Creativity & Innovation

Leadership is about influencing people to act. Leaders initiate change, sustain change and grow other leaders.

Next week I'm going to teach a class on creativity and innovation for the MBA class down at Longwood University.

I believe everyone plays a leadership role somewhere in their life; influencing someone. I also assume MBA students are pursuing their degree to prepare themselves to be better business leaders.

As such I intend to share tools I've acquired throughout my career and engage the students in exercises and activities to give them a feel for expanding their comfort zones as it relates to successful change.

I hope to leave them with three ideas: curiosity, passion and courage.

I'm curious about pretty much everything. Besides creativity and innovation in preparation for teaching the class, I'm currently reading about transportation, pre-Colombian America, Tarot Cards, branding, storytelling and the Theatre.

I've found something of interest in each of these books and been able to combine ideas I've found in each to enhance my understanding of the others and my cosmology as a whole.

As for passion, I care deeply about a lot of things. God, community and family loom large among my priorities. I want to leave the world a better place upon my leaving it. I wake every day feeling like the world is changing so fast and I must simultaneously hustle to stay abreast while taking time to pause, observe, appreciate and experience the here and now.

This passion for learning and my desire to find ways to apply what I learn for the betterment of one and all fuels my continued exploration.

The last idea I want to impart to the students is the need for courage. It would seem people would want the world to change for the better. But defining better is subjective. It seems that with every change someone loses something. Whether that loss is real or imagined is immaterial. People who perceive they're going to lose something tend to fight harder to preserve the status quo than the people who stand to gain something.

Hence, suggesting change is dangerous.

As the saying goes, fore warned is fore armed.

I'm not suggesting NOT suggesting change, I'm simply acknowledging there are almost always opponents to change. Sometimes even the people who encourage you to find a solution to a problem are threatened by your proposed solution. In the end it takes courage to initiate and sustain a change.

My goal for the class besides enhancing the students' ability to find creative solutions they can apply, is to fan their curiosity, passion and courage to initiate changes and follow them through to completion.

If nothing else, preparing for this class has given me the excuse, like I need one, to continue to explore.