“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
“Creativity takes courage. ”
— Henri Matisse
In my efforts to continue being both a student and teacher about female entrepreneurship in the iEra, where one needs to balance humanity and technology more than ever, I have been curating content related to creativity in learning and in entrepreneurship. I’ve been inspired to do so, and inspired to write my latest series about it, because creativity fuels problem solving and collaboration; the 2 hallmarks of successful entrepreneurship in our shared economy.
This is something I was again reminded of, after reading Ed Catmull’s book, Creativity Inc. and this excellent post about implications for building and sustaining a culture that’s creative, productive, and consistently excellent. This is something I was pondering again, when I reviewed (on Amazon) Mary Anne Kochut’s book, Power vs. Perception: Ten Characteristics of Self-Empowerment for Women. Coincidently, although I don’t believe that things happen randomly 🙂 , I finished reading her book right after attending WomanCon 2014 and hearing these eloquent words from Dr. Susan Duffy, Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson in Boston:
“We know women will change the world. We know there’s more than one way of doing things. We know that women entrepreneurs will make all our thoughts and behavior better. We are creating the net positive change for others. Your time is now.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an Autism specialist/educator/speech-language pathologist turned social entrepreneur, it’s that creativity is honed through action, not thought. That’s why I wrote about actively pursuing problem solving for better innovation using a 5 step plan in both my Socially Speaking™ Social Skills Curriculum and in my book, The NICE Reboot. That’s why I want to share 5 tips for increasing creativity both at work and at home. Tips that came to me while reading these profound quotes from Ed Catmull, which I will share below:
1. The process of developing a story is one of discovery. Get more sleep so that your brain can function better.So it can make better decisions by being allowed to process the information of the day, being allowed to dream, and being allowed to rest. Rethink your work/life priorities. Take time to digitally “detox”. Take time for yourself.
2. Being open about problems is the first step towards learning from them. As leaders we should think of ourselves as teachers and try to create companies in which teaching is seen as a valued way to contribute to the success of the whole. One of the most crucial responsibilities of leadership is creating a culture that rewards those who lift not just our stock prices but our aspirations as well. Find opportunities to speak your mind, especially about solutions and causes near and dear to your heart and moral compass. Get speaking gigs, start posting on social media, start blogging, and start creating your legacy and digital footprint that provides meaningful, useful, and relevant virtual mentorship and thought leadership for others. It’s time. The world needs you and your unique voice. More than ever.
3. Another trick (to foster creativity) is to encourage people to play. I prefer to think of data as one way of seeing, one of many tools we can use to look for what’s hidden. Increase your exposure to art and engage in hobbies which connect you to your inner child and promote your sense of artistry, which is needed to help you transmit your inner landscape and unique Theory of Mind to others. Train your inner and outer eye to be more observant, to discern patterns, and to appreciate the aesthetics all around you. It’s worth it, and easier than ever, especially in our visually oriented culture full of diverse opportunities for learning and growth!
4. When experimentation is seen as necessary and productive, not as a frustrating waste of time, people will enjoy their work- even when it is confounding them. Make a real effort to choose happiness; to pursue it, build on it, and retain it. I believe that happiness is a verb, a state of doing and trying, not just a state of being. It needs to be actively sustained, but its momentum can sustain one’s optimism and creativity; both of which are linked.
5. Supporting your employees means encouraging them to strike a balance not merely by saying “Be balanced!” but by also making it easier for them to achieve balance. There are two parts to any failure. There is the event itself, with all its attendant disappointment, and shame. Then there is our reaction to it. We must remember that failure gives us chances to grow, and we ignore those chances at our own peril. Understand the importance of balance in everything you pursue, or don’t, so that you are better prepared for the unknown. For the success/failure seesaw that is part of life, part of the human condition no matter who you are or what job description you have.
We all talk a good game about what needs to change; in ourselves and in others. We all know what’s at stake, but sometimes the “paralysis analysis” can render us immobile. It’s time to sound a call to action, like the sound of the shofar for those of us about to observe Rosh Hashanah.
Isn’t it time we banded together more, to actively brainstorm and then creatively address the world’s serious problems, one ecosystem and one innovation at a time?
Isn’t it time to work together to make this year better than the last one for more people, in more ways?
Isn’t it time to recognize the genius and creativity in each and every person you encounter, and their contributions?
But first, remember: The creative spark is a result of lining your ducks in a row BEFORE acting on that impulse.
To be continued….
Best wishes for a creative, happy, meaningful, and healthy new year,