Creative Space

In my mind, this was going to be creative. About creativity. I’d dedicated hours to writing, crafting in my head a reflective post of great wit and insight. But then I hit London and it all went wrong. As I sit on this train, wedged between two commuters who may well be reading over my shoulder, being rocked from side to side and cradling my coffee between my knees, I’m feeling flat, exhausted. Amongst a hundred people in black suits all clutching their kindles and iPads I’m just one more face in an endless community of weary travellers whose eyes never meet and who dream of home.

Creative Spaces

Bad handwriting? I know. You try drawing on a train…

But whilst confined in this carriage we are not alone, not isolated, connected instead through our smartphones and tablets to a hundred communities: curating, sharing, collaborating, learning.

Take these eight people: browsing online, daydreaming, Facebook, staring out the window, sleeping, reading on kindle, the crossword, emails on a serious laptop. And all the while the rain beats on the windows and the city gives way to the fields.

This is my office: there are no four walls, instead my iPad and phone. No deadlines except the ones i impose and my team dispersed, connected in collaborative spaces. We use email for work, but WhatsApp for our open backchannel, the place for photos and jokes throughout the day.

Whether I’m here, in a cafe or at home, I’m identically connected. Creative thoughts aren’t anchored in creative places but instead the creative space within my head. No process will make me creative and no environment can restrain it.

In the Social Age, unlocking creativity develops agility: the ability to create a space to think, to frame and reframe problems, surrounded by and nurtured from our communities.

This doesn’t come through process, systems or edict, but rather through trust, authenticity and integrity. People need to understand what permissions the organisation has granted to think, to act, to make mistakes.

Unlocking creativity isn’t about buying new chairs. Or painting one wall orange. It’s not about being a startup or a major player. Its about clarity of engagement between organisation and individual, about recognising the transience of the relationship but welcoming and rewarding the effort.

We can foster creativity and agility by developing a healthy mindset: by working with leaders, facilitators and participants to create safe spaces to play. By creating permissive environments to challenge convention. By supporting uninhibited curiosity and developing narrative approaches to sharing what we learn. Social leadership and social learning: within communities that we grow and support. This is what unlocks creativity, what makes us agile.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Agile, Creative and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Creative Space

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  5. benoitdavid says:

    Yes, it is about the space in your head. It is a mindset: personal and organizational. If the two are not connected, it’s not going to work… for both. I think it’s about making people feel… happy. No? When I’m happy, i get this boost of energy, this excitement about doing stuff… this need to create. The problem is, or challenge to be positive, is that people are different, each having their own little quirks, which themselves evolve over time. So yes, constant change is needed, not radical, but flowing. And yes, agility is key. Thanks Julian!

  6. benoitdavid says:

    Reblogged this on Benoit David's Blog and commented:
    Creativity is always on my mind… how it works, how to make it work, how to foster it… Here’s a perspective I like from Julian Stodd.

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