. This twin conspiracy of ‘Sociology’ and ‘Biology’ is what stops us from doing things in new and interesting ways. But you have to fight it if you’re going to be creative.

To break the programming, you’ll need some help. A few nudges. 

We need to do familiar things but try and do them in unfamiliar ways – that’s the antidote.

Here’s some nudges to try to get your brain thinking differently:

Bite the Apple: Doing things with your non-dominant hand helps to create new neural pathways. So, try doing things with your other hand. If you’re right-handed, then eat your lunchtime apple with your left. Try it. Science knows I’m right.

Meet New Folks: Commit to saying hello to five new people each week – either on or offline. This might seem impossibly difficult if you’re English but it helps to take the brain to new places.

Walk the other way: Add one new or different street into your walk to the station every day, or your walk to the coffee shop. Hey, maybe even try and new coffee shop!

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