Do you want innovation to proceed? Then pay attention to the people

Imagine your plans are less effective than you anticipated. There’s pressure to perform differently, successfully. Conditions have changed; time now to adapt or innovate.

SoftplaceYou want to overcome obstacles, use creativity, and creative thinking. You want to access imagination, dream up what could be next, chart a different course, engage interested parties, and marshall resources to achieve results.

You want new outcomes, new ideas, new decisions, new actions.

So, what’s the first thing you do? Perhaps go to experts, listen to what they say. Perhaps you survey others to see if they have the same challenge and how they handle it. Perhaps you listen to podcasts about changes and trends that affect how you operate.

You might call together a group of colleagues to brainstorm insights. You could use a design thinking or other creative problem-solving process to uncover missing gaps from which to gain an advantage. You might look for inefficiencies at the macro and micro levels. Whatever your process, you find something that could work. Brava!

Now, what if, after all your effort, your colleagues use critical thinking first, and say the solution won’t work. End of story. Then what? You might feel dejected, sad, hurt. You might decide you haven’t the courage to do it again, to submit new thinking to solve new problems. You might make up a story about why your ideas weren’t accepted, take it personally or blame others. Your behavior might change as a result in ways that impact your overall performance and attitude towards your organization, your boss, your teammates.

Innovation_ConversationWhat if instead, your colleagues respond to new ideas in ways that support your creative thinking? Innovation is really about the people involved and how they work together, with the intended audience. Innovation is about people.

One aspect of World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 is to remember to apply new thinking to new thinking – to discuss and/or hold conversations about new ideas rather than to immediately criticize them.

Here’s a four-step process you can use with colleagues, friends, clients, suppliers, children and other people with whom you regularly interact during WCIW this year. Do this, and you will honor, encourage and help facilitate people’s creative thinking.

You can use the Angel’s Advocate approach:

  1. Affirm first – say what’s good about the idea (even if you don’t like it – stretch your thinking)
  2. Future potentials – say what some positive potentials might be for this idea in the long run (even if you don’t like it – stretch your thinking)
  3. Objections and obstacles – mention your concerns and the idea’s limitations
  4. Strengthen the relationship – in dialogue, talk about ways to overcome concerns, to strengthen or modify the solution, discuss how well this fits the challenge, and/or problem-solve the findings together.

Share how you are contributing to World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21, to help acknowledge, support and release creative energy worldwide.

Human creativity cannot be suppressed

Scarcity is attractive.  Research shows imposed limits motivate people to act: consumers are led to purchase using phrases ‘limited time offer’, ‘ first 30 people get a 30% discount’, and ‘only 100 left’ for example. [Other scarcities such as clean water, nourishing food, arable land, honeybees, and so on are also motivating people to take action.]

Creativity is not scarce. It is common. I was quoted once saying, “if you breathe, you create”.  Remove the scarcity of creativity, the common beliefs that some have it, others don’t, or some people are more creative than others, and so on, and creativity may become less attractive.  Except…

Creativity signals a restlessness to improve conditions. To explore, discover, experiment, question.  We create because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion.

It’s human nature to use the power of imagination to adapt to and initiate change for the better. Once we have the idea,  insight,  framework,  ability to compare what can be with what used to be, we gather with others to innovate; to make it so.

Celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 this year, and every year. Share how you’ll be exercising your passion for new, different, better with the world.


Passion Comment adapted from Dead Poet’s Society:  We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

 

Planting seeds for WCIW2017; 6 questions and a game

Some people ask for advice on what to do for their World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017 (April 15-21 every year).

“Hm.  I’m not sure.” I often reply. Then I ask questions like these.

  • What might you do?
  • What opportunities present themselves?
  • What pet peeves would you like to solve?
  • What would you like to experiment with for yourself, your family, your team, your organization, your community that you can use WCIW as an excuse for?
  • What’s something different from your day to day routine can you inject during that week?
  • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do and haven’t had the chance to get around to doing yet?

