To be honest, I am fed up listening to and reading about multiple opinions on the new normal post-Covid. A recurring theme in the conversations I heard or read was that organisations must now become more innovative than ever. I thought that this feels like common sense, right?
Nevertheless, organisations that need support can reach out to a spectrum of consultants and academic theories.
But then, my thinking led to a question – “How do these organisations (its leaders) intrinsically know the mechanisms of a management theory in practice if this is the first time they are ever hearing it – especially that of organisational practices to boost innovation culture?”*
Self-experimenting to find out.
A spark is a little thing, yet it may kindle the world. Martin Farquhar Tupper.
A spark, internal or external, is vital to instil creativity and innovation. In fact, artists carefully go through a thought process in just selecting their external stimuli for creativity (1). So, coming back to the management theory question I had, logic implies that organisations [and its employees] could benefit from an external spark.
I asked my friend to give me a single-worded theme. I then took 2 to 3 days to shoot a photo that best represented it**. Only after I completed this task, I got another theme from another friend.
Selecting my friends were at random to ensure there was no bias or alikeness in the thought process. There was also no negotiation on the theme that my friend gave. Once given, I had to take it up. I did this self-experiment for 6 themed photos (from 6 friends) over 2 weeks.
The six themes and photos I clicked for them are
The results baffled me!
I got many comments from my friends saying that the pictures gave them a perspective that never occurred to them (example for balance, I took a picture of my shower knob. Why? Cause every day I adjust the knob just at the right position to get the perfect balance of hot and cold water)
The pictures not only did justice to the theme but also created a positive ripple effect. One friend went on to show a different perspective of the same theme that I shot.
With an external stimulus as a spark, I was able to look at everyday things through a different lens. I did go above and beyond physically for one particular theme. For adventure, I was hanging on one hand off a tree branch while clicking the photo with the other.
Finally, it was fun and exciting; the two weeks off the edge from days becoming mundane.
So, looping back:
Because I have been through this process, I was now able to help a few of my friends in searching and using sparks for kindling their creativity. By extrapolating this experience to an organisation setting, a thought occurred. To ensure most effective use of a new team practice [on innovation] a “walk the talk” approach might be helpful. If a business leader experiences a practice first-hand, he/she will then be I a better position to advocate others to do so.
And by saying so, I added some more to a saturated ocean of opinions of what the new normal should be like. I plead guilty.
*Knowing how water boils can be done in two ways: read all the theory you want https://amrita.olabs.edu.in/?sub=73&brch=2&sim=29&cnt=1 or place a pan of water on high heat and watch what happens – knowing both gives you the whole picture.
** All photos are posted in my Instagram profile @maktheway