why creativity is a sport

Whenever a keynote is given about creativity, at some point Thomas Edison’s quote comes into play: "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration." Creativity is thought of as hard work. But why not see it as a sport? What if we reframe creativity?

We like to change the perception of the creative process to be an exciting and rewarding ride similar to running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Peak performance in work and sports equally requires gallons of sweat. However, work is associated with duty, discipline and compulsion, while sports are linked with passion, drive and enthusiasm.

practicing the sports of ideas

The sport of ideas is a metaphoric one. You start with nothing and end up with a great concept. On the way, you encounter feelings of curiosity, thrill, despair, playfulness and, if you succeed Innovator's High®. The sport consists of six phases. To better illustrate the phases, we'll compare them to the lifespan of a butterfly. They are Intention, Connection, Information, Incubation, Illumination, and Evaluation.

Fig: The metamorphic creative process.

reframing creativity

Creativity belongs to life.
It is a primal force; the principle of evolution;
the spark of innovation. Creativity solves problems in a blink.
Creativity is the answer!
The answer that moves mountains and releases endorphins.
Creativity drives people to surpass themselves.
Creativity is a sport.

experiencing Innovator’s High

Creative people (creatives) and athletes glow when they talk about their professions. One reason is because they both feel awesome after a "workout." While runners experience runner’s high, creatives experience Innovator’s HighSM. When Madonna was asked how she can tell the lyrics of a song to be successful? she replied, “When the hairs on my arms stand up. I just feel it, when something is working.” (ZEITmagazin. May, 2012).

scoring ideas

The goal of the sport of ideas is to score ideas that are novel and useful which, in a time where markets emerge and collapse overnight and globalization increases competition, is crucial for mind workers. The analogy between sports and goal-oriented creativity can be applied on various levels. A small problem is a sprint, while inventing a new product can be compared to a marathon.


We educate professionals and executives in building their creative iQ, thus better ideas propel humanity forward. We have developed a comprehensive training program for people to better understand their own resourcefulness, to facilitate optimal mutual inspiration among co-workers and experience Innovator’s HighSM.


iQudo equals: iQ + you do! The word "iQudo" is derived from: "iQ" and "Judo" (Japanese: meaning "gentle way"). We gently train the creative intelligence of people.
Robert Gerlach

about robert gerlach, creativity coach

Robert Gerlach is the first to reframe creativity as a sport. To the creativity educator teaching isn’t about explaining creativity techniques. Scoring ideas — like in sports — is a combination of skills, mental strength, teamwork and most of all, the surprising element of the game itself – the chaotic creative process.

Believing that everyone is an idea athlete, the German-born coach founded iQudo® in 2006. Since then, Robert has pioneered the invention of new methodologies to help facilitate creative knowledge to employees and managers of numerous companies, such as Amway, BASF, Microsoft, Samsung, and SAP. To stay on top of the creativity game, Robert mentors theses at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and released the landmark iQudo ideation survey 2015, which was published in Harvard Business Manager (01/2016).

Creativity coach Robert Gerlach