The Genesis Project Episode Eight

They now thought of themselves as the Genesis Team: Grace, Jim, and Shirley. Now that Grace and Jim had a chance to review Shirley’s proposal, they met again to work through the overall scope of what they were about to do. Shirley took the lead in providing an overview.

“As you can see, I’ve structured the proposal around the three necessary components of a creative organization: expertise, creative thinking skills, and motivation to create. Let me give you an overview of each and what I’m proposing.”

“For expertise, you have an impressive hiring program. Your R&D teams have outstanding credentials, but one thing I want to challenge is whether your staff envision themselves as scientists or creators? From their educational backgrounds, they have a mindset of discovery, but they don’t have that connective mindset that can take them from discovery to practice. What I’m imagining is the development of two-person collaborations of your discoverers and your extenders. Since many of your extenders are not college-degreed, I think they will bring experienced wisdom of what works to your more academically minded R&D staff. Let me share with you the story of Lewis Latimer, a son of former slaves, who made Edison’s lightbulb a practical reality.”

“Let me move on to the development of creative thinking skills. I’m not in favor of corporate training programs in general, especially those designed to make people creative. I’m also not a fan of some of the creative thinking programs on the market. I think they do more harm than good. Have you ever been embarrassed by a puzzle that those programs use? The puzzles are supposed to get you to think outside the box, but what they really do is reinforce your beliefs that you aren’t creative.”

“What I’m proposing is a series of apprenticeships, where a higher potential creative person can work with someone who has already demonstrated creative talent. I want to also create an effort where every employee can discover their own creative traits. I propose we do that with inspirational stories of just common people who created something of value of all of us. Rather than a concentrated training period of time. I propose that we release these stories weekly. What we need to do is to create a series that everyone in your companies can make a creative difference. Let me share with you the story of Ida Wells, who helped shape America’s attitude about justice with her stories on lynchings.”

“The final component is motivation. This phase addresses individuals’ motivation but also your corporate culture for innovation. Grace, I know that you are trying to foster innovation, but does that translate down the chain of command? This would be a rare organization if it does. I don’t believe you motivate through fear or rewards. If you want a workforce that is motivated to be creative, they need to find joy in seeing their ideas accepted. I want to focus on things like joy, hope, purpose, and making a difference. Those are real motivators. Let me share with you the story of Percy Julian, a man whose remarkable accomplishments in medicine are superseded by what he taught us about finding your life’s purpose in your creative work.”

“That’s my proposal.”

Both Grace and Jim were in awe of what Shirley was proposing. In effect she was proposing that Grace’s organizations create what it really takes for creative transformation.

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When you change your thinking, you change your actions, when you change your action you change your future.” – Zig Ziglar

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