Outside of my training work, I have been busy with a project. For this project, I have been writing poetry on request from people in my network.

I put out a call for ideas, prompts and requests for poems. I wanted to get an idea of how what I was already writing related to what people I know are interested in.

I was also keen to test out some of my ideas about creativity and producing under pressure and on demand.

To be honest, though, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. But whenever I have had a moment that I was not busy with one of my own poetic ideas, I went back to the list and used that as the basis for a poem.

I learned some interesting things:

  • You can write a poem about anything

Some of the suggestions at first seemed ludicrous, counter to what I do, or not suited to the art of poetry. But in the end, you can adapt or adopt almost anything into a poem. You just have to find the foundation or a framework to contextualise it, and then you are away.

  • Never second Guess what other people will think

A couple of the poems I felt were not great. Not for specific reasons, they just didn’t have the punch or the feel that I was looking for while writing. This was certainly not the case with my audience. My opinion is not theirs, they have their own take.

  • It is best to assemble, stir and simmer before serving

These poems seemed to work well because I had to think about each and every prompt in advance. When I write from my own internal prompts, I am often in the moment, feeling my way as I go… then comes the re-write and editing etc. This process involved quite a long simmering process for the ideas as they sat on the list until they were ticked off. It really benefitted the final product.

From these learnings, you can also take away some general rules about innovation and ideation.

The 3 Poetics Of Innovation

  • Forget the limitations of budget, time, market share and everything, You can always find a new idea/angle/process/product/message. Just get busy
  • Just because nothing out there looks like what you’ve got doesn’t mean it won’t succeed. It doesn’t mean it will either, you’ve got to get out there with it before you can write it off, or improve it
  • Do not rush to market with half baked things. I know, I know, fail fast and fail often. So much so that many people seem in an awful hurry to fail. Try letting your ideas/products simmer and mature a little. Less of them will fail.

Business lessons from poetry.

Who would have thunk?

What life lessons have you experienced lately? Can you apply them to your work?