Would you ever send out half a football team or half a baseball team in a competition? Would you ever choose to play a game of chess using only the knights and the pawns? Would you ever dream of sending out a resume with only half your experience and qualifications?
Of course not!!
And yet most of us are quite happy to rely mainly on our cognitive intelligence and leave our emotional, intuitive and kinaesthetic intelligences on the sidelines when we manoeuvre through our days, facing challenges and solving problems. Why is that?
We are then disappointed when we are trying to change certain behaviours or be more creative and we fail again and again.
Likewise, organisations trying to implement change fail again and again. At present even the most unlikely of organisations are investing heavily on ways to generate more creativity and innovation from their employees. Some are having great success; however many have great starts but cannot sustain the momentum.
As Peter Senge explains in Dance of Change, ‘…it is not enough to change strategies, structures and systems, unless the thinking that produced those strategies, structures and systems also changes.’
So how do we change the thinking?
INVOLVE ALL THE PEOPLE
‘The fantasy that somehow organisations can change without personal change, and especially without change on the part of the people in leadership, underlies many change efforts from the start…’ says Pamela Meyer, author of From Workspace to Playspace.
Everyone must have stakes in the changes wanted – feel accountable and engaged.
INVOLVE THE WHOLE PERSON
This means, for starters, the whole brain. We know that creativity requires engaging both the left AND right sides of the brain. A great metaphor was used in the Newsweek article below when it described creativity requiring ‘…blender pulses of both divergent and convergent thinking…’ Left brain AND right brain.
Most of us are quite practised at convergent thinking – analysing, sequencing, gauging, categorising, generating criteria, selecting the logical solution. It’s what our education prepares us to do.
However, when it comes to divergent thinking – imaginative, associative, metaphoric, out-of-the-box, original, outrageous and unhindered by judgment – most adults need help. Children don’t, we do.
That’s one area where play comes in.
The importance of play in giving people access to deeper, innate knowledge and creativity cannot be stressed enough.
Activities that allow people to take on different roles; to imagine, improvise in unusual situations, use their whole bodies and step out of comfort zones, have a lasting, transformative impact.
Not only on the individual, but on the way they relate to their families, their jobs, their colleagues; to the meaning they give their lives, therefore the meaning they give their work.
If the whole of the person is not involved then, as Meyer points out, ‘knowledge is reduced to data and people are reduced to data processors.’
And we know data processors are not what we need in organisations to make them more dynamic and creative!!