The Genesis Project Episode Seven

Grace was really looking forward to her next meeting with Jim and Shirley. She was intrigued by the proposal that Shirley said she was preparing.

“Before I show you my thoughts, I want to ask you what you are looking for in the increase in the creativity among your staff?”

Grace was thrown by the question. “I’m not sure what you are asking me.”

“Well creative people contribute in many ways. I like to think of their roles in the following ways.”

“First, you have those I call original idea creators. These are people who come up with new ideas in response to needs that all of us have but don’t act upon. Typically, the response to their idea is: Why didn’t I think of that? To identify this trait, I look for cranky people. They get upset with things and are driven to come up with a better way. I learn a lot from stories so I’m handing you the story of Rommy Kolb, the woman who developed the hair scrunchy. I suspect that this is the kind of creativity you are looking for, but I want to challenge you to think of other types of creativity as well.”

“The next step I call the artistic creators. These are the novelists, painters, sculptors, architects, and others whose creations move us emotionally. I bet you have people in your workforce who write and play in bands. I suspect you have dance teachers. You may not think you need this type of creativity, but buying a product is an emotional decision. I want to share with you the story of Camille Claudel who was a sculptor, protégé, and rival of Auguste Rodin who we know for his sculpture called The Thinker. As you read this story, begin to think of the role of a mentor in creative development.”

“The next type I call the discoverers. They make breakthroughs in our thinking. They become the source of disruptive ideas that change our economy and our view of the world. You may not have any Nobel Prize winners here, but I think you do have people who are dreamers. Grace, I do believe you are a discoverer. You may find this a difficult type of creative person to find. I believe they are here, but unrecognized. Discoverers tend to be introverts. They may seem to be indifferent to the work they are doing, but they are a great untapped resource if you can find them. Let me share with you the story of Barbara McClintock. She worked in obscurity because no one believed in her. Eventually she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Without her work on recombinant DNA, we would not have had a vaccine to fight COVID 19.”

“The next type are the extenders. I’m sure you have a lot of these. They aren’t especially good at coming up with a new idea, but they are marvelous at extending that idea to make it better or to identify new applications. These are the nay-sayers who can be challenged to be contributors. Let me share with you the story of Lillian Gilbreth who was one of the founders of Industrial Engineering, the field that explores better ways to work.”

“Two more types. Innovators are big picture creators. Where others are focused on ideas for specific use, innovators imagine structure, processes, organizations, or other big picture creations. Think of how you market your product. An innovator will be useful in that way. Let me share with you the story of Lina Trivedi who came up with the idea of selling products over the internet.”

“By now you’ve probably noticed that all of my stories I’ve shared with you are women. That was intentional. I want you to understand that the myth that women aren’t creative is flat out wrong. What everyone of these women did is demonstrate the final creative type. They were pioneers. Every creator needs to be a pioneer. They are breaking new ground. They are taking risks by putting their ideas forward. Often they are confronting stereotypes. Our world has a history of suppressing new ideas. Nancy Roman fought skeptics in her field of astronomy to gain acceptance for a telescope being placed in space instead of on Earth. Those wonderful photos from the Hubble Telescope are a product of her pioneering work in a field that didn’t accept women. The next telescope to be launched will be the Roman Telescope.”

“Sorry to be so long winded, but I wanted to expand your thinking about creative types. Now I want to give you my proposal I call The Genesis Project. Let’s stop here so you can read my proposal and think about it during your hypnagogic time. Then let’s meet again.

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Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs

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