Paulina Larocca, How to Unleash Your Creative Power and Bring Ideas to Life – InnovaBuzz 499

Paulina Larocca

Paulina Larocca, Creative Catalyst

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Paulina Larocca, the founder of Creative Catalyst, a science-based creative problem-solving training and innovation consulting agency based in Sydney, AUS. She helps companies grow their business by training their people in the science of creative problem solving and applying the training to real-life business problems to generate innovation. She has worked with global companies like Absolut Vodka, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Telstra, and Seven West Media.

Paulina is also a keynote speaker on creating a culture of innovation and author of three books on innovation: A Catalyst for Creative Thinking; Harnessing Your Emotions to Enhance Your Creativity; The Holey Bible – How to Live a More Creatively Enlightened Life.

In our discussion, Paulina talked to me about:

  • Asking powerful questions that invite possibilities
  • Suspending judgment and challenging our assumptions
  • Why dreaming is valuable

Dr. Cathryn Lloyd in episode 259 and episode 486 introduced us to Paullina.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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All thinking is creative. We create stories about the things around us that are congruent with what we believe about the world, ourselves, and others. @Paulina_Larocca on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Paulina Larocca of Creative Catalsyt

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • The value of an education is to learn how to think.
  • It’s important to take the time to really analyse our beliefs and think about why we think the way that we do.
  • Creative thought and creative thinking are just 2 sides of the same coin.
  • True creativity is highly structured in its approach and impact.
  • Creativity is more than just something novel or useful.
  • All thinking is creative.
  • Everyone is creative. We create stories about the things around us that are congruent with what we believe about the world, ourselves, and others.
  • We are innate storytellers and we are extraordinarily creative. We take information in and assign meaning to them that they don’t actually have.
  • The story of who we are is a creative work of fiction that we are constantly editing.
  • Every one of us is supremely and powerfully creative.
  • Education teaches us how think more deeply about the things we’re thinking of that we may not really know.
  • The things we think are real because we see them or experience them may or may not be happening the way we think they do. It’s always worth questioning our beliefs because the assumptions that we make about how the world operates may or may not be true.
  • The word “creativity” didn’t exist in the Oxford English Dictionary until the 1930’s.
  • Creativity is more than just ideas. There are different ways of expressing it.
  • Creative problem-solving is all about asking the right questions whilst design thinking is primarily about innovation, user experiences, ideation, and empathy.
  • Creative problem-solving isn’t an innovation process. It includes less prototyping and experimentation. It doesn’t have a formula for working with insights that design thinking has. Putting them together, creative problem-solving and design thinking make a very powerful model. Having one is like having a flat map whilst having both gives you a 3D map experience.
  • You have to be a practitioner of both creative problem-solving and design thinking. If you’re going to teach these concepts, you have to be doing them so that you’ll know what’s working and not working, and you’re constantly evolving them.
  • Deferring judgement is a key creative principle.
  • There are tremendously bad ideas. It’s how you judge them that counts. It’s about deferring judgement and suspending it before rushing ahead. It is being a bit playful about the assumptions you are making.
  • When we defer judgement, we feel lighter. We seem bigger and more expansive. We become nicer human beings because we’re not rushing to judge. We become fully present and immersed in the experience.
  • Deferring judgement is related to mindfulness. It’s a muscle that you need to exercise and strengthen. The more you learn to defer judgement, the easier and more beautiful your life will become.
  • One the best places to start is to defer judgement of yourself. Think about the many labels that you attribute yourself – is that a choice or it really is the way you are programmed? Do you have a chance to play with some of those and have a different outcome? A lot of times, people don’t see you that way.
  • There’s value in deferring judgement and being aware of the things we think believe about ourselves. It’s also a nice way of being honest about the things that you want to remain attached to. It’s about being aware of them and being more deliberate about your choices.
  • Think more deeply about what you’re thinking about and make sure that it does serve you.
  • Good questions invite possibilities.
  • The brain isn’t capable of distinguishing what is real and what is vividly imagined. It doesn’t mean that it cannot identify a fact versus a fiction. It can but it doesn’t care from a cognitive perspective whether it’s a physical reality or not. It doesn’t have the same constraints that we have about what’s real and what’s not.
  • Our brains enjoy imagination. It enjoys entertaining possibilities. And when you entertain a vibrant possibility and put it as a question rather than statement, it keeps feeding your brain. The brain goes for it 24/7. It starts to put it in your dreams and when you keep doing it, it creates serendipity. You’ll meet the right person or the right thing just comes in.
  • Imagination is fanciful creativity.
  • Don’t be afraid of dreaming. Dream big and dream powerfully.
  • Asking incredible questions and giving yourself the license to dream can have profound effects across the world.
  • Don’t get too fixated on the problem. By the time you’ve defined it, you’ll realise it’s gone or it has changed. Deal with it as if it’s a living thing. Look at it as something that is organic and alive and work with it more generatively. It pays to think about where it’s going rather than where it is because it will give you more scope to move.
Good questions invite possibilities. @Paulina_Larocca on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round 

Here are Paulina’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Think very carefully about the questions you’re asking, even to the point of questioning whether or not you have a problem. Ask yourself – is it a problem or an opportunity? There’s a huge difference between the way you think about these two things.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Doing my Masters in Creative Problem-Solving. Invest in yourself. If you’re going to spend money, spend it investing in yourself because it will never be wasted.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Reframing.
  4. Keep project/client on track –  Train them upfront. Treat them with loving kindness but show them that the behaviours you want will be rewarded, not just for your sake but for their sake as well.
  5. Differentiate – Know who you are. Play to your strengths and be clear about what you don’t do.

To Be a Leader

Start practicing deferring judgment. Yes, you will judge. But learn how to suspend it a bit. Be more playful and question your thinking. Enjoy it playfully and see what it brings.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Paulina through her website.

Suggested Guest

Paullina suggested we have a conversation with Agavni Jessaijan of Heart Core Lab. So Agavni, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Paulina Larocca.


Cool Things About Paulina

  • She’s currently studying for her PhD in creativity and innovation.
  • She’s a university dropout with two postgraduate degrees.
  • She’s helped launched over 35 products, globally, including Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel.
Asking incredible questions and giving yourself the license to dream can have profound effects across the world. @Paulina_Larocca on #InnovaBuzz Podcast Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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