Which comes first the chicken or the eggWhich comes first, and do we care? You may think that organisations are creative and think they must come up with ideas. You may see organisations that generate ideas and then think that they must be creative. So which comes first?

If we try to work out the solution to our little dilemma we will be here for ages. In a way creativity and ideas are just manifestations of something else that is going on.

Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming due to a rash of untidiness. He could not be bothered to tidy up before going home and then going on holiday. A month later he returned to discover something strange growing in one of his petri dishes and realised that something significant was happening. Further investigation led to the discovery of penicillin.

Creativity (and ideas) come about through friction and tension. This can be effort vs laziness, humour vs seriousness, chaos vs order and so on. When these tensions occur then unexpected, and sometimes seemingly trivial things happen. All we have to do is simply be ready.

Some say that luck is what is required to come up with a good idea to exploit. This is not true, what is needed is serendipity. This is a piece of good fortune coupled with an ability to realise the significance of the lucky event and the ability to take action.

So whether you are trying to be creative on your own or as part of a large organisation don’t get bogged down in systems and processes (QA will probably favour the Chicken and HR the Egg) just keep an open mind and be ready!

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