Saturday, October 29, 2011

Principles of Creative Engagement

Last weekend, I had the amazing experience of attending the 2nd Creativity in Business conference held in my former hometown, Washington, DC and organized by the brilliant Michelle James.

The day was filled with so many insights that I am still slowly processing them all. As I was leaving, I noticed the above instructions tacked up to a wall. I snapped a quick image on my phone. Apparently, they were the guidelines for the entire conference that I somehow initially missed.

A few days later when I looked at the image again, I realized that it did sum up, in a few short phrases, my entire experience at the conference. And here's how:

Yes - and
A foundational principle of improv, yes- and implies that you will accept whatever happens and flow with what comes next. When I got to the conference, I was torn about which sessions to attend but the creative energy of the event guided me to choose the perfect ones for me.

Make everyone else look good
For me, this meant enthusiastically participating in each session demonstrating my engagement for the presenter to notice. I believe the more involved the audience is, the more creative energy the presenter receives.

Creativity is messy
In one session, Gregg Fraley led our group through an actual Creative Problem Solving process. One of the things he mentioned in doing so was how we should gravitate to and explore what makes us uncomfortable. It is here that your greatest creative discoveries will occur. Creativity is not a neat process.

Have fun
Above all, the conference was a day for me to play and explore new processes while meeting other like-minds folks. I tried improv, doodling, and storytelling.

What I ultimately learned is that when you combine the creative passion and enthusiasm of a group diverse individuals, you will see and feel magic happen. And that's what I'll reflect on most from the conference, as I continue to ponder the creative transformation that occurred within me.
  • How do you create and keep your creative engagement alive?


Tim said...

Hi Melanie:

Great report on a very interesting event. I'm glad you were able to snap a pic of those creative principles. As a former improv student, I could identify with "Yes-and.." and "make everyone else look good." I would also agree that creativity can be messy at times and should be fun. Thanks for your report and I look forward to more of your musings on creativity!

Cat @ said...

I saw you tweeting about this conference, so I was curious. Really enjoyed reading your wrap-up--and I'm not just saying that to make you look good ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad we were able to connect at the conference.
I'm certain that we can continue to keep some of the momentum going across the miles!

Be well,

Mark Pinto said...

I would add that creativity is a thief that steals you away from other thoughts. I often find my creativity happens when I am doing something else - usually not related. When I carve out time to be "creative" it often does not go as well.

Patrick Ross said...

It really was a magical day. Glad you mentioned the improv theme; my first session with Kat Koppett is what I've chosen to blog on... for now. There were so many amazing panels I may report on more in the future.

Cynthia Morris said...

These are also great leadership principles to follow. Which reminds me of who my real leaders are - artists and writers!

Thanks for sharing a peek into this conference!

Anonymous said...

I kind of have to agree with Mark on that one. But that of course is just part of the mystery of creativity. I certainly can identify with those creative principles. Thanks for sharing!

Henrique Fogli said...

If I may add something to this creativity checklist, it would be "Curiosity is needed!". great blog, great post!