The object of thinking outside the box is to invite Creativity


PRODUCTIVITY or CREATIVITY?

AN INVITATION TO BECOME CREATIVE

In the photo presented above are shown the result of creative intent on the part of this beautiful lady and the author of this essay.  While many offspring come into this world by accident, this one did not.  Both sets of circumstances may qualify as "creative"; but, when it comes to "creativity" the two differ in one important aspect--responsible anticipation.  Before this particular baby was conceived, the world was already being prepared for its arrival; all other things being equal, the prospects for its future were more hopeful than for the offspring of chance.  The reason for this is plain to see; a commitment was made by these parents prior to the circumstances of procreation.  Rather than just being discovered, this child was invented within the minds of his mother and father.  This makes a great difference.

In most publicly owned companies, the central focus of managers is often placed upon productivity, profits, enhancing shareholder value, and maximizing return on investment.  Only when it can be proven that the commitment to innovation drives up productivity does the modern day manager give any thought to creativity, seminal thinking or intellectual inventiveness.

A breeder of livestock generally takes a similar point of view.  His primary focus is upon the number and weight of his livestock breeding efforts; and normally, little else concerns him.  Nevertheless, when faced with diseases that ravage his herds, the management of this industry may awaken one day to discover that there is more to productivity than merely the structured processes of breeding, feeding and transporting his livestock to the marketplace.  Something essential was overlooked.

To be truly "creative", both industries must look beyond productivity issues if the prospects for a favorable future are to be assured.  Responsible anticipation, and a commitment to innovation--to change--is in order.

CAN CREATIVITY BE CULTIVATED?

Throughout history, innovation and creative insight were thought to be "a gift" rather than an acquired skill.  And yet, it appears that anyone who engages in games, or play, has the required  mental qualities for creativity to some degree, more or less. Intellect does play an important role in the expression of creativity; yet, even

very young children have shown an amazing capacity for innovation.  What child has not commented to a bald grandfather that he might consider "planting some hair" on his bald head?  Also, it is well known that archialogical finds in central america have shown that toys were made with rollers in ancient societies that had not yet discovered the practical use of the wheel.

Why the invention of the wheel had escaped the best engineering minds of major civilizations leads us to believe that social and political practices may have held back the progress of creative engineering. It seems that, as with procreation, the presence of unwarranted stress can inhibit or stifle the expression of individual creative thought.  Is this not why some species, like Pandas, do not breed well in captivity?

THE PLAYFUL MOOD

There is no historical record of any truly original idea taking shape in a serious state of mind. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence that insights emerge when the author is engaged in play or rest. This is not to say that people who play will reap unearned rewards; insights do not usually result from persons who have not focused upon a defined goal prior to their engaging in play or recreation.

Archimedes had already studied his problem that dealt with the percentage of gold in a crown casting when he withdrew from his mental labors to relax in the waters of the community baths.  It was there where the insight presented itself to him.  We all know what happened.

Isaac Singer was trying to solve the problem of how to design a sewing machine when the idea for a needle with a hole at the pointed end presented itself to him in the form of a dream.  In that dream, he was being pursued by cannibals carrying spears, each with a hole in the pointed end.

The French mathematician Henri Poincare was trying to solve a difficult problem in differential equations; and, being somewhat exhausted, he decided to take an extended  walk along the sunny streets of Paris. The problem was not in his conscious thinking as he decided to take the horse drawn tram back to his apartment.  He placed one foot on the step into the tram when the solution to his problem occurred to him with no conscious attention being given to the issue. According to Poincare, he froze on the spot and was momentarily unable to raise his other foot off the ground.  Rushing back to his apartment, he labored to verify the insight which appeared to him while walking up the steps into the tram carriage. This process so startled him that he documented it in his publication "Discourse on Method.".

THE MODERN DAY INDUSTRIAL DILEMMA

In the present day corporate world, managers are not prepared to pay workers for time spent "in a playful mood."  They will pay for inventions and for solutions to problems; but, by all appearances, the time spent in play is not productive.  This is the challenge which faces us here; if not answered wisely, it may result in the demise of the entire aerospace industry.

"If you are not having great fun at your of business, you are probably in the wrong line of work."       Justin Tyme
"There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination."     Ralph Waldo Emerson