I have an ongoing interest in creativity, innovation and other ways in which new ideas develop, innovations emerge, or effective communication occurs. I wonder why some paintings or music cause our spirits to soar while other compositions fall flat? How do good writers and speakers craft their messages and keep our interest while other presenters show an innate ability to be dull and boring? Some teachers, marketers, coaches and blog-writers think creatively and connect effectively. Why do they flourish while others fizzle?
Occasionally I read books or articles on innovation and effective communication. More often I look at how magazines are laid out, how speakers present their ideas or how writers grab and hold their audiences. I’ve learned the value of knowing creative people, connecting with individuals or groups that are different from me, wandering around the local art institute or listening to music with which I am not familiar. Business magazines show me the importance of developing new concepts, researching new hypotheses, and wrapping new ideas into effective presentations.
Fast Company is one of those business magazines. It never mentions coaching or counseling and rarely says much about leadership. But the editors model creativity and occasionally write about it. In the February 2013 issue, FC editor Robert Safian says this about innovative thinking in our age of Facebook and text-messaging:
The art of creative conversations may not seem like a natural topic for a magazine that covers business. Many of the companies we cover have helped create new worlds of constant innovation. But when you ask their execs how they develop their industry-reinventing ideas, they come back again and again to face-to-face dialogue. There is no better way to test your assumptions than in conversation with a peer—no better way to learn, to experiment, to be prodded.
Discussions on creativity and innovation can be motivating. For good reasons they can dominate the attention of artists, leaders and even people-helpers. They can pull us forward and stimulate progress. But creativity and related issues can become like gods calling for worship. Things that are new, different or lauded are not necessarily better. They can lead to chaos when they ignore lessons from the past or have no anchor in solid values, competent skills and life purpose.
Please comment on this, including how your creativity develops.