Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Borrowing Genius

What a whirlwind the past week has been. Having ended my temp job at National Agricultural Library last Tuesday - and some pleasant partings with my wonderful colleagues there - I am back to job-hunting full time. I have applied for a few jobs, I got to my Weight Watchers meeting for an official checkin (down an official 65 lbs since I started back in February!) and then I got a sore throat and stayed in the whole weekend. I'm all better now.

Monday morning and I was back at 40Plus for the regular weekly workshop. I hadn't paid too much attention to the topic and I was delighted to find it was on Creative Thinking. The presenter was Michelle James, CEO of the Center for Creative Emergence.

She opened by talking about the Creative Zone - that lies between stability (doing the same thing in the same way or at least trying to) and Chaos.

|Stability|-------Creative Zone-----|ec|Chaos|

Now that ec portion above is the Edge of Chaos. That's the space where ideas are born. It is an unsettling place - we are uncomfortable - but it is where things happen.

Stability is stagnant - nothing happens. Chaos is frightening and we shutdown. Actually I knew somone who lived in Chaos and despite the frenetic energy not much seemed to happen.

We need this Creative Zone because things change and our old ideas and ways of doing things that might have worked brilliantly in the past aren't working any more.

The next step was to talk about divergence - brainstorming - where we expand the playing field float new ideas - then later - with convergence - we focus the new ideas into a practical plan to solve the problem.

Michelle also took us through an exercise of identifying a problem - I can't get in front of people to interview and sell my strengths. and re-think it.

IWWMI In What Way Might I... get in front of more people and sell my strengths. This can turn a problem into a vision statement. Here's where we brainstorm. And this is where Michelle took us through the Borrowed Genius Exercise.

Borrowed Genius Exercise -

Think of a creative person - someone we know personally or an historical or famous person and in the exercise we borrow that person's genius to look at our problem. How might Shakespeare look answer this vision? Or Leondardo da Vinci? Or, in my case, Salvador Dali?

Something that Michelle said leading up to that and he popped into my head. He certainy was a creative thinker! So, I borrowed his genius for a moment and came up with the following notions:

Outrageous, colorful, change your image, bold colors and patterns, read different authors, be with other creative people, don't rush, savor others, delight in eccentricity, search for the oddness.

That's a lot to think about. Then comes the practical -- how might I do this - in a positive way to make myself stand out. Well. I'm still working on that, but today I wore a vivid plum-colored shirt!

Two more things -- if you're interested in learning about Creative Thinking for yourself - Michelle is running a conference on Sunday, October 23 - in Washington, DC. Check the Creativity in Business Conference site for info and to register!

Finally - 40Plus is a really good organization that is itself 40Plus years old - actually just over 60, it was started in 1938. Anyway there was an article on 40Plus in the October 2, Washington Post. Check out the article!

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