An exercise for Creative Leaders

Arne van Oosterom
2 min readJun 1, 2019


A creative leader understands creative problem solving. Here are some thoughts and a technique/ exercise I recommend and I’m sure you will enjoy.

Creative problem solving starts by recognizing (behavioral/ systemic) patterns by observation, changing perspectives and creating interventions. Interventions help you recognize patterns and will help to understand how to change or replace them with new patterns.

We are all part of systems and our brain is conditioned / programmed. However, you can train yourself in recognizing patterns. Try to start with recognizing your own behavioral patterns (how do you brush your teeth, when do you go to sleep, how do you behave in different situations) and change them, do the opposite, add or leave something out.

Ask someone close to you about what they think ‘you always do’.

Do this and pay attention to how this makes you feel. Often we will resist and it creates negative energy (breaking patterns is not the path of least resistance), but when you create new patterns it is very rewarding. ;-)

It is my believe that Creative Leadership starts with the skill of recognizing patterns by not keeping to the script and having the courage and curiosity to deviate from the beaten path.

This always reminds me of a line from a poem by Belle van Zuylen:

“Returning is not the same as staying”

Belle van Zuylen (1740–1805) was an author and composer from the age of enlightenment and an inspirational critical thinker of her time. She also famously said, “I have no talent for subservience”.

To me it is a beautiful reminder we should never stop challenging the systems we are part of and keep changing perspectives to see different realities and keep growing.

Have fun with the exercise and please share what you experienced.



Arne van Oosterom

Podcaster, Founder Blue Sky Republic, Creative Leadership Coach, Founder DesignThinkers Academy, DesignThinkers Group, Artis & Photographer