Unlock your creative potential with The Creative Nudge
by Kevin Chesters, Co-Author of The Creative Nudge

Kevin Chesters, Co-Author of The Creative Nudge, shares how to overcome our natural programming so that we can unlock our inner creative potential.

17th November 2021 Read time: 3 minutes Watch time: 56 minutes

Everything is about creativity. That’s Kev Chesters’ first assertion in his presentation to the What’s Possible Community. Everyone is inherently creative; it’s just society in its uniformity that reduces the likelihood of creativity being allowed to flourish. You can unlock your creative potential using a series of ‘nudges’, Kev says.

Kevin Chesters is the Co-Owner & Strategy Partner at Harbour, an independent communications consultancy. He is also the co-author of a book on creativity named The Creative Nudge: Simple Steps to Help You Think Differently.

What’s a nudge?

“If you look up the dictionary definition of the word ‘creative’, all it says is it’s about doing things in new and interesting ways. It doesn’t mention drama, or dance, or painting, or three-quarter length jeans,” Kev said.

Doing new things and breeding unfamiliarity in whatever field is the equivalent to a ‘neurological double espresso’, Kev points out. He says that humans are biologically and sociologically hardwired to conform to a shared standard and are not encouraged to break out of the mould.

He demonstrates this uniformity by showing how many of the same tropes are used repeatedly in advertising, fashion and film.

Creating new neural pathways using scientifically proven nudges will lead to more creativity. Defining what nudges are and how they can make you more creative is the focus of Kev and Mick Mahoney’s book.

“Putting your gym kit by the door the night before, you’ll be much more likely to go to the gym. Reframing and renaming things. The person who couldn’t have a drink being renamed to the designated driver – that’s a nudge,” Kev explained.

It’s all about applying creative thinking in society and business to succeed, Kev asserts. Nudges can help you escape the constraints society has imposed on you. I.e., Kev advocates for doing something familiar in unfamiliar ways every day, leading to more creativity.

A journey to creativity

Kev describes unlocking creativity as a journey. He compares the journey to phobia therapy, where someone intentionally gets their brain ready to face their fears and embrace new things bit by bit. The chapter titles in the book indicate the actions you’ll need to succeed in letting creativity take root.

  • Chapter 1: If you know what you’re doing, stop doing it
  • Chapter 2: Don’t believe what you’re told
  • Chapter 3: Don’t be afraid to be afraid
  • Chapter 4: Let chaos in

Having a healthy amount of chaos is something Kev thinks workplaces could benefit from having.

“People will tell you that chaos is dangerous; it is not. Chaos is fertile; chaos is where you get to new ideas. You have to get comfortable with it because humans aren’t,” Kev explains.

Tipping out the cutlery draw and eating with various utensils, not pairing your socks in the morning, turning your mirror at a slight angle: all of these chaotic actions are what could help nudge a person toward creativity.

  • Chapter 5: Don’t settle
  • Chapter 6: Be unreasonable
  • Chapter 7: Reject consensus
  • Chapter 8: Don’t rush it
  • Chapter 9: Failure is an option

Kev says the natural evolutionary tendency in people is to agree with everything. He says positive dissenting and playing devil’s advocate is an easy mechanism to engineer creativity.

The final nudge of the book is to get brave. Unlock your creative potential in everything you do so that everyone will recognise you as different and irreplaceable.

“The bravest thing anyone can do in modern marketing or business is stick with the status quo. Do you know why? Because it’s fatal,” Kev concluded.

“If you talk about your product in the same way as everyone else, why should anyone choose you? If you look and sound and act and feel the same as everything else, why should I care if you disappear?”