by Ken Milling, ID Executive Coach
It is not unusual for managers and leaders to include creativity and/or innovation on their professional development wish list, but from whence do these attributes come?
The play of children is often taken for granted, as something we all go through and eventually grow out of, but it is through play as children that we develop, to individually varying degrees, the capacity for innovation and creativity. As we mature, the demands of daily life and of compliance in the workplace tend to diminish this capacity for play and, in turn, our capacity for creativity and innovation.
If joy and passion for our work is absent, this may indicate overwhelming compliance or pursuit of a compulsion that can manifest in ways that are detrimental to the individual.
The capacity for play is essential to achieving and maintaining a work/life balance. We need to allow ourselves space for reflective thought – ‘creative space’ – in which to ‘play’, because this can light a spark that in time ignites an increased capacity for innovation in the workplace and a more generalised passion for life.
In Alexander Newman’s book Winnicotts Words (New York University Press, p 326) well-known psychoanalyst and paediatrician, Donald Winnicotts, states…
It is creative apperception more than anything else that makes the individual feel that life is worth living. Contrasted with this is a relationship to external reality, which is one of compliance, the world to be fitted in with or demanding adaptation. Compliance carries with it a sense of futility for the individual and is associated with the idea that nothing matters and that life is not worth living. In a tantalising way, many individuals have experienced just enough of creative living to recognise that for most of their time they are living uncreatively, as if caught up in the creativity of someone else, or of a machine ...It is in playing and only in playing that the child or adult is able to be creative...
When we experience the inner realm of ‘play’ we can find creative ways of initiating ideas that excite and enliven our work life through innovative action. When a creative surge manifests through the individual, it can be infectious, with the potential to become a catalyst for collective change within an organisation.
The Integral Development coaching process helps to address work/life balance issues and guide individuals in creating a space for reflective thought that can lead to creativity and innovation.