(Learn here the secret method of Experiential Creativity)
There are two types of creativity. One, we all have (but most lose) and that is the one we are all born with and use as children: the ability to experiment.
The second is not talked about, and again few use and yet we all have access to it. It is making new patterns from our experiences to create new ideas and new solutions.
We know we need to use our Experimental Creativity, to try new things without judgement, every creativity guru will tell you that (including me).
But what about this other type: Experiential Creativity. How can we harness that?
If you’ve ever watched the television programme Doctor Who, you’ll know that in its 48 year history a number of different actors have played the role. Each of the 11 official incarnations of the character are of course the same man. When his body wears out or gets injured he ‘regenerates’ into an new, entirely different looking man. It was a brilliant conceit by the writers that they could replace the lead actor with another one whenever they needed to and he didn’t have to look, dress or act the same. (Remember those annoying programmes that swapped the main actor to a look-a-like and expected us not to notice? Remember Joey from Bread?)
For the 10th and 20th anniversaries* of the programme the producers thought it would be a good idea for a storyline to have a threat so great that the Doctor couldn’t solve it on his own so he would have to have help – from himself, in the form of his ‘former selves’.
Now of course they could have pulled out of time a version of the Doctor from a couple of weeks earlier or months earlier. But that earlier version would have looked more or less the same, bar a different velvet jacket. It was much more fun to have coincidentally the Timelords pulling a versions of the Doctor from his previous incarnations. It made for a great story, they could argue and call each other names, but being different versions of the same man, eventually work together to solve the problem in the story.
My proposition to you is that we should all do the same.
Now, unless you’re a Timelord with a number of regenerations, the chances are you look pretty much the same when you look back at your life. Perhaps you looked a little younger. Perhaps you wore different clothes.
Look back at your life and decide (arbitrarily of course) which eras of your life you can catergorise as separate incarnations.
It could be that the child version of us is one, the teenage version of us is another. When we were a New Romantic or Punk could be one, when we were a student could be another. If there was an era where you thought in a particular way or dressed in a particular way, define that as an incarnation. Perhaps we can divide out lives into 5 or 11 incarnations (depending on how long you’re own adventure series has run so far).
You can see 6 of my incarnations on this very page. Don’t worry if you don’t look as odd as I do. You don’t have to be weird for this to work (but it helps).
Then define that key characteristics of each incarnation. What did they like, believe, love, hate? How did they dress and what did they do.
If you think deeply about it you’ll find there are differences. Just like how Doctor Who is the same man, the same essential character throughout, each version has idiosyncrasies that make him look at life in slightly different ways in each incarnation.
The same is true for us.
This exercise is important because the greatest Mastermind Group, the greatest Think Tank, the greatest Team we can have working with us and for us is one that comprises of us in each of our incarnations. If we can get our experiences (comprising as they are of memory and emotions) ‘online’, i.e. accessible to us, we will have at our disposal the greatest creativity and problem solving methods there are.
It took three Doctors to defeat the renegade Omega, creator of the black hole, the Eye of Harmony, that made him the architect of time travel. It took five Doctors to defeat his former tutor, Borusa, who sought the immortality of the very first Time Lord, Rassilon.
How many ‘yous’ will it take to solve your current or greatest challenge? The good news is that they’ll all available to be pulled out of time and be consulted to gain their unique take, wisdom and experiences to augment our current selves.
Who knows, perhaps our current incarnations will be called upon by a future version of ourselves to solve an even greater challenge. Just like in Doctor Who, we often find that we’ll have the answers within us all along.
(* They very nearly pulled it off again for the 30th anniversary, but for various reasons, didn’t. They did do something, but we don’t talk about that…)
Ayd Instone works with people to explore and unlock their creative ideas in ways they may never have thought possible, to inspire innovation in their lives, and their business.
Book Ayd to speak about the Power of ‘What If?’ and Inspiration for Innovation at your conference, or in your business. A great way to open your event or as an after lunch energiser.
For more interesting info see: www.aydinstone.com