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Creativity at Waterloo

by Rick Baker
On Apr 4, 2013

I think the word "Creativity" means different things to each of us.

For example, consider sayings such as - "Thinking Outside The Box". What does "Thinking Outside The Box" mean to you? What does “Thinking Outside The Box” mean to the person across from you? There's a strong likelihood that “Thinking Outside The Box” means quite different things to each and every one of us.

The fact “Creativity is widely-not-understood” poses a problem because, in business, one key thing we'd like to get right is communication. We all agree, the clearer the communication - the better. We must never assume our thoughts are grasped by others. We should never assume our comments about Creativity are automatically understood by others. Rather, we should make a habit of going the extra-communication-mile to make sure there is a chance for a meeting of minds.

When we are at work, we must take the time to describe, as best we can, what we mean when we talk about Creativity. This, and only this, will provide others the opportunity to understand us then be more open to our ideas. If, during our business day, we work to express and listen to one another’s thoughts about Creativity then we have a much better chance of bringing about the fruits only Creativity can deliver. Helping one another Bear Creative Fruit we can All Share and Enjoy...that is something each and every one of us in business ought to be very interested in doing.

Creativity is often spurned because it brings Change. Change assaults our Concepts of the world around us. When our Concepts are assaulted our thoughts tend to be disrupted. When our thoughts are disrupted we tend to become anxious. Then we tend to become defensive. These are natural human reactions and states, which hold fast unless disciplined action is taken to remove or adjust them.

For example, when something comes rocketing toward our face we instinctively duck or blink or flinch in an effort to protect ourselves from damage. Only masters such as hockey goalies can learn how to overcome the reaction to duck or blink or flinch in the face of an 'incoming object'.

Instinctively, we protect ourselves when we sense danger…this applies when any of our senses is danger-triggered, including the 6th Sense - Intuition.

How does this fight-and-flight stuff tie in with business and Creativity?

Creativity brings Change. Change when it comes at us often assaults the Concepts we know and hold dearly and tightly in our minds. Changes are surprises, which often trigger defense reactions.

As individuals we enjoy our own Creativity and that enjoyment sometimes inspires us to act. Our individual Creativity does not assault the Concepts we hold tightly in our own minds because our own Creativity arrives without threat. If our brain can be thought of as a pretty-much-bottomless well then Creativity can be considered an endless spring that naturally feeds that well…keeping all the water fresh and bubbly.

So, one important conclusion is – and this applies to all of us - people react positively to their own Creativity and the result is personal Change and personal Growth. On the other hand, when we try to impress our Creativity and its inherent Change on others, we know the result is more-often-than-not resistance to that Change.

Resistance to Change is fundamental in human nature. Resistance to Change is not a bad thing…it is just there! Resistance to Change is there because Change assaults our deep-rooted Concepts of the world not just as we know or perceive it…but also the world as defined in the framework our ancestors programmed into our genes to help us use sensory input to achieve many things, including protection from danger. As a general rule, we automatically flinch and do our best to duck when we identify Change coming at us. That natural human response is a thing business people need to understand.

In business, Creativity can and should drive Change.

Summarizing the business implications:

  • We enjoy our own, individual, springs of Creativity.
  • To the extent we accept and are inspired by our own Creativity we act and make personal Change.
  • When we are really pleased with our own Creativity we occasionally attempt to get other people to embrace our Creativity.

Meanwhile, the attempt we make to impress our Creativity on another person triggers the notion of impending Change in that person’s mind. And all of us, at least to a degree, are predisposed to resist incoming Change.

So, we have a business dilemma – our minds are pre-set to resist one another’s Creativity.

This is a key point: our minds tend to resist one another’s Creativity.

And, resistance to Creativity…that’s a basic-business problem because without Creativity and change businesses are stagnant or dying.

The problem has a simple solution. At least…it is simple-to-state the solution. It’s the doing of the solution that’s hard…because ingrained habits are tough to break...so, determined effort will be required.

We must consciously replace existing habits with better habits.

To ensure Creativity is not at odds with Change, we must first work to understand Creativity. Then we must be more tolerant of and more open to the Creativity presented to us by others. As our tolerance for Creativity from others becomes open-minded acceptance, so shall our resistance to change drop and our self-confidence level rise.

And, with open minds and high self-confidence… ….our Waterloo Region business success will soar.

We, in business, at Waterloo Region face a huge opportunity:

  • WE CAN bring about Amazing Business Change
  • WE CAN establish, in our own minds, a clear definition of Creativity, &
  • WE CAN communicate with one another so Creativity is no longer widely not-understood.

WE CAN open our minds to accept Creativity from others, and then…



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