Updated: Aug 13, 2020
I had two calls that interested me today.
One with a client, a business owner, about the power of creating space in their schedule - a whole day away from the computer to allow more flow and creativity. He came up with a name for it in his calendar - "Freedom Friday" - and booked out the time. Not a day to be free from work but a day to get away from the computer, out into nature or to a coffee shop, with a paper and pen to allow a different perspective and new fresh thinking. We get this intuitively - we’ve all experienced having a brilliant idea when in the shower, driving or out for a walk. And neuroscience backs this up - when we are task-focussed and “getting shit done”, our brain is working in a mode that stifles creativity.
The other call was an online improvisation class that I ran with two colleagues.
I saw a connection (kinda).
True innovation comes when creativity and diverse ideas and ways of thinking come together. The broader your experience and knowledge, the more chance there is to create something truly innovative. Steve Jobs’ training in *calligraphy* led to the beautiful fonts (for the time!) seen on the welcome screen of the first Mac.
The world of “improv”, that is, unscripted talking, acting and singing comes from the creative arts and has had a big impact in leadership development. So someone had the idea to bring concepts from improv to enhance the skills of leaders. No doubt they weren’t hunched over a computer firing off emails at the time (and no doubt it was well before email was ever invented!).
Here’s one improv tool I love: “yes, and …”
It’s very well known in the world of acting and improv and yet it was new to me only last year.
The essence is that *whatever* the person before you says, you *have* to find some good in it and then build on that with your ideas. In improv it is a fun way to create something new from nothing. In leadership it is a powerful way to:
Maintain and build relationships by having the other person feel seen and understood
Innovate - to brainstorm new business strategies, products ideas and more
Create expansive conversations, full of possibilities, rather than ones that shut down
Two possible forms: “yes, and…”, or “what I like about that is X, and …”.
Never use “but” - it negates whatever came before.
Always come from a place of genuinely seeing the good in what the other person is saying. Even if you can only see 1% good!
Get into the practice of using this every day and you will experience a big shift!
This article is part of 100 Days of Creation, my challenge to myself to write 100 articles in 140 days, each taking no longer than 30 minutes to write and publish.