Creative Revolution

4 Jul


First and foremost I want to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July.

In the midst of the barbeques, parades and fireworks, we should all take time to reflect upon what we are celebrating – our independence and our freedom. While there were both economic and political reasons for the revolution that began in 1776 – from the restrictions by the British mercantile system to the loss of ability to handle local affairs locally – America was (and is) an innovation created when our founding ancestors sought “to begin the world anew.” A world in which we have freedom to live our lives as we choose. But there is a duality to freedom – for me to have the right to choose how I live my life; I must also allow others the right to live their lives their way. There are, of course, limits to freedom. While this has become a complicated issue (although it is interesting to note that the Declaration of Independence consists of only 1337 words), I believe there must exist a social contract (between each other as well as between government and the governed) that I would best define as “first, do no harm.”

So what does this have to do with business? I believe our economic future is based upon our ability to create and innovate – not simply improve upon existing products and services. Creation and innovation are often destructive processes undertaken by those who refuse to abide by the status quo. There is nothing more threatening, and at the same time, more fragile as a radical new idea that does not fit in the current culture. Therefore, we (government leaders, corporate directors and individuals) must adopt a culture of innovation – one that allows innovators and entrepreneurs the freedom and independence to try, fail and try again. This flies in the face of a culture that values predictability, control, reliability, repeatability and continuity. Let me be clear, there is a sense of security that predictability, control, reliability, repeatability and continuity bring to a business or society (and this is desirable) but the world does not remain the same for long. The only constant in life is change.

Therefore, our culture of innovation must be based on mutual trust. And this is a difficult thing when we feel that others are out to destroy (or limit) that which we value. Trust is not an abdication of our freedom, independence or our values, but rather an agreement to explicit roles and clear boundaries. Perhaps the best way to build trust is to understand the creative process – but that’s a subject for another blog post.

Happy Independence Day!

One Response to “Creative Revolution”

  1. This reminds me of the “doing things right” v “doing the right things” dichotomy.

    “Doing things right” assumes that what is “right” is static, constant, absolute.

    “Doing the right things” requires an open mind and a dynamic view of what is “right”

    Similarly, oppression forces a single idea of “right”; whereas freedom holds within in the possibility of multiple “right” answers. Mutual freedom is indeed the catalyst for innovation.

    As human beings we have a constant need to be “right”. Our ego presents a barrier to innovation. A new idea is only adopted at the expense of the old. Oftentimes, individuals who accept the status quo as the only “right way” see innovation as a threat to their need to be “right “. Companies invest tens thousands on change management to deal with this type of resistance.

    Indeed understanding of the creative process (and our the mental inclinations within it) can help us fully harness its potential. I’ll be looking out for that post!

    Great content!

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