There’s a spectrum of innovation that happens when we think creatively about our problems. Most of us aim for small innovations all the time. A better process for retaining guests. A more efficient way to track paper costs. A social media strategy that results in higher engagement. And so on. But while we spend most of our energy on Small I, it’s Big I that creates real growth. Further, Small I rarely leads to Big I. Big I is something else entirely.Further, Small I rarely leads to Big I. Big I is something else entirely.
Eureka moments don’t happen to the madcap lone genius in his studio. The myth of the blinding flash isn’t helpful because it persuades us to not do the daily work. The way to overcome this myth is through Input. Make daily exposure to new ideas part of your creative routine. Your mind cannot sift and recombine ideas—a process known as “Incubation”—if you don’t first put in the hard work of giving it new material to work with.
The myth of the right brained thinker isn’t helpful because it suggests that we’re either hard wired for creativity or we’re not, and also because it suggests that the only kind of creativity is that which is related to artistic expression. Creativity is just as possible in electrical engineering as it is in songwriting or the culinary arts. Every one of us is capable of creative ideas.
When I started as Creative and Communication Director at Peachtree, the church was producing 24-page bulletins in weekly worship. How could I get rid of this old albatross? The problem was, I couldn’t kill it right away, because the congregation was dependent: it was the main way the church communicated. If I killed it, people would have no way of knowing what was going on. So here’s what I did.
All organizations tend to ride dead horses until it is too late. But the church is worse, because we make our old ideas holy.
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