Everyone has at one time or another experienced an impersonal work environment that robs them of their creativity and the joy of the job. These workplaces make innovation and creativity impossible. It's hard to think outside of the box when your role is too restrictive and refined.
I am a motivational speaker for a group of public service professionals on May 23, 2013, to help celebrate their Professional Development Week and 50th Anniversary. This morning the program planner challenged me to adapt my topic Embrace Change with Humor to the convention theme: Innovation through Imagination.
The audience is composed of government employees who work tirelessly to promote effective information management and technology. Like many government jobs, rules and regulations play a very important part in keeping employees accountable and results measureable. Sometimes highly regulated environments can challenge innovation and suppress growth, which is why the theme, Innovation through Imagination is so relevant.
Here are my initial thoughts on humor's role in innovation:
My core message will be how taking yourself lightly allows you to fly - which gives you the way to see your duties and results from another perspective, and innovation will thrive as you get wrapped up in exploring your work from new angles. Play (sometimes known as flying!)allows the brain to think without boundaries and brings openness to a new world of possibility.
By taking yourself lightly you are essentially using your creative talents to allow your work to grow. Humor and play directly access the creative part of the brain to allow new ideas to percolate.
Negative, toxic or restrictive environments will push innovation down and drain vitality. Too many rules and endless retrictions will kill initiative. Fun and playful workplaces just naturally create fluid, positive places to grow and contribute.
In other words a bit of levity and the ability to play along the way allows the work to flow through innovation not despite it.
Innovation is a process, not an outcome. Innovation can't be measured, regulated and controlled but it can be encouraged and fed and allowed to flourish. In many government departments the focus on outcome thwarts the creative vitality needed for innovation. My motivational speech will be to engage audience members to open their minds to new possiblilities and to encourage innovation through imagination, levity and play.
The other motivational speakers for the public service professionals are still to be confirmed.