by Janet Sernack
Innovation consulting can be a lonely place for a woman to play, especially in a conventional, male-oriented, and competitive marketplace like Melbourne is today. Making networking a key way of enhancing my intellectual, emotional and social capital, consciousness and creativity. Involving going out of my way to meet people with different business and life experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. Reflecting on my years of experience networking in a variety of diverse groups, communities, and associations, I realized that it’s one of the key ways people can experience the interplay between innovation, creativity, and consciousness, that emerges new ideas. That allowed me to explore and discover unknown territories, with people in similar and competing fields, with different and diverse worldviews, and levels of creativity and consciousness.
Power of learning through networking
Networking is not only a powerful way of cultivating strategic & synergistic relationships, with peers, potential clients and also with professional and social communities. It’s also one of the most useful, easy and accessible ways of learning. It enables us to extend their feeling and thinking processes and knowledge base. It is also enjoyable building connections, and ultimately collaborative relationships with different people across diverse professions, demographics, groups, teams, hierarchies, disciplines and structures.
Because it is a non-prescriptive and agile way of learning, which also requires us to take time out for reflection, where according to Jennifer Porter in an article for HBR “Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It)”
“Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. For leaders, this “meaning-making” is crucial to their ongoing growth and development”.
Why is this important?
With this in mind, I joined a new Meetup group, focusing on the future of work to research and have personal experience in researching learning new ways of experiencing the interplay between innovation, creativity, and consciousness, that emerges new ideas.
Reflecting on this experience, it reinforced my understanding that innovation emerges from a co-creative frequency, and not from a process. Involving real creative conversations, within a safe holding space and container where the interplay between innovation, creativity, and consciousness, that emerges new ideas, spontaneously happens.
Because, it’s the way we reflect, think, relate, learn and organize that either moves us towards this frequency or away from it.
“To evoke the music of innovation – to tune the frequency in which our teams and organizations operate – by design”.
“This is because leaders need to understand how innovation is an output of our creativity, and how creativity is an outcome of our level of consciousness”.
Innovation is a dance
At ImagineNation™ we agree with Dr Nick Udall, in ‘Riding the Creative Rollercoaster’ that “innovation is about bringing the new to the world, creativity is about bringing the new to the mind, it the dance between what we know and what we don’t know, and it is through this dance that we make meaning of the world around us, making the unknowable knowable the unconscious conscious and the invisible visible”.
That this dance is fundamental to the emergence of newness in all disciplines. By awakening states and qualities of mind, heart and will that help creativity flourish, and to disrupt and interrupt those that kill our creativity.
Dr. Nick Udall says that “To do this we need to raise our levels of Self, Relational and Systemic Awareness, to become conscious organisms and tap into the wider collective intelligence”
Despite the constant war for our attention, it is actually from the ‘empty spaces’ that we intentionally create, that the future emerges. Knowing how to artfully and skilfully facilitate creative conversations enables ‘empty spaces’ to manifest.
This is the mandatory skillset for leadership, trainers, facilitators, consultants, and coaches to reflect upon, cultivate and master to achieve 21st-century success.
Taking the first step
Involves co-creating the frequency that allows us to awaken the leadership qualities, consciousness, states and qualities of mind, heart and will that help creativity flourish, and disrupt and interrupt those that kill our creativity.
It’s all about the mindsets of innovation and transformational leadership:
– Slow down and surrender to ‘not knowing’- by embracing a loose ‘what’s possible’ mindset.
– Be willing to ‘unlearn’ and let go of what you do know – by embracing a ‘beginner’s’ mindset (for all that I know I am just beginning to learn).
– Be willing to learn afresh – by embracing a growth mindset (that sees setback and challenges and opportunities for change and learning).
– Play with the rhythm – by embrace a ‘gamer’ mindset (being bold and courageous in taking smart risks, to learn by failing fast).
Strategies to embrace reflection, learning, and consciousness
In innovation coaching and our executive coaching programs, we support clients to adopt a 4-step strategy that embraces reflection and learning. To cultivate the leadership skills involved in orchestrating the dance, and interplay between innovation, creativity, and consciousness.
Pausing and retreating, in stillness and silence, to raise their levels of self, relational and systemic awareness.
– Exploring and discovering what is really going on in the whole system; to become conscious organisms and tap into the wider collective intelligence.
What is really going on for me, for others, right now? How am /they feeling, and what am /they thinking?
What do I believe about that? What if it isn’t true? What if I am wrong?
Reviewing, in stillness and silence, their current states and qualities of mind, heart, and will.
– Exploring, discovering and taking the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs, mindsets, and actions occurring within the whole system to emerge options for learning.
– Choosing options that help creativity flourish, and to disrupt and interrupt those that kill their creativity.
What is important for me/us to consider (your specific situation) and why do I/we care?
Why is it important to be, think or act differently?
How can I think differently about that?
Reflecting on the dance, in stillness and silence, to make meaning of the world around us, making the unknowable knowable the unconscious conscious and the invisible visible.
– Identifying what beliefs, mindsets, and actions are the most is useful and what is not useful, towards achieving their desired outcome.
What’s possible in this situation?
What is being asked of us?
What is the emerging story?
Resetting their attention and intention towards making the unknowable knowable the unconscious conscious and the invisible visible.
What can I let go of for this to emerge?
What will make my heart sing?
How might this really make a difference?
This allows them to develop their consciousness and associational muscle, and to ultimately know how to find and follow a state of Flow.
This supports the creation of a container and holding space, enacted and embodied as creative conversations in which individuals, leaders, teams, organizations can create, innovate, function and grow.
Power of networking with reflecting
Rather than using networking as an individual or business building activity, play with it as an effective way of building alliances and networks to intentionally harness consciousness, collective intelligence to maximize the diversity of thought, ideas, and solutions.
Embrace it as a vehicle for creating ‘volunteer armies’ that tackle tough challenges, and where innovation, creativity, and consciousness intersect, through the safe holding spaces and containers, that creative conversations embrace.
In organic, agile and autonomous ways to speedily execute change initiatives that resolve strategic threats, solve business, civic and social dilemmas, and wicked problems. Utilizing the intellectual, emotional and social capital of network resources to explore the interplay between innovation, creativity, and consciousness.
In ways that release the consciousness and co-creative potential of collaborative leaders and teams within innovative organizational cultures, to transform problems and threats into creative opportunities and innovative solutions.
As Søren Kierkegaard, the famous philosopher said – “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards”.
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Janet Sernack is an ICF ACC accredited executive coach, corporate trainer, group facilitator and culture and change consultant with some of Australia’s and Israel’s top 100 companies. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ an innovation education company that provides innovation e-learning programs including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ experiential learning events including The Start-Up Game™. Follow @JanetSernack