Quotable: On Creativity and Innovation
Sadly, this feels all too familiar. I think it is an almost inevitable result of too many years of focus on process standardization, repeatability, optimization, and all those other things that make us so good at being efficient workers.
I have a friend who teaches drawing. She has taught both children and adults. She says that children are natural artists, and accurately (if at times messily) draw what they actually see until about age 8, when they begin drawing what they think they see (and produce stick figures).
When she teaches adults to draw, she helps them recover the ability to perceive edges, spaces, relationships, light and shadow, and to draw those things instead of the cup or chair or face or mountain that they think they see. It takes a few days of practice, but eventually they get it, and they begin to draw like the artists that they always were by nature. (I haven’t yet had the chance to take one of her classes, so I can’t verify that they work for everyone!)
I suspect there is a parallel here with creativity and innovation in general. We are all strongly socialized to NOT be innovative. We have somehow come to accept that being creative is hard and dangerous work, when perhaps all that is needed is a shift in perception.
What if the walls of the box within which we think are not so solid as we perceive them to be? What might we see if we focused on the lights and shadows surrounding us, rather than the planes and surfaces that seem to enclose us?
— Lori (Learning Architect at a Fortune 100 company)