See, feel and hear great ideas: Engaging your modalities in the workplace

Is there a relationship between learning modalities and creativity?Gary Bertwistle says definitely yes, and shares his thoughts on how to put this idea to work in your business.

I’ve been pondering the question, “Is there a relationship between learning modalities and creativity?”

As you may be aware, people primarily have three key modalities that they use when they’re learning or processing new information – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual people process new information visually. They need color, pictures, graphs and visuals.

Auditory people, on the other hand, are all about hearing. They need to hear a story, like music and enjoy conversation.

Kinesthetic people are the feeling people. They’re tactile folk who need to process things to get a gut feeling for it, throw it around in their mind and are quite touchy feely in their approach to learning, thinking and engaging with people.

In answer to my question, I think there is a relationship between finding great ideas and your learning modalities. Here’s how it might work: If you’re a visual person, then in order to unlock your great ideas, you need to see things. You need to be out and about with color, movement, pictures. The more you can see in terms of an idea or the more stimulation you can see, then the better your imaginative mind will work. Bland, boring, and colourless will not provoke good thinking for visual people.

Auditory people will need to have noise, conversation and even in some cases, silence around them, to be able to produce good ideas. A lot of auditory people will enjoy a conversation with somebody else, to stimulate their ideas. Others will like to have the radio, television or the background noise of a cafe in order to unlock their great ideas.

Kinesthetic people will think best when their hands are engaged and doing something. ie playing with a toy, clicking a pen, being able to play with a scale model or prototype, or page through a magazine. Kinesthetic people need to touch and feel things and be given the chance to process or throw things around in their mind to make sure it feels right. They won’t give you quick ideas, they’re best off thinking things through overnight.

Once you’ve established whether you’re a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, you’ll see that there are very simple things you can do to help stimulate better ideas in your mind.

What are the implications of this idea? When you run brainstorming sessions, you should use color, movement, interaction, conversation and combine all the modalities together so as to ensure that everybody in the room is engaged with their particular style. It’s time more corporations took on this type of thinking to eradicate boring, dull, quiet, emotionless offices, and also to get the best ideas out of their teams!

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