Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ideas from Smart World

"Logic takes you from A to B. Imagination takes you everywhere."
--Albert Einstein

Harvard University Press recently published Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas, by Richard Ogle. I came across it at the ECU library, while I was looking for books on charismatic political leaders for my ongoing (may be "never ending") research about Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president since 1999. My finding this book is an example of a rabbit trail, an interesting side path one encounters while looking for something else, and is one of the many reasons writing a dissertation takes so long!

Writing a dissertation is much more involved than I ever imagined, but that's a good thing. If I had known from the beginning what is truly required to get through the process, I suspect fear would have kept me out of the whole business. In any case, this book seeks to answer the enigma of what it takes to experience breakthrough creativity, which is being valued more today than it has in a long time.

That's excellent news for those of us who don't feel like we fit into society's proposed cubby holes of rational and predictable behavior.

It is encouraging to realize, sometimes it is in the rabbit trails of research that real breakthroughs occur. I'm not saying that this blog post is a major breakthrough of any sort, but I encourage you to appreciate the reality that distractions that you encounter during work on your own project, may turn out to be more important than the project itself.

This book I've mentioned is packed with creativity research and is written from an academic perspective (by a linguist.) What first struck me in Ogle's writing (besides the fact it's dedicated to a "Laura" : ) ), is his emphasis on creativity not taking place in an isolated mind, but rather in the interaction among people, other developments, and idea flow. His work echoes that of Richard Florida, who cogently argued for the development of creative communities, not creative hermits. In other words, creative intelligence is not something that exists only inside your brain, it's inside there, and it's also out there.

Creative breakthroughs shape the future; just think how only 2 businesses, and Netflix, have changed the world for all of us. Perhaps on a smaller scale, our own breakthroughs shape the way we teach, consult, develop training programs, balance the personal/professional projects, raise our children.

There are so many opportunities to connect with the flow of creativity where you live; seek them and they will appear.

Win a lovely, soft alpaca scarf in our Free Drawing. See the June 8 post for the easy way to enter.