Creating a Spark
Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? Like your same old approaches just aren’t working anymore in the constant sea of busy-ness? Making a segue into new approaches is very challenging for many of us. Organizations keep talking about how we need more innovation. Yet the keep using the same old same old methods for accomplishing it. How do you get yourself to open up to new possibilities so that innovation becomes possible? What do you do to inspire more creativity inside yourself? Where can you create a spark?
I’ve been asking myself this question about creativity and innovation since reading The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity last summer. It’s about learning how to both be and find the spark of creativity as well as be the one that can grind it out and do the difficult work to bring that creativity to fruition. It’s the balance of those two worlds. For many of us from the corporate worlds, we are VERY used to the grind part of the equation. We will take that idea and deliver on it, but getting that first spark is very challenging. With a sea of disruptive technologies and business models, sometimes it feel like we are staring into the abyss, and its staring back!
Igniting that Spark
A few years ago, I decided it was time to get a little bit out of my own comfort zone, and I joined the Yellow Tree Theater board. I have slowly become immersed in the creative world of theater. In addition to the pure entertainment part of theater, becoming more engaged with the whole process has challenged my mind to see things in new ways. To see shows that sharpen my thinking or maybe just make me laugh myself silly.
Last week, I had another mind stretching experience. I attended a live podcast recording of “Take it with you.” I had a front row seat watching the recording of this theatrical podcast. If you are not familiar with the show, it’s worth a look. All episodes are original writing and I think all the music is original to each show as well. The talent onstage is simply incredible to watch! Engrossed in the story, you are also participating in making the magic happen. It reminded me a little of Kelly Barner’s recent article about making work happen anywhere, as I watched one of the actors maneuver to different parts of the stage for different parts of the show without tripping, making unnecessary noise, etc. Seeing that stage – wouldn’t you want to cheer as one of the actors makes it safely from one part to another without biffing it?
We, as the audience, had a participatory role in parts of the podcast, which brought a very high level of engagement to the show. This was not just a spectator sport. Here’s a live action shot during the show recording:
Feeding the Spark
What ideas did this give me or, in other words, what new sparks did this generate? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you yet but stay tuned. It added sparks of creativity to a current project I am working on but not yet ready to reveal. Usually the best sparks are the ones that show up months later in another context.
Going forward, what will you do to get out of the normal thought pattern you are stuck in? If you were one of the lucky attendees at the SEE Event in Irving, you got to try on design thinking in my session with Susan Stone.
In our session, we challenge people to get out of their normal day comfort zone and to imagine what the Accounts Payable world would be like five years from now while considering the effects of the disruptive technologies we are experiencing today. It’s a highly collaborative team exercise that, depending on the audience, goes in different directions each time. We’ve heard many times afterwards that this session gave people new ideas. Especially in regards to approaching old problems in their organizations. So, will you be there?
If you can’t make it, I challenge you to find one new thing to try so that you can begin to generate sparks of your own. At the very minimum, it keeps life interesting!