Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Last week, I attended a wonderful work-related conference. In the final presentation, one of the PowerPoint slides read "Innovate." Although this was the very last presentation, many of the participants were gone, that word struck a chord within me. Innovate.

Innovation only happens in the presence of creativity. Creativity arises from that gently open space inside that feels like magic. The open wonder of play.

Play isn't the only place where we find creativity, but it certainly is the most free, and the most freeing. If you watch children at play, on a school playground, in a park, at a party, you see them making up rules as they go along. When they are young, we applaud this creativity. As children reach 8 or 9, or begin to participate in team sports, we insist they follow specific sets of regulations. This is a good thing in terms of becoming law-abiding, rule-following members of society.

In terms of creativity, the strictest rule-abiders find themselves stymied. This is what the social psychologist Erich Fromm's statement addresses. Abiding by rules implies that particular outcomes are certain: win or lose, right or wrong, success or failure. Yet to innovate, to be fully in the flow of those creative juices, requires ~ not suggests, but demands ~ that I risk and challenge the absolute, the certain, the clearly defined.

Throughout my life, I've rarely seen myself as a risk-taker. And yet.... I've taken great risks that have led to some of the most amazing results: moving half-way across the country with only what could fit in my van and no job; applying for law school; applying for, and getting, a job in Cairo, Egypt. None of these, or others I could list, were certain successes. Yet all of them led to life-changing, wonderful, incredible creative moments in my worldview.

To innovate in my life right now requires me to let go of what appears as certain, to risk failure (or what others might describe as failure), to allow creativity to crack through the shell with which I surround myself. I embrace the challenge!

How do you allow creativity into your life? What does innovation mean to you? What keeps you from being more creative, more innovative? What courageous first step will you take to change that?

No comments:

Post a Comment