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!