Creativity doesn’t need to be messy

creative mind

I came across the above image a few weeks ago. Every time I see it I think “that mind looks like it’s releasing chaos”. We are all wired differently: some of us require structured ways of being, while others thrive on the oceans of chaos. We tend to believe that creatives are on the chaotic side of the spectrum (we love the idea of an artist passionately letting the brush flash back and forth at the speed of light as they unleash the next great masterpiece!).

Yet, the opposite is often more true: creatives tend towards planning for innovation, and executing plans for increased probability of success. I recall the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci: the intricate detail of flying machines transported from his imagination to his sketchbook; the numerous sketches of his famous works as he worked on shades of light and angles of composition.

For organisations to be innovative there also needs to be structure in the innovation pipeline. So what does that structure need? It needs many things, but here’s just a few essential ingredients:

A Blank Canvas: Culture

The culture of the organisation needs to be ‘ready’ for innovation. Culture is set through the formation of defines vision (purpose) and values (guiding principles that bring us together around our purpose). Vision of the future requires innovation to get there.

The culture needs to actively promote innovation at every level of the organisation. Did you know that the idea of the common matchbox came from a factory worker? Does this surprise you? Organisations need to promote the coming forth of ideas from everyone – who knows where the next innovative solution will come from.

The culture needs to foster a spirit of gratitude: if staff have ideas that work – give them the credit for it! This fosters a culture of trust and commitment rather than distrust and resentment.

Artists: Leadership

Leadership drives the creation of a masterpiece. They pull everyone around the vision and supporting values. They craft and create the culture. They inspire; motivate and encourage. They create a sense of urgency and pull teams together to drive positive change.

Leaders also have an essential role in modelling the behaviours they desire from staff. Simon Sinek is correct with his book title Leaders Eat Last. They model drive, commitment, values, behaviours, integrity, character, etc.

Creative Process: Structure

Innovative and creative processes require a structure to work within. This ensures projects yield results and that projects are completed. Whether that structure is a change management process or a Project Management framework, the structure ensures a higher probability of success.

Creativity does not need to be messy: it can be a well-oiled machine adding massive value and advantage to the organisation.

Transformation

Transformation is a big word with big connotations. I wonder what it makes you think about?

For some it will make you think about dramatic change – the difference between colour and shades. For others it will have connotations of Transformational “leadership” made popular through the theories and writings of Bernard Bass, Warren Bennis and John Kotter (to name but a few leadership authors who have expounded this particular style of leading). Other readers may be drawn to thoughts of spirituality and transformed life, while my daughter is likely to think about Cinderella preparing to attend the princes’ ball.

Transformation is a big concept – an audacious concept that, for many, seems nigh on impossible.  But is it an impossible expectation that transformation can occur. I believe not. Transformation is not bound to the realms of fairy tales and science fiction. I recall talking with my grandfather many years ago. We were discussing technology – something that at that time neither of us knew much about. My grandfather was telling me how the world had been changed in his lifetime: cars, phones, television, gender issues, computers. He was amazed by the rate of change the world was facing and he felt privileged to be alive in the twentieth century. The world is a transformed place. Innovations are occurring all around us and it can seem impossible to keep up with the rate of change. It appears that the only constant in life now is Change itself.

Change brings with it stresses and anxieties for many people. As our world transforms we need to learn new ways of thriving and living with enjoyment rather than enduring life. It is possible to do so.

We need to find out personal and organisational sense of purpose.

We need to identify where we can contribute to a transforming world.

We need to return afresh to some foundational principles of life in order to thrive rather than merely survive.

I believe that every person can make great progress to contribute positively in our world today. Transformation requires purpose and partnerships that mutually benefit every stakeholder; a well formed and grounded plan; practice of positive habits; perseverance when situations are difficult (as they do get); and opportunity to celebrate progress and success.

Is transformation quick? Sometimes it may be, but perhaps transformation is more incremental in nature. That perhaps is the subject of another P7L thought.

Until then, keep moving onward and upward.

 

Leadership and the Gospel

I have been around churches for 38 years at the time of writing. I have experienced many churches, faith groups and forms of Christian community. Some have been positive and a true source of blessing; some negative and abusive; some neutral and nice. But one thing they all have in common is that they are formed under the influence of their leadership – one way or another Leadership.

My hope with this site is that it might become a place where conversations occur and connections are made regarding the value of positive leadership styles which will enhance Gospel impact with regard to personal lives, processes of discipleship and mission strategy.

I believe there is need for Christian leaders to be value-led and servant-modelled. Their values and servant-hood needs to be centred upon the person and teachings of Jesus in order to be as effective in releasing the church to understand, grasp and apply the gospel in all aspects of life, faith and society. The Gospel has failed to massively impact society as a whole in our generation and we need to be asking WHY this is the case.

Within the scriptures all the NT writers centre upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I observe many contexts and have experienced many expressions of the Church I am concerned that their is a disconnect between the following components:

  • Our understanding and application of the Centrality of Jesus
  • Our understanding and application of ‘the Gospel’
  • Our understanding and outworking of Discipleship
  • Our understanding and practice of mission in today’s world

I hope that we can explore these together and come to understand how they can and do fit together in perfect balance to glorify Jesus and extend the kingdom of God preached by Christ and the apostles in every generation.