What does it mean to be creative and innovative in a world that is undergoing unprecedented technological change? Why do I want to be creative? I have long understood that creativity extends well beyond literature and the visual arts to encompass a way of thinking that brings about ideas that can be converted into solutions and as a means of tackling previously unthought-of innovations.
As a writer, avid reader and enthusiastic photographer, creative thought is constantly at the forefront of my mind. But how many opportunities do I miss when I fail to act upon those promptings. Thinking about creativity in the workplace, I have witnessed many inspired ideas, even offered some of my own, which get no further than the last minutes of a group meeting. During my employment with a large not-for-profit over six years, I needed to be open and creative in my thinking, if our mission to help disadvantaged individuals and families achieve positive pathways to better lives was to be fulfilled. Not an easy task!
Watching innovation guru Steven Johnson’s animated clip Where do good ideas come from?” got me thinking about the processes involved. One thing that clearly stood out for me was the need for collaboration to help to fill in the missing gaps in our creative thinking. Being in a vacuum is not much help to fulfil your purpose. Johnson makes the comment about a “historic increase in connectivity” which is bringing more people together from a wider sphere and more opportunities to share ideas. There is also the aspect of where or the environmental factors that offer a conducive space to create. Staring at a blank screen at my office desk rarely sparks my imagination but transport me elsewhere where my senses can be stimulated and shared with others, may be the genesis of a brilliant idea.
There is no doubt that that we will see monumental changes in the near future as to how we work, live and play. We can adopt the doom and gloom attitude or embrace the chance to change things in clever and meaningful ways. One of the challenges I see is to ensure that in this race towards new innovations that we do not leave the vulnerable behind. Hopefully, as I explore this subject in more depth, I will be part of the solution not the problem
Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.