CREATIVITY: Destroy to create by Kevin Duncan

By Guest Contributor Kevin Duncan

Author of The Smart Thinking Book, Kevin Duncan, gives his thoughts on creativity and how and why you need to destroy in order to create.


Creativity thrives in stimulating environments, so make sure you provide one. In the fuzzy front end, everything is a mess. Don’t worry about this – it’s essential for making unexpected connections. Start by generating way more ideas than will ultimately be needed, then be ruthless in editing them down.

Don’t innovate all the time – it’s exhausting and distracting. Beware novelty overload, and remember that quitting can be winning. And don’t expect inspiration to strike miraculously – it doesn’t.  Instead, get to work and good things will follow.

Then once you alight on something genuinely innovative, pursue it with total conviction. Novelist Madeline L’Engle once said, “Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.”



All creativity involves some form of shot in the dark.

Discovering consists of seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

A leap from A to B, often via a somewhat unexpected C.

Small, incremental development of something that is already well established usually fails to provide sufficient differentiation.

So an element of destruction is needed.

Start by utterly ‘destroying’ the current version, solution, product, or whatever it is you are grappling with.

Clear the decks and try starting again.

Approach the challenge from two very different directions.

What do I know about it?

What don’t I know about it?

Somewhere in the answers to those two questions lies a new originality.


KEVIN DUNCAN is a business advisor, marketing expert, motivational speaker and author. After 20 years in advertising and direct marketing, he has spent the last 20 years as an independent troubleshooter, advising companies on how to change their businesses for the better.



Suggested Reading

This book contains over 70 pieces of distilled wisdom. Read each piece of advice in one minute or the whole book in an hour. It’s ideal for running strategy sessions. Growth, communication, innovation, creativity, relationships and thinking are all covered, with 12 pithy provocations for each area.

This fifth anniversary edition celebrates sales of 50,000 worldwide and includes brand new material in every section. The Smart Thinking Book has been translated into seven languages. Kevin Duncan is a business adviser and marketing expert. As a bestselling author, he has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. Find out more at


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