Ever since I first read a book about innovation and how to bring innovation into a business, I was suspicious. And I have remained suspicious, no matter how many I read, or how smart the author. My suspicion is rooted in my own experience of creativity, disruption and innovation. Whenever I’ve participated in a project that has ultimately resulted in something creative, disruptive or innovative, my experience has never mirrored the academic thoughts, processes and clever charts I read about.
My own experience is that it’s unpredictable, unknowable, surprising, messy, non-linear, and doesn’t ever happen within whatever process is set up for it to happen within. Of course this is a problem to most business people. Business has been throughly schooled in the idea that everything can and must be managed and measured. Therefore everything must be able to fit neatly into a process or some sort of predictable flow. I’ve sat in pitches with companies who want their people to be more creative, who almost always don’t like it when I tell them that while I’m pretty certain we can help them develop a more creative culture and person within their business, there’s a chance that it might not happen. And if it does happen, we’re not able to show them a predictable process for how it will happen. It’s about then that we don’t get invited back for the next round 🙂
It’s the reason why, in my opinion, so many authors, consultants and experts build charts and flow diagrams and processes for how creativity, disruption and innovation takes place. They have neat lists of 10 and 20 things that will result in the desired outcome. Business buys this. I’m not sure they get what they pay for, but they do get the familiarity and security of a neat manageable and measurable process.
I’m about to start listening to a book called ‘Wired To Create‘ by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. I decided to buy it after reading a review on it in the New York Times recently.
Instead, “Wired to Create” rises above these shortcomings by emphasising the complexities and contradictions that distinguish creative people. “Insightful problem solving can’t be boiled down to any single way of thinking,” the authors say. Creative people have messy processes, and often messy minds, full of contradictions.
While wondering fairly aimlessly around the internet the other day I came across some images that describe the creative, disruptive and innovative process as I know it to be….