Over the past ten years I have read countless articles, blog posts, tweets, etc. telling me all the reasons why we make mistakes in business, why we aren’t good at being creative, and why innovations fail. Many times, authors aren’t offering the good with the bad:
- The Top 10 Startup Mistakes:http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/startup/a/startupmistakes.htm
- The Top 50 reasons Innovation Fail: http://www.innofuture.com.au/top-50-reasons-innovation-will-fail/#
- Why Aren’t People Creative? http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57565381/why-arent-people-creative/
The focus is so often pointing out why things don’t work or why people can’t do something or why we create burden by being in survival mode, the corporate culture is oppressive, or we just don’t have the capacity to do so because of who we are.
It’s easy to find the bad, the wrong and the error-prone. In fact, it is exponentially easier to find faults than it is to find one good reason, and here I am proposing my top five reasons why we are all creative:
- We are all explorers: Have you ever observed a baby when given a new object to play with? The first thing they do (well, 9 out of 10 times) with it is put it in their mouth without any fear. They don’t know what it is for, maybe it’s a primal instinct that it is food and they want to taste it, and they are constantly figuring out what it is until they find a use for it. Its not a rattle until it makes noise, its not a ball until it bounces and it certainly isn’t food until it can be consumed. It is this exploration that drives our capacity to be creative.
- We are all artists: As soon as we figured the real use of crayons and markers, everything was a canvas. And on these canvases we sketched, we drew, we colored what ever our heart and mind could conjure up. We created heads with long arms and legs (torsos didn’t exist in our world), the sun was purple and the grass was definitely orange. There is no second-guessing. There are no rules regulating our world (until we were told we had to color inside the lines). It didn’t matter; the images and the sensing that went along with them were undefined and spectacular in the same breath. We didn’t care if we were wrong, because we knew we were right. It is our artistic method that drives our capacity to be creative.
- We are all students: From an early age we get introduced to schooling and the proper way to learn how to read, write and do arithmetic. It is the method of learning that helps us be creative, not the subject matter. Through the lessons, the homework, the projects we figure out how to assimilate the material so that we can understand it our own way. We do this by making connections to the subject matter (that’s why the dreaded word problems is the best way to learn math) and using the connections as a learning process. Once we realize that connections can exist between any two or more objects—we have to allow ourselves to see them with out the need to be exactly correct. It is this connection making ability that drives our capacity to be creative.
- We are all poets: The metaphor is a powerful tool used by many poets, it gives us the ability to see the world with new understanding. The metaphor illuminates, highlights and structures our thought processes so we are surrounded with what we already know. We use the metaphor to explain our world to others, most often by accident, and it creates a common understanding across differing mindsets. We use the metaphor to understand complicated concepts and issues. The metaphor is the great artistic equalizer. When we use metaphors we drive our capacity to be creative.
- We are all experts (in something): Through out life we all become experts in the most important thing of all…our own lives. We have experiences and learning that we rely on to be ourselves. We carry this learning with us. When we tap into this expertise we can then apply it to any situation to help overcome issues, solve problems or achieve new results. It is our own expertise in our lives that drives our capacity to be creative.
When we realize that yes, we are all creative individuals no matter who we are or what we do, we then can top into our explorer self, our artistic self, our student self and our poet self to bring our expertise forward. It is what we know that makes us creative. It is whom we are that makes us creative. It’s how we interact (and react) to what is around us that makes us creative. It is reaching back into our former selves that ultimately will bring our creative capacity to the forefront of our being.
To drive creativity in your organization, let your employees (and yourself) be who they are and let them tap into these inner-selves so that they can unleash the innate creativity that for one reason or another has been insulated behind expectations on how we are supposed to think and behave in the workplace.
Creativity is the main component to being innovative. Creativity also leads to better productivity, newer ideas and faster growth both of the individual and in the business in the form of new products, services, and processes. Therefore, I suggest you:
- Seek out your explorers and give them something new to discover in their work.
- Let the artistic musings loose and let them craft newness with a blank canvas.
- Bring the students together and give them something to absorb and transfer to the business.
- Find your poet laureates and provide them with new subjects to write about.
- Remember, everyone is an expert, and your business needs experts. So let them all have some time to share what they know.