Creative Courage with Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director at Cirque de SoleilUnccovering innovation through engagement, collaboration, and controlled failure — and how it can apply to, and change, our approach to both training and business.
In most of us, creative super powers are there, but often dormant.
When we think about geniuses, we think Picasso, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Emmett Brown ;) -- we think of the cliche of the lone genius. And not to diminish the genius of these people, but we can also tap into our own genius superpowers.
"The future of innovation is no longer in the hands of the scientists, artists, or designers working alone in a lab, loft or studio...It is a creative, collective, humanist enterprise that seeks to find new solutions to the problems of our planets and its future." ~ Lucas Dietrich
The world in which we live is constantly evolving.
How can we start to co-create? How can we enlist the people we're trying to reach out to? How can we pull them into the creative process?
There's a huge taboo when we talk about collaboration. When we talk about creating true collaborative culture, we're talking about egos, power struggles, red tapes...
Our ability to create collaborative culture impacts our entire life.
The mindset he tries to practice or apply: "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." ~ Sir Ken Robinson
This is the root of creative courage. And you can practice this.
Creative confidence is the ability to believe that you can change the world around you (the guys from IDEO said this).
Let go of perfection. Put things out there and iterate on them.
What it means to be creative -- to be faced with absolutely complex and near-impossible problems and to realize that to solve those problems, there's no instructional manuals and you'll need to make it up.
Place the bar where it feels a little bit impossible.
At Cirque, his role is to push people farther in their roles and their designs as he works across many teams. So how does he do that?
Ask the DUMB questions; make the DUMB comments. Don't squelch the voice that says, "don't say that idea -- that will sound ridiculous." Very often, it's those seemingly silly ideas that trigger the chain reactions that lead to great ideas. Putting that out there encourages the rest of the team to adopt that behavior."
IDEAS love to hang out together. They love to mingle, make love, and create new ideas. Whenever you can, put out a number of ideas. Put stuff out there that might sound silly but could be really powerful.
The more you let really talented people around you GROW, the more it will let you grow. Think about the people on your team, your projects -- how can you make a more fertile ground for that genius to be expressed. Create space to allow people to grow. Constantly recruit people that have amazing skills and who could potentially replace you.
PROGRAM FAILURE. Put yourself in a situation to get early feedback in order to make it better.
ABOUT WHO? WHAT STORY? Don't forget what the project is about. When we started this project, what was it really about? Are we still connected to that objective?
BREAK RULES. But not your principles. You need to know what your principles are; you need to know what matters to you. Rules have an expiration date. They had rule that it wouldn't take less than 36 months to put on a show. Are you clear what principles are driving that rule?
In every project, add an element that pushes the boundaries. He calls this PUNK ROCK (even though, as he says, he's not wearing a mohawk or chains). Can you add an element of punk rock? Put some of that attitude into the project - your audience will feel it and be grateful.
TRANSCEND SIGNATURE. Do we want to push out things that are new or meaningful? When we do our best work, there's often something at the end that surprises us.
"As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own..." ~ Amy Poehler
Create space to let teams shine as much as possible.
You have very little power to control things. But you do have infinite power to influence. That force of influence is really based on your ability to foster this notion of creative courage in others.