Published: March 6, 2019

Abigail Posner, head of strategy for Google’s Brand Unit, shared her top tips for unlocking creativity in a talk Tuesday in Macky Auditorium.

Posner was the third speaker in the university’s annual Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series. Other speakers include former Secretary of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency Director Robert Gates and the first woman of color in space, astronaut Mae Jemison. Posner was introduced by CU Boulder’s first female Rhodes Scholar Serene Singh.

Abigail Posner speaks during Leo Hill Leadership Speaker SeriesPosner began by taking a close look at today’s leaders vs. those of yesteryear. She noted historical American leaders excelled in military prowess, industry or raw wealth—and were mostly male. Today, that has changed.

Today’s leaders are leaders “because they are game changers who come up with transformative ideas.” So, how do you spur your own innate creativity?

Tip 1: See the why

People often fail to examine why people do what they do or what motivates them. If you are developing a product, for instance, ask why. In the case of Google, why do people use technology.

Tip 2: Look for the links

Make connections between seemingly different worlds and don’t filter yourself or your ideas, no matter how wild they seem. Tap your inner child. Don’t spend too much time ideating: Spend 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Don’t overthink.

Tip 3: Discover your mission

Ask yourself the big question: What is your purpose on this Earth?

Tip 4: Collaborate

You can’t successfully come up with new ideas without collaboration. Find people different from yourself. Hire people different from you. Brainstorm together. Break disciplinary boundaries. “Do not try to be creative on your own. It is very, very hard. Play together.”