Creativity And Chaos

Chaos and creativityAccording to an anonymous quote I read recently “Chaos is not merely a mindless jiggling, it’s a subtle form of order”. Chaos theory is closely linked to creativity so I will provide a brief introduction. In reality there is no chaos, just different levels of order!

There are some fundamental concepts which I first need to point out:

  • The key for us to perceive or observe order is perspective
  • There can be order in apparent randomness
  • It only takes a very small change to move from a chaotic system into an ordered one and vice versa. Such events have been labelled as a ‘strange attractor’.

Imagine you are inside a system which appears chaotic, for instance an atom. You will observe electrons whizzing around your head like insects in a random fashion. Step up a level and you will notice that everything appears more ordered. If you step up to the molecular, you should notice that things will appear more ordered still.

In science lessons at school we have all observed Brownian motion. Here molecules apparently move in a random fashion when heated. Later we discovered that they conformed to a mathematical formula after our teachers conducted a random walk experiment.

It seems that if we can attain a high enough vantage point then we can indeed ‘separate the wood from the trees’. Slip low down and once again we become lost in chaos.

How can we make use of this knowledge within our organisations and businesses? Well layers of hierarchy do remove those at the top from the apparent chaos. At each level those within the organisation must learn to recognise the patterns of the adjacent level.

Insert too many layers and you cannot see what is happening, and if we insert too few will result in brains frazzled by complexity. For an organisation the implications are profound. To improve the performance of an organisation we must do a little pruning. We must remove some of the layers that build up over time that merely act as sticking plasters.

Too many attempts to interpret or understand is a little like Chinese Whispers, and then to make sure we have it right we begin writing everything down as procedures and red tape takes over. We then restore order, but we may lose creativity forever.

We must learn to walk that fine line between complexity and order that allows us to both implement a strategy and make use of chaos at the same time.

This is the key principle of the creative organisation.

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Professional or Amateur, which are YOU?

Are you amateur or professionalHere are some thoughts on the differences between professionals and amateurs. If you do whatever you do as a business then you really should be acting like a professional even if you are currently not making enough money as you would like! These tips have been borrowed from well known writer and trainer Jeff Goins and modified slightly.

Please feel free to agree or disagree.

Amateurs wait for clarity but Professionals take action

You have to know who you are before you can work out what you want to do. If you want to be an artist then call yourself an artist and then perfect your skills, don’t wait for someone else to label you as an artist.

Amateurs want to arrive but Professionals want to get better

You need to become a student long before you get to be a master. You need to be around people who know, and allow yourself to be taught by those people. If not then you will delude yourself that you are better than you actually are!

Amateurs practise as much as they have to but Professionals never stop

You may need to practise even when it hurts. Its not enough to just turn up each day, you must challenge yourself. It is also said that frequency beats quantity so practise regularly not for long periods with long breaks in between.

Amateurs leap for their dreams but Professional build bridges

You have to build a bridge not just jump into the unknown. Work is a marathon not a sprint and you need to take time to get to where you are going. People often say ‘stick at it’ but what is the ‘it’. It is the person i.e. you not the thing that you are actually trying to do. This mat change over time.

Amateurs fear failure but Professional embrace it

You need to learn from your failures. Some talk about failing frequently. In an ideal world we would not fail, we would simply make the best choices on our way through life. However most of us will fail at something at some poitn in time. Be ready to learn from it and move on, it is not the end of the world.

Amateurs learn a skill but Professionals create a portfolio

You should master more than one skill. This is not a call to be a jack of all trades but rather to be a master of some (not one or none!). If you work on your own you will be a skilled person (say a mechanic) but you may also be a master of marketing (getting work in) or sales (selling more to your customers). The more skills you can master the more flexible your business can be and the more opportunities you will be able to take.

Amateurs want to be noticed but Professional want to be remembered

You must worry more about legacy then ego. Don’t think about the quick win but think about where your business is heading. Are you working towards your next book deal, speaking at a big trade conference or perhaps looking to take on a big fleet contract for your garage business? Look beyond today’s instant gratification and plan for long term success.

 

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Coffee With Derek on IMAN FM 02/03/2017

My weekly radio show Coffee With Derek broadcast on March 2nd 2016 on Iman FM. Business Creativity and Innovation, a little music from Dire Straits plus an interview with Caroline Palmer from Raising The Baa – Leadership and Management training using Sheep.

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