The picture of creativity

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I remember a few years ago at the annual Religious Conference Management conference, they had an artist drawing to music as part of the final night’s gala. He was spectacular, and it was amazing to watch the paintings unfold before our eyes. Well, HCEA took this a step further this morning with its keynoter Erik Wahl, who warmed us up by painting an abstract Statue of Liberty to the tune, “Proud to be an American.” But this guy did so much more than paint. His subject was how the creative process can improve business, but that sounds so dry…

One thing he did was ask us to take off our watches and put them on the other wrist. Try it—harder than it looks, isn’t it? Even as I type this, the watch on my right wrist is banging against the laptop in a way I’m not used to; I have to type differently, which makes me sit differently…there’s a whole chain reaction, just from something as small as that.

We obviously do get stuck in doing things the same old way, and doing often translates into seeing, which translates into how we envision the future. Another example he used was to ask us what half of the number 8 is. We all knew, of course, the answer was four. But, he pointed out, it also could be zero if you bisect the figure itself vertically, or 3 or E if you bisect it horizontally. One kid once told him that it could be a bird flying sideways.

What can we do to think like we did when we were kids, when nothing was impossible and everything was a question, before we began to tell ourselves that we are defined by our limitations instead of our possibilities? What can we do in our businesses, jobs, and personal lives to stop competing and playing the same old game, and take a step back and change the game completely? I’ll be meeting tonight with a few of my cyber friends from the MIMlist listserv, and I hope to get that discussion underway, since these are some seriously bright people I’ll be dining with. Here’s hoping we come up with something worth sharing with my virtual friends here in blogland.

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