Posts Tagged ‘Attributes or Disabilities’


IMAGINE How Creativity Works

July 2, 2012

The Heat Advisory has given me some “found” time so I have been tackling a stack of books on the edge of my desk…most started, but not finished.

First checked off the list was a delightful, tiny, and impactful tome by local Minneapolitan, Ray Harris, called “WYNOTT”…with a great lesson.  If you wonder “why” and have a fleeting idea to change it – ask yourself  “Why Not?  You will find yourself on the pathway to innovation and change, as Harris takes you on a journey through an imaginary town called Wynott.  For sure, I would like to live there!

And now, I’m immersed in a new book by Jonah Lehrer.  Last week, I heard him on MPR and realized I had purchased his book, but not delved into it yet.  I bought it because of the jacket claim: this would be a look at the new science of creativity and it boasted that we all can become more creative.

And indeed, as I opened the book and fell through the “rabbit hole”, the surprise was not the unfamiliarity, but how familiar the themes were. First,  a welcome reliance on modern brain science which refutes much of what we were taught in the 20th century…collaborating the right way, including right brain/left brain working together…the importance frustration and struggles  play in triggering insight and innovation…all topics I am familiar with, but each with a twist that created another  ”aha” moment for me.

And along the way, I revisited topics and facts that added to the argument:

The three top innovation corporations in the world are Apple, Google, and Yes- 3M – right here in Minnesota. We know the 3M innovation story; but when put in the category of Apple and Google, it takes on a greater importance somehow.   More fodder for me to use to support my argument that we live in a metro area rated the 5th most creative in the United States; we have talent here we don’t even know about, and most corporations and organizations in this city do not need to look outside our own backyard to find some of the most creative thinkers and doers in the country.

Many characteristic of what we used to call “disabilities” such as autism, bi-polar disorder, and ADHD are accepted characteristics and behaviors of persons recognized as highly-creative – and have been so throughout history.  Does this support my thought of re-evaluating some of the characteristics defining these conditions in a different light?  Instead of personality “disorders”,  did these qualities just not fit in our post-WW II world of industry, suburban sameness, and two-income lifestyles  and thus had to be fixed?  I am certainly not dismissing the problem, nor the impact on parents and families, but I am saying there may be some merit in following the model of the man who built an entire company staffed by autistic persons after he realized his autistic son had a GIFT for proofing computer code.   Or looking at some of the lessons learned and reported in “Dyslexic Advantage”.  Perhaps returning to some part of a world where same-ness was not valued as much as individuality would have far-reaching benefits to us all.

Dreaming enables our creativity as it allows us to make all sorts of surprising connections that lead to innovation. 

All that, and I was only at the half-way point.  What came next needs some massaging and time to “sleep on” as it represented many things to which I had not been exposed before.  For instance, do you know why brainstorming “feels good” but does not work, and real  innovation comes from the opposite- constructive criticism? 

Watch for the Second Installment!