Friday, May 1, 2009


Today I thought of just putting in words what I have been thinking (quietly) for the last two weeks. Its about creativity.
Why is creativity important for an organisation or any person for that matter?
The market place is fiercely competitive, you need to think of new products or services, new production methods and new procedures to ride the competition and stay ahead of the pack. It is in the interest of everyone to be creative. New ideas generation is possible at all levels of an organisation.
At the top level, existing competing ideas that are being re-modelled or re-packaged requires imagination. It's hardly that you need to re-invent the wheel every time you are faced with problems and finding solutions to them. That should clear off your mind from the insurmountable demands of being creative.
In many instances the manager or entrepreneur will need to juggle many types of thinking and leadership styles to suit different needs and situations at work. Though they appear eclectic or pragmatic in nature, it is creative at the same time because it is divergent thinking in action- where you look at different scenarios and many possible solutions.
Most of us are scared stiff to be an 'original 'thinker, to think outside the box ( who will pay for our 'craziness'?) because we are not adept at combining analytical thinking with creative thinking. Really its just a state of mind and more a question of the lack of creative thinking skills.
The science and art of creative thinking.
Very often we leave creative thinking to artists. As artists they excel in their ability to express our emotional, aesthetic , collective or our world view needs. It is for this main reason that we need art and artists. But should this mode of thinking be confined to artists? Like artists, scientists are also engrossed in their ideas till the moment of eureka. In hindsight, there is much logic required before the seemingly eureka fit. De Bono proposed that through lateral thinking we can indeed learn to recognise patterns of thought. Every valuable creative idea must always be logical to start with. Scientific papers are good examples of this. There are written in wonderfully logical fashion, but the progress of real science that precedes the papers depend on hunches, ruminations, accidents, imagination and luck. It just shows that scientists may need the heart of an artist to come out with new discoveries. Remember the falling apple.
Learning organisation
For many managers these days, the first rule is to break the rules. This is akin to Schumpeter's ' gale of creative destruction' philosophy. The goal is to imagine what you can make happen. We need to create the future. How do you embed this type of thinking into an organisation?
Organisations need to be a 'learning organisation' to survive the future. The competencies and skills involved are the ones we are already familiar with - empowerment, team leadership, continuous improvement, but should also include spiritual growth i.e. opening oneself to a progressively deeper reality and living life from a creative rather than a reactive view point.
This thinking discipline requires one to see current reality more clearly and ensuring the gap between vision and reality produces the creative tension from which learning arises.
The kind of leadership style suitable for this is transformational because it requires big changes in the mind to stay ahead in your business or industry. When called upon we should be able as individuals to excercise the free will to juxtapose the many intelligences we possess ( EQ- emotional and ecological ,IQ, SQ- social and spiritual) to solve whatever pressings needs we are faced with. This is our God given gift.
Globalisation - clash or collaborate
The only constant in life is change. I put it that conscious change can only be accelerated through creative thinking. For instance, in seeing today's globalisation it may be a good idea ( a creative one?) to see globalisation not as a clash of cultures but a collaboration of cultures. With this new paradigm we would then be able to see the world that's fast emerging from the meeting of new values, technologies, new lifestyles, new modes of communication in better ways by turning to wholly new ideas, analogies, classifications and concepts.
The future is uncertain of course and we cannot predict it perfectly. But learn to look at it from a creative angle and you'll be surprised at its novelty. Isn't it the best time for us now to come to terms with this deepest of social upheaval and a creative re-structuring of all time? Creative thinking will help us shift our existing paradigm by propelling it to creative leaps towards a more prosperous, peaceful and progressive future. It's never too late to be creative.
( Note: This abstract painting ( paint on board, 4'x8') done in 1995 will be showcased in my 2nd solo exhibition, scheduled 14.10.09 at Kuching)


Protege said...

I simply love this post!
Written with eloquence of an artist and a logic of a scientist.;)
I love the way you describe science and scientists, I could not put it better myself.
I wish more people would have your attitude to life and art; the world would be a better place.
I will return to this post again, as it deserves to be read several times.;)

Mahmud Yussop said...

Frankly, your earlier posts on the scientific work you do in the lab has inspired me to write this. As I wrote this piece the guiding light seemed to be you in the lab with a 'light bulb' flickering above the head that is about to light up brilliantly and reveal the ingenuity of your work. Keep up with the good work.