If you are not already a @worldcreativity follower, I suggest you become one; different reminders and prompts for celebrating WCIW2017 are offered everyday.

Creative energy abounds. We each have a storehouse of creativity and WCIW is a week to let it loose, let it go for a run, so to speak. To nurture it, welcome it, in yourself and others.

Here’s a game that was made up to help you stir your thinking.  Using the letters W C I W, create as many different four-word sentences for what you might do, or others, for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21, this year.  #wciwgame to share.  Others are already there. First word starts with W, second with C, third with I, fourth with W.  See what you can come up with.

 

wciwgame

Become more comfortable with change during WCIW2017

Change is uncomfortable, and change is all around.

WCIW was created to  open the door to help people actualize, use, their natural creativity  (for example combining two things which haven’t been mixed together before [in any field, not limited to art]). Creativity by nature, involves change, different, new.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to remain with the familiar; sometimes not.  With so much change on the horizon, wouldn’t it be great to become more comfortable with its discomfort?

One way to become comfortable with change is to initiate it, to do something differently than the norm.  We began a new diet in our house recently and with it came complaints, confusion, and curiosities about ways to make it work. Adapting to change is part of the creative process – and it takes energy.

If you are looking for a project for WCIW2017, consider challenging or changing one of your long time habits.  Perhaps find a new way to get to work, or express affection to someone in a different way.  Each of these counts as partner celebrations for WCIW.

This poem, by Sam Walter Foss was written in 1895. It shows how conformity and habits can be incrementally built.  Read it out loud.  Take note of the connections you make to your life and the habits you might have built up over the years.

calfpath

One day through the primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And there by hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the train o’er hill and glade
Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out
And dodged and turned and bent about
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed – do not laugh-
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding woodway stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.

The forest path became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And thus, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed this zigzag calf about
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent
To well established precedent.

change-300x201

Inspiration for this post came by randomly re-reading pages  77-81 of The Magic of Your Mind by Sidney J. Parnes, Bearly Limited, 1981.  Sid was my professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity where I began studying in 1977.

WCIW Founding Ground

WCIW April 15-21 was founded in 2001 using the following principles as guides. The week begins on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday April 15 and ends on World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 every year.

Its purpose is to provide time to allow, encourage and enable new thinking to create new futures; to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too

Over the years the celebration has involved people, families, organizations and communities world-wide.  You can see some of #2017wciw April 15-21 here. More are added as people upload their WCIW activities.

WCIW is inclusive, no matter how big or small, please include your celebration to show others you are here, active and creating.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is the spark of life, the vitality that stirs desires to improve and change the status quo—meaningfully, responsibly, wisely, and with impact.

This spark is inherent; we are born with it. Using its light, we build upon the past, imprint the present, imagine the future, and connect to forever.

Why Do We Create?

Creativity is a condition of being human. We explore new territory, invent procedures, adapt behaviors, develop  systems, and create new knowledge to increase the likelihood of survival and fulfillment.

Human creativity extends from our biological imperative to procreate. It’s as natural as that.

Do We All Create the Same Way?

Like love, creative expression varies from person to person and from culture to culture.

There are many ways to access creativity. Individuals, groups, cultures, and purposes are all unique and the same approaches do not necessarily appeal all.

This is why WCIW is a do-it-yourself celebration. You celebrate in a way that befits your context.

Would you like to add creativity practices for people to experiment with?  Feel free to add techniques, methods and habits that promote creativity and innovation in the comments below.

When Do We Create?

We create in response to or to initiate a restlessness to grow beyond where we are. We may feel moved, for example, to add structure, build relations and connections, inspire and/or excite others’ curiosity to accomplish this. We might also be driven to gain inner clarity, identify purpose, harvest wisdom and/or advance using  foresight.

How Does It Feel to Create?

Creativity yields feelings of freedom, power, connection, clarity, satisfaction, curiosity, dread, confusion.  People report emotions spanning from fear and depression to elation and joy.  Bottom line: creativity involves emotions, feeling along with thinking. Intuition is also involved as is tactile concrete sensing.

