Want to know the secret to having more creativity and feeling fulfilled in your creative pursuits? Try something new. Put on a lab coat, spike your hair like the evil mad scientist you know you are deep down inside, and step into your creative laboratory. It’s time to experiment!
Start In The Sandbox Before Going To The Beach
I am amazed with the architectural genius of people that build amazing sandcastles. As someone that makes really bad sandcastles—think towers of plastic bucket-shaped mounds of sand—I look at what is created and sculpted by the pros and think that I am not good enough, so I don’t even try. But I need to realize that the pro sandcastle builders started somewhere, and it was probably not at the beach. They probably had a sandbox at home where they could learn and practice the different techniques of sandcastle building without performing for the general public. Eventually, their confidence and abilities were ready for the big time, and they went to the beach.
In regards to technology, we should develop sandbox environments that allow us to try new ideas without first facing the scrutiny of the public. When implementing new code or programming ideas, it is never a good idea to edit live code without first testing the changes. That is why most programming environments actually have an area called sandboxes for developers to test code.
Safe Places To Fail
Adopting sandbox environments create safe places to fail. Without failure, we cannot learn about what worked and what didn’t. We also cannot learn new things unless we embrace failure and try new things.
Common lore says that Thomas Edison discovered 999 ways to make a lightbulb, not that he failed 999 times. That is a very optimistic view of failure and necessary for us to emulate when experimenting with new creative ideas.
But how do these safe places fit in to your business model? Do you allow your employees time to grow and learn without fear that they could lose their job if they fail?
Knowing that jobs are secure in the pursuit of new ideas is the only way to foster creative innovation. But that is a risk that management is going to need to take. It might even be a risk that creatives of the future might have to make regardless, in order to set themselves apart from all of the others in the over-saturated markets.
Experiments are meant to be fun. Smile. Giggle. Get messy. Remember what it was like to be a kid again and try something new.
There will always be structured time, devoted to productivity and profit, but it is a challenge to justify—to ourselves, let alone bosses, spouses and co-workers—that time for creative experiments is vital and necessary to a thriving and expanding creative world that unveils daily treasures of art and beauty.