One of the greatest deficits of our time is an impoverishment of “creativity generators” or cultures of creativity within our organizations.
By becoming captive to the “bottom line” of Wall Street, our organizational and governmental expressions fell prey to extremely linear and mechanistic ways of thinking, and have fashioned the pace and values of our society accordingly.
As a result, our innovation and creativity processes have become stagnant, and a major symptom is that we have suffered from a lack of accepting and implementing new ideas and visionary leadership.
At Kedge and The Futures School, we engage organizations, business leaders, and society at-large in creative processes, freeing them from those linear and mechanistic world-views so that they can think and act in alternative, aspirational, and transformative ways about the future.
Through this foresight work, leaders uncover a futures-empowers creativity that acts as the rudder turning organizations around. Or, using our metaphor, it becomes the “kedge” that anchors us forward into new territory.
The foresight model we use with our clients engage in is based on natural growth dynamics.
Nature isn’t linear, but developmental. So if we expect life, vision, or a product to simply grow without any creative change, we’re headed for some serious disappointment. If we don’t prepare for that change ahead of time, we’re going to see a “death” or collapse without transformation.
For instance, in the first stage of life, a baby takes in nourishment and grows in size. In the next stage, she grows by replicating the behavior of peers. You can see this in the division of cells, creating literal extensions of themselves. Third, she matures by maximizing differences to create a higher social order in life or business. And, lastly, as with all of nature, she dies – birth, adolescence, maturity, decline.
However, a fourth stage exists in nature where a new growth curve encompasses the former curve, and this is what is known as “breakthrough transformation.” In other words, nature builds “next order creativity” into its processes, and so can we!
To begin thinking and acting from a natural growth dynamic, we can build a map that helps us to intentionally create transformational potential and breakthroughs in terms of emerging futures:
1. Grow: This is the first stage in the mapping process in which you generate creative thinking in order to give birth to a vision, imagine a preferred future, or innovate for a new idea, concept or product.
2. Repeat: In this stage, you allow the new vision or idea to “produce after its own kind” by fostering an environment of collaboration and designing pathways for ongoing success.
3. Share: Next, you move your vision or idea to a higher level of maturity by allowing it to grow in scope through diversity of thought and multidisciplinary involvement. This stage can be a hard transition for many, as we desire see our vision remain unchanged (just as we often wish our precious children would never grow up).
4. Transform: Lastly, you purposefully plan for your idea to morph into a completely higher order of existence that contains the DNA of the original innovation but that supersedes the original form. You achieve this by building this stage into your original “map” from the very beginning, allowing you to become adept at knowing when the time of “breakthrough” into a new creative cycle has arrived.
Applying natural growth dynamics to your work or leadership will make a huge difference, helping you to envision new capabilities, enlarge your present mission, awaken your creativity, and launch into transformative spaces that you never thought possible – thinking in terms of organic rather than the mechanistic patterns that have dominated modern lifestyles and business practices.