baby, reaching out to grab a rattle or a mobile hanging above the crib, is being
creative. The infant learns
from such experiences that there are internal and external worlds that s/he can
what is it that moves? Who
reaches out? What is the
inspiration that leads to such creative impulses?
Quite simply life has a desire to witness itself in many forms, and, as
agents of life, each of us will thrive if we help with this task.
secret is flow. All
religions and most philosophies recognise there is an energy that flows between
us and between the objects in our respective worlds and ourselves. When this flows freely we are creative and healthy, but
when we restrict this flow by holding on to the familiar until it has had its
way with us, then we feel ill at ease, we become diseased.
prophets of old are reported as hearing the voices of their gods commanding
them. It has been suggested
that humans lost this ability 10 - 15000 years ago when we developed rational
thought and intuition.
is far closer in its nature to the guidance that our forefathers received than
is rational thought. Rational
thought provides us with free will at a price.
Sometimes our rational mind urges us to abandon our ‘crazy’
can interrupt the flow of energy between ourselves and our world with disastrous
consequences because our bodies have to bear the strain of this constraint and
we experience distress. This
process in turn inhibits our abilities both to intuit and also to think
commerce and industry we must listen to the hearts as well as the minds of
employees at all levels of our businesses.
We encourage them by offering training in both thinking and technical
skills. We loan our people on
charitable projects exposing them to new challenges and less certainty. When they return to us we find them refreshed, alert
and with greater creative flair to add value to our businesses.
little chaos is an aid to creativity.
Building No. 20 was built at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a
temporary structure during World War II.
It was finally demolished in 1998.
The hut, built entirely out of wood was easy to personalise and customise.
Researchers found inspiration from the piles of ‘junk’ left behind by
previous experimenters over the years. This
old equipment was often put to good use in later experiments.
The building itself was so pitiful that no one ever competed for the
space there. Building No. 20
boasts the spawning of more creative science than any other building of
comparable size in the USA.
Semler CEO of the Sao Paulo manufacturing giant Semco actively encourages
executives and employees to take sabbatical leave. They also have quiet and restful areas designated
as ‘thinking rooms’, where people may escape from the urgency of production.
“The key to management is to get rid of the managers.
The key to getting work done on time is to stop wearing
The best way to invest corporate profits is to give
them to the employees.
The purpose of work is not to make money. The purpose
of work is to make the workers, whether working stiffs or top executives, feel
good about life.”
To feel good about life it
is necessary to blend our energy with events and move with them.
Using this philosophy Semler was able to increase Semco’s turnover from
$35 million to $100 million in just six years.
has no receptionists, secretaries, or personal assistants. All employees, Semler
included, receive their own guests, make their own copies, and draft and send
their own correspondence. There are no private offices, workers set their own
hours, and office attire is at the discretion of each employee.
Semco has initiated a once a week dialogue session for women workers and
regular women’s retreats. It
has factory floor flextime, self-set salaries and a system for rotating the post
of CEO, who is called a counsellor.
creative solutions arise from listening and dialogue, rather than debate.
We do not necessarily invest thousands of dollars upon the whim of an
employee or ourselves. We must however recognise that failure to act on
intuition and the inhibition of creative expression come at a heavy price.
Keep on the move and
listen to whomever you meet.
Beware of fixed
structures, a laptop or PDA and a mobile phone may be used anywhere.
If your job demands
that you have a working space make it a light practical adaptable working
Train someone else
to become creative. This
will teach you more about your own creativity.
The more you try,
the more you fail. If
what you are doing is not working then, having given it a fair shot, do
Vary your routines
whilst maintaining your focus.
Write off log-jammed
work and stay in the flow.
article was originally published in Executive Excellence Magazine.
Text Copyright ©2001 Stephen Bray. Stephen Bray may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.