Creative people create – nothing novel there. Organizations desire creativity and seek out the best creative talent they can get their hands on to come in and innovate.
Then comes the tension.
People claim to want creative ideas to help innovate and move their organizations forward. However, studies show that it may just be a front. We’ve all been in that space where we are tasked to come up with new and creative ideas, only to have them shot down and the status quo process gets reinforced. This gets frustrating for people who live to create and seek to destroy the status quo. A recent study done by the University of Pennsylvania states that creative ideas are actually dismissed in favor of more tried and true, practical ideas. This study defined creative ideas as “novel”. Unfortunately, novel ideas trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable. Researchers used the same techniques that are
commissioned to measure unconscious bias. The results showed that even though people clearly and explicitly pledge allegiances to the desire to have creative ideas, they actually associate these same ideas with negative feelings and words like “poison”, “agony”, and “vomit”.
So, what do we do?
According to Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania, “The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity.”
We are creative. We have never really fit in and been accepted, so why would we think that would change now? The curse of being different is actually the gift of being creative. We process different, see things through different lenses, and have the ability to be novel. We challenge and create. We live to make new things, make old things new, and do the impossible. We’ve been hired because this is how we work. It may not be what an organization wants, but it’s what it needs…and that is why you are here. To be different. To stretch and grow the organization. To destroy the status quo and develop the NEXT.
So, keep creating. Keep dreaming. Keep wondering if there is a better way. Then when you find that way, find new and more accessible ways to communicate these ideas to the people who are scared of what might be – even though you can’t imagine living without that wonder.
How can you create the best space for your ideas to live?