I wouldn’t say I haven’t been creative during the pandemic. But I have noticed I have slowed down and have had to dig really deep. Diversity really IS creativity!
That was made all the more apparent a couple of days last week: I actually left my home, caught public transport and went to two different cities!
I have spent the last 6 months pretty much at home. I have my own workspace and I am engaged in stimulating, challenging work that is aligned with my purpose. And yet, I notice I am spiralling in ever smaller circles…
The Creative Dilemma
Creativity is often explained at its most basic level as the process of joining dots. If you accept that (which I do) the next step is to acknowledge how important collecting new dots is! What WFH and the pandemic have done to many people is create a dynamic tension:
On the one hand, a highly creative time where many new challenges needed to be overcome, logistical problems solved and ideas conceived to deal with our new reality.
On the other hand, a slow creeping sense of Groundhog Day-like repetition and drudgery.
I seem to flick from one to the other a couple of times in one day.
To really stay creatively productive in the long term, you need Diversity: of inputs, of perspective, of information, of experience, or task, of routine, of scenery… all of the above or only some.
More Important Things Than Cultural Fit
One of the reasons why businesses that hire for ‘cultural fit’ often run into long-term problems is that they inevitably sacrifice diversity of thought and action along the way. Cultural fit is nice and comfy, but it does not provide the kind of intellectual challenge required to keep growing and changing.
In fact, having challenges to your thinking is one of the key drivers of creative thought… it is a new dot, another widget of information that may reveal patterns previously unperceived amidst the current data.
Socio-politically diversity is a hot topic right now. And it should be. One of the more hidden benefits of this kind of diversity is higher performing creative thinking skills. When you mix people together from different religious, social, economic, educational, racial, orientational and age backgrounds, they have all had different experiences and therefore have different approaches, viewpoints, methods, and ideas.
From this denser soup of information, ultimately, better ideas WILL spring. But first, you have to bring the ingredients together, then, you have to allow it to happen… and not manage it out of existence… because by managing, you are controlling, setting the agenda, pre-judging and limiting the processes… be that in your own head or in a team.
From this perspective, there can be no creativity without diversity. And the best diversity comes from experiencing new things and people and places.
From my two days out the front door, I was able to finally crack the issues of how to word and present two new projects, solidify the steps in a launch and marketing plan, and re-name a critical service I am launching.
True, all the idea and information was already in my head. But it was only by changing my environment, experiences some ‘new’ things, that the soup swirled into a new configuration while my physical eyes enjoyed a new view.
1- Stuck? Go for a walk, read a book you wouldn’t normally, speak to someone new, take a new route home
2- Do not try to battle through problems with problem solving or ideation alone
3- Actively seek out different opinions, backgrounds, and world views
4- Make space in your life for acquiring new dots
5- Let go of how you feel about what you already have… you may be holding yourself back from something better
Do you have a dream that you need to launch? Need inspiration and motivation for yourself or your company? CONTACT ME and let's talk!