“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.” —W. Arthur Porter
Too often we get wrapped up in the here and now, the day-to-day, and we don’t take the time to take a step back and look at who we are and who we have become. We often overlook the messages that are telling us to get out of our rut and try something different, even uncomfortable. Or maybe we just need to get back to who we really are. Exploring these messages is where we can find inspiration that often leads to the creative tension that becomes our pivot point of innovation. That chance to actively make a change.
This pivot point is what happened when I was asked by Jeff to collaborate for this series. The discomfort was in the sharp reminder that I had traveled away from my own desire to inspire others to grow through what I have learned and experienced. To leverage my strengths to help others embrace theirs. So here I am at my pivot point.
My inspiration is often what I read. What I’ve discovered about my reading is that there is often a purpose for what I’m drawn to depending on what is happening in my life at that time, personal and professional. And there is almost always a level of learning involved with the purpose of taking that learning and sharing with others. As a friend and colleague told me some time back, I’m a natural information curator. So as I was thinking about creative tension and the connection of this to how we can each embrace this tension for the development of our own unique talents, I was reminded of an article I read several years ago.
This article, Why we need to let kids be creative, encourages letting children “play” and experience their world in their way (with guidance) to creatively solve the problems they encounter. The problem the toddler solves in figuring out how to get to the cookies on the counter, or the coveted toy from a playmate, develops the capability that could lead to the next technology, or social media innovation 20 years later. As the parent, and leader, responsible for that “child”, it’s our responsibility to nurture the creativity that leads to capability – even for ourselves. What we, as leaders today, should encourage is:
- Engage in divergent thinking – a key to problem solving and a foundation of creativity – understanding what is, and then imagining the possibilities of what could be.
- Play with others – this teaches us how to negotiate group dynamics and cultivate creative-thinking skills.
- Take time for free play – when you take a break from gathering data, you allow your brain to loosely explore and reconfigure information.
Over the course of this series I will engage in some divergent thinking and take time to play with others (Thanks, Jeff!). And I will encourage you to do the same. The beauty of this journey is that even though we may not have a map, our world will be richer and the potential for innovation will be greater because we each bring our own unique strengths and perspective as we explore this together. To help guide us, I’ll be pulling from my learning, and library, of strength-based development, such as Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut books. In these books, we are introduced to an assessment that is an “innovation delivery system” designed to help reveal our edge. While invention is an idea, even a novel idea, innovation is “novelty that can be applied.” Innovation is what keeps us relevant.
And so like the wild flowers I used to pick as a young girl, I’ll pick and share some ideas and practical tips to help us be relevant, even beautiful, as we discover our edge and explore together what it means for us to…
Gather ~ Give ~ Grow.
All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.
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Through the Door of Possibility