February 22, 2021

Since when was comfort a prerequisite for creativity?

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Most organizations pay lip service to the idea of innovation, but they secretly want their employees to just do their jobs.

Innovation might be something they want to want, and know they should want, and enjoy telling people that they do want.

But spend a few minutes inside one of these companies, where the majority of people’s jobs is to not get fired, and quickly you’ll see that what they really want is to pick the safest idea with the greatest potential to keep things exactly as they are.

Strangely enough, that’s okay with me. It’s not my job to be the world’s innovation manager. My savior complex isn’t that strong. My interest is not in convincing organizations who don’t practice innovation that they’re wrong.

Rather, my focus is on the people and teams who actually want to become prolific in their creative work. To quote the founder of my startup, a company is, among many things, a marketplace of ideas.

It’s this magical bazaar where people regularly gather to sell and purchase intellectual effects, conceptual assets and creative goods.

Does that resonate with your organizational culture? If so, read on.

Today we’re going to explore a tool from the personal creativity management system that will help keep your ideas marketplace open for business.

It’s called caving, which is a tool for trusting the creative process to lead you towards profitable discoveries. The whole concept hinges on a question that, frankly, should be plastered on your office walls:

How can we do something we’ve never done before today?

It may sound like a zen koan, but it’s exactly what innovating feels like. Walking through a cave where you can only see six feet in front of you. And so, if somebody on your team has potentially game changing idea, something that is difficult to visualize in its nascent state, give them the green light anyway.

Encourage them to surprise themselves as they learn what the idea wants to be, rather than forcing it into a box. It’s the difference between creating and discovering, and it’s a powerful awareness plan for driving innovation.

Ultimately, if you truly want your organization to innovate and influence the broader culture with your products, then the tools are ready for you. It may not feel as safe as the status quo, but then again, since when was comfort a prerequisite for creativity?

Are you interested in innovating, or interested in looking like an organization that innovates?

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