Adaptation, Creativity, and Innovation In Today’s Covid-19 World

Dr. David J. Koehn Psychologist Fort Myers, Florida

Dr. David Koehn is a psychologist practicing in Fort Myers, FL. Dr. Koehn specializes in the treatment of mental health problems and helps people to cope with their mental illnesses. As a psychologist, Dr. Koehn evaluates and treats patients through a variety of methods, most typically being psychotherapy or talk therapy.... more

Adaptation, Creativity, and Innovation

In Today’s Covid-19 World


Dr. David J. Koehn


Taken from a series of resources on the internet, here is a perspective what should be a healthy approach to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Three key features are important to intersect – adaptation, creativity, and innovation. Adaptation is making necessary, flexible adjustments to critical challenges and problematic circumstances that confront us. Creativity is seeking out-of-the box ideas to overcome dysfunctional or aberrant conditions. Innovation is having the ability and motivation to execute those new ideas into action. Let’s take a peek at how these three not only intersect but interact to help us be successful under these dire Covid-19 circumstances. 

Restated, creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. According to psychologist Michael Kirton, there are two types of creativity: (1) adaptive creativity – adapting to something that exists and (2) innovative creativity – creating something new. Kirton saw Adaption-Innovation as a continuum cognitive style, a "preferred mode of tackling problems at all stages."  

All of us can use both styles of creative problem solving and I contend both are needed to deal with our current pandemic situation. People who score on the KAI as Adaptive tend to accept the paradigm within which a problem is embedded (current theories, policies, points of view). They are likely to produce a few ideas that aim at continuity with the practices, norms, and current way of doing things, but bring about a better way of doing them. To be successful over time, most people will necessarily be adaptive in their orientation.

It is more costly and risky but also critical, especially in the Covid-19 conundrum, to continually do things in a different way. Kirton remarks that Adaptors are at their best "in the smooth, efficient operation of an existing system; creatively refining, improving, and extending the thinking that underlies it.

People who score on being Innovative tend to "detach the problem from its cocoon of accepted thought," to step out of the "box" or paradigm. They tend to redefine a problem, produce many ideas, break through what most perceive as givens and restraints, and provide solutions aimed at doing things differently. While a person is growing and maintaining himself or herself in predictable ways and in a predictable environment, innovative solutions are not necessarily preferable. That said, people cannot survive and be successful in this Covid-19 pandemic if they're unable to break through with new thinking and acting.

Studies suggest that each problem mode has its advantages, and the most successful people are those able to use both problem solving styles flexibly. Innovators experience problems in communication because it is difficult to get others to see outside the box, and they are often met with skepticism. Perhaps as a consequence, Innovators tend to be condescending to Adaptors, who can be very resourceful and come up with excellent solutions to ongoing problems, but who tend to work within the rules, to seek consensus, and to prefer change that occurs gradually.

Thus Adaptors are often seen by innovators as unimaginative, stuck, resistant to change, always focused on problems versus solutions, and/or lacking a view of the big picture. Because innovative solutions are less easily understood and have unpredictable outcomes, and because such break-through change is threatening, Innovators are often seen by Adaptors as undisciplined, impractical, irreverent, abrasive, and/or insensitive to people. Clearly, a better understanding of these different creative styles – and the value of each under certain circumstances – can lead to stronger, more flexible integration within oneself as well as  and more successful interaction with others who have a preference of one problem style over the other. Consider using the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) site to help you be creative in light of Covid-19 pandemic.

In summary, to get you jumpstarted with being an integrative Adaptor/Innovator, here are 30 creative ways to spend your newfound free time:

  1. Write your best friend a postcard (people LOVE mail).
  2. Schedule a Skype or FaceTime session with your friends and family so you know when you’ll next “see” them.
  3. Have a movie marathon. You could pick an interesting theme, like travel (Lost in Translation, Wild, Before Sunrise), art history (The Da Vinci Code, Goya’s Ghosts, Frida).
  4. Do crafts - string beads into a bracelet, try knitting or try painting by numbers.
  5. Give yourself a mani/pedi.
  6. Create a playlist with happy songs, and sing along!
  7. Browse your cookbooks or food blogs for an easy but healthy meal.
  8. Call a supportive friend or family member.
  9. Have a go at sudokus and crossword puzzles, watch TED talks or listen to captivating podcasts.
  10. Give your bedroom a mini makeover – especially if you spend much time in it! Hang new pictures on the wall, change up your pillow covers or display pretty items on a mirrored tray. Browse Pinterest for cute but doable DIY ideas.
  11. Reminisce by compiling a photo book of the special moments in your life.
  12. Turn a boring day in bed into a ‘slumber party for one’ - put on a movie, make some dark chocolate and sea salt popcorn and lean into the downtime.
  13. Build your own fantasy football team and join an online competition.
  14. Learn to play a new song.
  15. Bake something sweet yet nourishing.
  16. Keep a journal. It can be a safe way to express your feelings as well as boost your happiness by listing what you’re grateful for – despite your struggles – each day.
  17. Treat your body well - do some gentle stretching and nourish yourself with herbal teas or veggie juices.
  18. Watch an entire season of your favorite TV series - take advantage of the downtime.
  19. Create a physical mood board. Collect inspiring images, magazine clippings, motivational quotes or fabrics – anything that helps you visualize your dreams, decorating scheme or signature look.
  20. Sink into the tub for a long luxurious bath, with bubbles of course!
  21. Play Solitaire, solo chess or a smart game.
  22. Go for a slow walk around the block. Maybe you can pick up a magazine or flowers to boost your mood.
  23. Document your daily life with photographs. Even a dull day becomes fascinating when you’re trying to spot the beauty in everyday moments.
  24. Find something that makes you laugh: a YouTube-video, hilarious joke or a comedy show.
  25. Buy a coloring book for adults and get your crayons ready for some soothing creativity.
  26. Grow a small herb garden in your window box.
  27. Plan a fun event for when you're not needing to social distance – a mini road trip, a concert or a night out with friends. You could also buy a Future Listography Journal and make lists of all the cool things you hope to do one day.
  28. Disconnect from the world for a little while. Listen to relaxing music and just stare out the window.
  29. Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and may have a negative affect on your emotional state.
  30. Plan and cook a meal with friends through Skype or FaceTime.