According to the Center for Non-Violent Communication, emotions can signal whether a need is being met (positive emotion) or not being met (negative emotion).

How does World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 fit?

The week begins Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15, and concludes on World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, each year.  It serves as an invitation and reminder to all people to access their natural creating energy; to make space and time to generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions, ask new questions, create new outcomes by altering thinking, challenging assumptions, wondering what if…observing new things, and behaving a little differently, even if only for a moment, so a new light can shine and permit new futures to be planned and emerge.

Please share how you will engage in WCIW this year.  Add your #wciw2017 celebration here, no matter how big or small, WCIW is inclusive.

Parts of this text is adapted from Creativity and Personality Type: Tools for Understanding and Inspiring the Many Voices of Creativity (Segal, M. Telos, 2001) which in now out of print. WCIW was founded in 2001, on May 25.

Adobe State of Create Study 2016. More support for #wciw2017 Infographic and highlights

Feel free to use  Adobe’s State of Create 2016 Report findings to fuel your inspiration to celebrate and leverage World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21, 2017.

“With our 2016 State of Create study, we set out to quantify just how much impact creativity has and the results are impressive. Globally, respondents believe that being creative is valuable for society, and it fuels innovation, economic growth, and even happiness. Yet, only three in 10 people feel that they are living up to their creative potential.

So, the question is: why not? Why aren’t we prioritising creativity when we know it’s beneficial? The call to action for all of us is to simply take a step back and create. The bottom line is companies that encourage and empower employees to create are driving results and employees who think creatively are bound to succeed. And for students, it underscores a broader opportunity – not just what, but also how we prepare students for the real world — creativity helps businesses win.”

Mala Sharma, VP & GM of Creative Cloud Product, Marketing and Community, Adobe

Infographic

Report

Creativity + anger = ?

A friend posted an updated graphic of Pandora’s box on Facebook.
It reflects a sentiment resulting from the recent US election.

pandora 2016
http://www.resistsubmission.com

Stream of consciousness using a creativity lens:

  • Disruptions to status quo stimulate new combinations of thoughts, policies, procedures, practices.
  • New combinations underpin creativity.
  • Stirring status quo also facilitates experiences of emotion.
  • What and how are people are transforming as a result?
  • Facilitated by  feeling uncertain, excited, anxious, disappointed, elated, betrayed, marginalized, joyous, and/or hopeful, how does human determination  to create and/or contribute to a better future show up?
  • Creativity is a birthright to all.
  • New ideas, new decisions, new actions, new outcomes.

Wouldn’t it be great for everyone to share and celebrate this natural energy, rather than deny and punish its life giving essence?  There are many ways to sign-on to using World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21, 2017  a week beginning on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday (April 15).

What might be all the ways that #wciw2017 can play an important role in your life and the life of others moving forward?

Here are some:

  • skill building in creative thinking, creative process, tools, techniques
  • community building
  • creative problem solving
  • social innovation
  • celebrations
  • awards for new inventions, creative juxtapositions
  • inspirational messages
  • research sharing
  • global connections with new perspectives
  • planning creative output/activities for the year to come
  • assessing progress in new thinking
  • reviewing new inventions, trends
  • holding discussions, conversations

Remember to earmark World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 in your calendar and to share your activities, plans, intentions, here and #wciw2017.

THINK PIECES

Campbell Quote in Kaufmann medium article

  • Quotes from a brain scan study of jazz musicians at the University of California, San Francisco, by one of the study researchers looking into the effect of emotion on creativity, neuroscientist Dr. Charles Limb:

“Humans seem to need creativity in order to understand and examine the human experience.”

“It appears that the nature of an emotion — whether it is positive or negative —has a significant impact on the mechanisms our brain uses for creative tasks when motivated by these emotions.”

Remember to earmark World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 in your calendar and to share your activities, plans, intentions, here and #wciw2017.

Open minds, hearts, eyes to new ideas, new decisions, new actions: one week worldwide

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