Editor’s Note: Luisa Lopez – February 2021

Creativity. Innovation. Invisible magic!
There was a tense, fertile powerful silence.  I was invited as speaker, at the UNIFE meeting, in Lima, Peru.  The meeting was part of a series of the programmed encounters in preparation to the “Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo” held by UNDP in Washington D.C later that year.  We had an ice-breaker session, as part of the international conference: a safari among ideas together with the directors of all the other projects presented at the “Innovative Strategies for Andean Women’s participation in Digital Economy” meeting, from Korea to Colombia.  The facilitator of this session, an experienced psychologist, an explorer of thoughts with charismatic gestures, was standing among the chairs in the stalls.  Theme of the speech: improving inventiveness / innovation in daily work.
How to provoke an eruption of vitality from the abysses of routine? The facilitator asked us to take a piece of paper from the table and write what Creativity was for us. One minute to do the exercise. Time passed quickly… 59, 58, 57…seconds… Assailed by uncertainty and mentally clinging to the handrail of habit, I continued to elaborate obvious definitions. I could not reverse the gravity of my thoughts and make the quality jump that could let me fly lightly… tick tock… time was running out… In the last few seconds, I scribbled simple, banal, obvious words, praying that he wouldn’t ask to read the assignment.
Unexpected twist: after the rehearsal, the facilitator invited us to make paper balls with our notes and throw them at each other. “Stronger, throw, throw!” No requests to read the assignment. “I see terrified looks between you. Here is the time to consider, perhaps your teams may feel the same way during a meeting,” he told us before throwing a paper ball, “I wanted you to experience under your skin what the fear of other people’s judgment is. The fear of feeling rejected lowers the risk margin, leads the proposals into a consolidated track. This is a killer effect for the imagination”, he finally explained.
How, then, to give a new angle to our imagination? Unhinging the “automatic pilot” and starting to observe carefully to discover that Creativity is about all kinds of imaginative innovation, not just genius masterpieces.  In fact, the dazzling book “Creative Confidence” by Tom Kelley suggests that you can think of your creativity as a muscle that you could train and use to find innovative solutions to problems. Blindness to change, selective perception, out of control stereotypes: these are some of the “hatches” we fall into all the time, and do you know why? Ours is an ecological brain forced to economize by making many actions automatically. But we can unhinge it.
Train yourself to understand the anatomy of the daily pitfalls we create to trick ourselves. Plus, be sure to read another unmissable book “The Art of Innovation. Lessons in creativity from IDEO” suggested by our Vice President, Florencia Barbieri, and written by Tom Kelley and Jhonathan Littman.  Many thanks to Florencia for her review shared with our PWA Community to enhance professional women empowerment, remembering us that Sharing is Caring!

Or, allow yourself to participate in tonight’s conference, a discussion board where experts on the field of successful communication will dispense interesting tips to draw your thoughts freely and then communicate them effectively to others, but remember that the fuel of this intense process will have to be the change of your point of view.
A few months ago, I went crazy looking for my set of mini headphones in the house. I took it, left it somewhere, then in my haste I went out without putting it in my bag. A flash buzzed in my head suggesting that I had done something unusual. When I returned in the evening, it was no longer where I use to place it and no one could have taken it. I looked for it everywhere, overturning bags, drawers and even the bed. Well. It was in the shoe cabinet. Red cover, very visible: I had it in my hand as I dressed and, without recording the information, I had forgotten it there. It became invisible because that was not the place where I imagined I saw it last time and it vanished to my eyes. The day I stopped thinking about it, I found it. Anyone would see it, it was so striking. I stopped focusing on the problem and the solution came.
Opening your gaze to the new will do incredibly good to your self-esteem: it will make you more creative, enlightened, and innovative. Begin to appreciate the wonders you usually take for granted. As the poet Jack Gilbert wrote: “To see the stars we must unlearn the constellations.” and anything can happen… life has more imagination than us.
Where is the unexpected moment that creates amazement hidden: magic? Where is magic? Clue: it is everywhere, even if invisible.

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