One of the highlights of the City calendar for me is the Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (ICL) Day run by the Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice. As ever, this was an opportunity to be exposed to new people, including colleagues from other departments that too often we only meet at events, new conversations and ideas. For me, thinking about learning spaces at City and the impact of the current review of professional services, this event gave me a new perspective and approach. The day combined academics and professionals from a variety of fields. With sessions held across three floors and lunch in another building plus attending from 9am until 6.30pm the day was quite a workout physically and intellectually!
Here are five things that were great about May’s ICL Day:
1) Matt Kingdon’s, co-founder of ?Whatif!, inspiring keynote ‘Different Practice is Best Practice’ talked about innovating from within a big company. His four aspects of innovation culture are 1) make it real, 2) mess it up, 3) not so clever, and 4) respect, not reverence. Of note were revamped meeting rooms, too often soulless places, and making them ‘a room to dream in’ and reflecting the realities of the customers such as Superdrug recreating a teenage girl’s bedroom in the boardroom to keep managers connected with the target customer. Also the importance of not knowing everything and asking the right questions. We need to be thinking about new ways of working together and how to nurture innovation.
2) Oliver Baxter’s exploration of different types of creative people. (I would probably be described as a ‘change agent’ according to his four categories). These types were matched to various types of office furniture design. Valuable to see the different types of creativity and how this translates to spaces such as tall tables that people can lean on as they meet for spontaneous meetings, hideaway pods that give quiet and privacy, open plan offices and collaborative spaces. We must consider diversity of needs in our spaces.
3) The importance of story telling and metaphor was a theme in a number of sessions including Alison Duffy’s ‘The Metaphors we Work With’ and Joanna Grigg’s ‘Tell me a Story’. We need this skill to enable communication and create visions and bring about change. We can use stories to completely rethink something and we can also change our metaphors to change the way we experience things.
4) Another key theme for me was in stressing the fact that everyone is creative. This was best expressed in Rob Tatman’s ‘Techies aren’t Creative and Other Myths’. He challenged myths about creativity including the idea that it is a gift and it can’t be developed.
5) I’m already a fan of Patrick Jordan and his work on Positive Psychology and good to be reminded of this approach in these trying times. The main tenets of positive psychology are: take responsibility, set goals, be positive (as you’d expect!), persevere intelligently, and connect with others. Also, we need to set goals that are meaningful and give us pleasure and focus on what we can change and control.