Of late, I’ve seen a lot of emphasis on the role of culture on nourishing creativity and innovation. Sure, what is there to disagree. My point is simply that while this is essential, it is still not the core. The core is the ‘How to’ of it. Just as the core of a glass of lemon juice is not glass, water and mint. It is the few drops of lemon. ‘Core’ is the essential part, without which everything else is a waste.
Let’s take an analogy.
You see a formally dressed guy with hands tied behind his back, murmuring, ‘I am not able to paint. I am not able to paint’. You know that painting requires an informal & easygoing mindset. So, you facilitate that for him by taking off his tie and coat and then tell him to go ahead and paint. Now he points out that his hands are tied. You untie his hands but he still is not able to. ‘I still can’t, because I do not know how to paint.’, he now tells you. This time, you’re stumped
Everything else is facilitative and peripheral. At the core, he must know how to paint.
I made this point during my ‘Teach creativity to slum children’ project at Dadar, Mumbai. If you understand Hindi, see this video.
The book-Psychology of military incompetence- has a mention of a similar malady elsewhere. ‘Soldiers are taught hours of meaningless manoeuvres on the drill square till they get to move with the beauty and precision of choir girls. But nobody ever teaches them how to fight. That they must learn on the battlefield. If they live long enough to learn it.’
Another important point here. Do you believe that if the impediments are removed, things will simply fall into place? If so, your are a Mozart. He had explained the source of his masterpieces as ‘I am simply a middleman between superior powers and mankind’. On the other hand, Picasso had said ‘I do not find. I search’. I am a Picasso.
Is organisational creativity successful due to serendipity or a systematic, technique driven approach?
Is there a difference? See it here.

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