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Multiple Thinkfluencers (3)

Lizi Hamer | Ali Shabaz | Scott Woodward

Power Bite: Creativity & Discomfort Zones

Feb 8, 2022 | 4m


Creativity & Discomfort Zones

First things first, everyone can be (and is) creative. And if you think you’re “just not creative,” think again. Creative powerhouses Lizi Hamer, Scott Woodward, and Ali Shabaz are here to show you that creativity is a skill you can practice and build upon. To get you started, here are some ideas and habits that have played no small part in their success.

Learn Everything

Build a habit of learning something new. Ali Shabaz, former Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Group, recommends focusing on skills that scare the hell out of you. If you’re afraid of public speaking, join Toastmasters. If you profess that you’re ‘not good at’ languages, learn a new one.

You’ll see that with practice, the discomfort and fear not only fades, but makes way for joy in time. Developing novel ideas will require learning to power through doubts that naysayers and you, the creator, may have. Giving yourself the space to practice helps you push past that.

Take a Different View

Develop creative solutions by intentionally considering other viewpoints. Lizi Hamer, APAC Regional Creative Director at Octagon, recommends challenging you, and your team, to put yourself in your favorite celebrity or role model’s shoes.

The exercise invites you to ask: How do your suggestions support the celebrity’s values? What concerns would they have? For instance, how would you approach the problem at hand if you were Richard Branson and valued partnerships? What if you were Lizzo who takes care and pride in supporting the communities she’s built? By doing so, you stretch yourself to consider the world beyond the one you know and present different solutions.

Seek Conflict

Reframe how you view disagreements with your partners. Scott Woodward, Photographer for National Geographic and Vogue, has learned that being in agreement all the time simply means you’re not pushing each other to be the best. Your partners, or team, should bring out something in you that you didn’t know you had.

For instance, Woodward once shared a photograph he was really proud of with collaborator and filmmaker Mike Rogers. Rogers pointed out that while the photographs were technically brilliant, he wasn’t able to use them in his film because they lacked a story.

It was tough to hear, but the advice helped Woodward to become a better photographer. Instead of focusing on getting the perfect shot, he’s since learned to build a story, and bring his viewers into the captured moment. The creative process is not supposed to be easy. Learn to embrace respectful tension so that you, and your ideas, may grow.

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Lizi Hamer

Executive Creative Director | Former Senior Art Director

Octagon | Saatchi & Saatchi


Ali Shabaz

Chief Creative Officer

M&C Saatchi Group Singapore | Publicis Groupe


Scott Woodward


National Geographic | Vogue | GQ



Creative Thinking