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Why are Creativity and Innovation Worth Talking About?

Commiting to Playing a Bigger GameIn his latest book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, Seth Godin writes about the “New Scarcity.” He states:

Why Make Art? Because you must. The new connected economy demands it and will reward you for nothing else. Because you can. Art is what it is to be human.”

His premise is that to survive, we have to realize that the old industrial model is slipping away. That the actions we took in the old economy for success don’t scale any more; that if we want real results and, more importantly, fulfillment, it’s time to recognize and realize the artist within; that creativity and innovation are what’s being called for – desperately and RIGHT NOW.

Godin continues:

“We assume that you will make something to spec. We assume that the lights will go on when we flip the switch. We assume that the answer is in Wikipedia.

All we are willing to pay you extra for is what we don’t assume, what we can’t get easily and regularly and for free. We need you to provide the things that are unexpected, scarce and valuable.

Scarcity and abundance have been flipped. High-quality work is no longer scarce. Competence is no longer scarce, either. We have too many good choices – there’s an abundance of things to buy and people to hire.

What’s scare is trust, connection and surprise. These are three elements in the work of a successful artist … [we need people willing to take] the risk involved in digging deep to connect and surprise, the patience required to build trust, the guts necessary to say, ‘I made this’ – these are all scarce and valuable. And they scale.”

We have to be willing to take the risk because, as Godin puts it:

Art is Frightening. Art isn’t pretty. Art isn’t painting. Art isn’t something you hang on the wall.

Art is what we do when we’re truly alive.

If you’ve already decided that you’re not an artist, it’s worth considering why you made that decision and what it might take to unmake it.

If you’ve announced that have you no talent (in anything!), then you’re hiding.

Art might scare you. Art might bust you. But art is who we are and what we do and what we need.

An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it (all of it, the work, the process, the feedback from those we seek to connect with) personally.

Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.”

Since the day I wrote the first Idea Tango blog post Live I’ve been tip-toeing around the core message the Godin is putting forth in this book.

I’ve said that we are all inherently creative; that creative is what we are and that creating is what we do.

I’ve said that we need to navigate the internal and external saboteurs that tell us we’re not creative (as Godin put it, to consider what it might take to unmake the decision that we’re not creative).

I’ve said we have to be willing to stick our necks out and simply create – risking failure and actually failing.

But what I haven’t articulated exactly – and what after beginning Godin’s book, I feel like a total wimp about – is this:

Fully expressing our creative selves in the world today is not simply a nice thing to think about and aspire to, it’s an IMPERATIVE.

It’s necessary for full aliveness, and for our very survival.

I’ve written about the coming age – the Age of Innovation – and I was a little more gutsy in that series in terms of bluntly stating what’s needed. But I haven’t real planted my flag around this topic as strongly as I want to. Godin has set me on fire around doing that – from now on and always: To holding my own feet to fire and to holding the space for you to do that as well. It’s what I do one on one with my clients, so why not here, too? The answer: Because it’s scary. Because it requires me to take a bigger risk. If I put it in print, I open myself up to criticism.

Well, okay, I feel that fear, but I’m ready.

This column is meant to be a calling forth to all of us to: GET OFF OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES; to have the conversations around creativity and innovative that need to be had; to hold each other’s feet to the fire; to act.

How are we making art? Where are we holding back? What is the journey worthy of our hearts and our souls?

What can I do to make Idea Tango into a blog that really truly serves you in your gutsy adventure on this planet?

I’m really asking – so I hope you’ll share your thoughts.

To stopping the pussy-footing around the issue,

Susan B.