The creative leap
How you transform knowledge into a powerful idea in the quest to find your distinct offer.
Contributed by Richard Gillingwater, July 2012.
You’re standing at the edge of a cliff built from logic, analysis and research. The rock on which you stand is solid and huge from layers of sedimentary debate and multiple viewpoints. You look out to sea, to the clear blue water you wish to occupy. Yet the work on which this rock is built has not taken you any further forward, it hasn’t sparked people’s imagination and it doesn’t make you feel different.
This is the point - with feet pointing forward and clutching a single gem of truth, from the many rocks at your feet, you make a creative leap. This gem that you hold may look inconspicuous and dull to everyone else, but with the right creative expression, the right polishing it can shine light onto the whole mountain and transpose and move your organisation forward – in the way both you and others look upon your university.
So, how do you find the ‘gem of truth’ from all the other stones and how do you make that creative leap?
In many stories we read about heroes on a quest for transformation – the hero’s journey.
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself"
-- Joseph Campbell
The hero will often be presented with a selection of everyday objects from which they need to choose their talisman - to see beyond the mundane exterior of the object and find its inner, more powerful truth and strength. This decision cannot be taken by logic, cannot be determined through a reductive or analytical process. It requires a leap of faith. In essence, it is a creative process.
I have for many years studied the creative process, creative thinkers and creative agencies, and how they can take a simple statement, word or thought and transform that into a big idea. For me, their journey echoes that of a hero. But heroes also exist within organisations and within us all if only we or the organisation allowed it to live. What kills the hero is lack of belief: in the creative process, and in throwing away good data only to hold onto one gem of truth and make that the basis of your creative leap. What these heroes recognize is that it is emotions, feelings and magical things that really drive our imagination, actions and awareness.
So, when you build your mountain of data, don’t forget to find the hero from within or outside your organisation. Someone who believes in something bigger, who can find the gem of truth and has the alchemy and magicians to transform rock into gold.
Richard Gillingwater is Managing Director at Accrue Brand Value. For over 20 years, he has worked with commercial and educational organisations, all of whom want to find creative solutions to telling their story – who they are and what they stand for.
Topics: Communicating your distinctiveness.