I was an inspirational keynote speaker for a transportation conference, where my motivational speech took a different slant and delved into why it is so easy to defend the status quo and so hard to innovate.
The audience went sour when I suggested that innovative and creative thinking should a part of everyday work. It is the flow and spark that will boost morale and keep people focused and inspired.
As the inspirational keynote speaker for the transportation conference, I noticed the audience resistence set in when people concluded they do not have jobs that encourage or require them to be creative. Thinking in innovative ways does utilize a different type of thought and a different part of your brain. It takes time and it doesn't produce immediate results, which is why it should be encouraged by leadership. In most organizations it is not part of the job description, but it should be.
Consider the employee who defends the status quo, does this conjure up a picture of an engaged, motivated and highly productive employee? No. What comes to mind is a rigid, process oriented, sluggish sort who does the same thing over and over and resists any change or reorientation.
Someone who is creative is always on his toes, questioning the work, the routines and searching for new ways to exceed expectations. In his search for meaning, he is naturally more productive and motivated.
I would also argue that creativity underlies all advancement.
Organizations can stifle creativity because they try to control people to the extent that thinking outside the box is difficult. This is where the audience resistance came from during the motivational speech, challenging the status quo in many organizations is actually frowned upon.
From an early age ( think school) institutions define our lives. They teach us how to act and how to think.
I encourage employees to take one or two creative leaps of faith in a week and see what the results are. Some examples of things that push the boundaries and engage creative thought are:
- Ask is there a better way? Brilliant ideas emerge when you challenge what is.
- Look at other industries for inspiration
- When something goes wrong, or you get negative feedback search for a completely new way to do it. Include others feedback.
- Ask: What would threaten my job? and look for ways to challenge these threats
- Build on ideas. When ideas errupt, they will need tweeking to become solidly integrated. Keep adding more details, advice and perspective