Facing The Inhibitors Of Creativity And Innovation

It is only in our willingness to persist in the face of fear, judgment and the unknown, that we give opportunity for our creative and innovative ideas to be realized.

Whenever we are engaging creative and innovative ideas.

Whenever we are doing truly creative and innovative work.

We will often find ourselves slowly and subconsciously creeping back to what we’ve always known, what we’ve always done. Not for any lack of passion or joy around the work. Rather, because there is an overwhelming uncomfortableness in doing this work. Especially, when it is new and never been done before. An uncomfortableness that happens on two on two levels: the individual and the environmental (the inside and the outside). All of which, revolve around the three inhibitors of our creative and innovative nature.

Fear     Judgment     Unknown

And because of these inhibitors, we question ourselves into paralysis, eventually diminishing our creative and innovative inspiration.

Should I do this? Can I do this? How will it be accepted? Is this even possible? Why am I even putting myself out there like this? What will others say? What will others think? Who am I to try this?

And on and on the wheels turn, eventually sliding us back into the comfort that we had scratched and crawled to pull ourselves out of.

Keeping our creative and innovative ideas and work to ourselves, never sharing or exploring because of…

Fear     Judgment     Unknown

And so we become a little less creative, a little less innovative. As individuals, and as organizations.

The problem is, these three inhibitors are not going away. They will always be here with us (inside and out).  So then the question becomes, how do we remain creative and innovative in the face fear, judgment and the unknown?

According to Jonathan Fields, in his book ‘Uncertainty’, he provides us with the following research, “Remarkably, eliminating the possibility of evaluation of others makes ambiguity aversion disappear entirely…” And vice a versa.

For which he adds, “We’ll create with abandon, make bolder choices, lean into uncertainty, and take risks far more readily if we know that whatever comes out of that effort will never be revealed to others. The moment we introduce the element of exposure, judgment, criticism and the potential for rejection, most people run for the certainty fences. And in doing so, they become less willing to push boundaries, take risks, and choose less-certain options that often yield the greatest opportunities.”

Which gives us some insight into how to begin to solve our (inside and out) aversion to being more creative and innovative. And it begins by curbing our critical voice. Inwardly and outwardly. The voice that is quick to evaluation of others, as well as our own, ideas and work. That critical voice that stifles our natural tendency towards being more creative and innovative.

And while this will not fix all of our ills, it is a starting place. A beginning towards building up more creative and innovative individuals and organizations.

“Fear of judgment stifles our ability to embrace uncertainty and as part of that process delivers a serious blow to our willingness to create anything that hash’t already been done or validated.”  -Jonathan Fields ‘Uncertainty’

Reference and quotes from…

Fields, Jonathan. Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. 2011. Portfolio / Penguin.

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