Tag Archives: creative process

Beyond the Light Bulb

I’m getting burned out on the light bulb.

I see it a lot. Try doing a search for images related to creativity and innovation and you will, too. The light bulb has become an icon of creativity and innovation, even as the light bulb going on has become the most lauded step of the creative process.

Originally posted at Innovation Bound.

There’s good reason. We all love the moment when the solution becomes clear—the rush of excitement, the relief of freedom from uncertainty, the burst of energy which powers us forward. In his seminal model of the creative process, Graham Wallace called it, fittingly, “illumination.” No doubt it’s a pivotal moment, we couldn’t do creativity without it.

But it’s not enough.

And what stands on either side of it, is a lot of hard work.

(It’s ironic that the light bulb – an invention made possible by Edison’s famously painstaking process – should have come to represent the quintessence of instantaneous insight…)

The moment of insight arises from within the context of attention, commitment, learning and mental labor. In his classic work The Courage to Create, psychologist Rollo May described the moment of insight as the targeted outcome of deliberate mental effort, aimed at our problem or concern. It was those things toward which we had bent our energies and attention which produced the a-ha moment. We don’t get big insight moments, he implied, for things we don’t really care about, or pay attention to. The more effort we put in to defining our problem, learning about it and working it over in our minds, the more we are setting the stage for insight. “Chance favors the prepared mind,” Louis Pasteur said. This all takes a lot of work, including the years of study and practice we’ve invested in our own knowledge and expertise.

The phase after the a-ha moment can be just as demanding—and, as anyone whose brief moment of insight has resulted in years of labor knows, take just as long to play out. Here, we’re tested by the materiality of the world, and by time. An idea is quicksilver, ephemeral—if it’s ever going to go beyond that, it must become translated into the world beyond our minds. Whether the next step is to sketch the design, schedule the meeting, write the business plan, or fire up the sauté pan, you will need to move your idea into physical space, rearranging time and material resources to make it possible. And you may need to do this over, and over, and over, and over again – sometimes for years. “one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

This is commonsense to anyone who has spent time considering the creative process. I’ve been aware recently, however, of feeling burned out when I see the light-bulb icon; I think it’s being not only overused, but misused.

I suspect the words creativity and innovation often come to refer to, at least suggestively, outcomes more than processes; the light-bulb then begins to symbolize not ideas and insights, but answers, solutions, successes. This belies the hard work on either side of the quick moment of illumination by hinting that the flash of insight is all it takes. It also sets us up for disappointment, when light bulbs don’t start popping as quickly as we, or our higher-ups, hope they will, as well as missed opportunities, when promising ideas are not given the time or resources needed to fulfill their potential. This all can lead to a creeping cynicism towards the creative process, or toward our own ability to successfully deliver.

We’ve come to glorify the light bulb, without realizing that a lot of our creative work happens in the dark.

How might we overcome this tendency?

  • Educate ourselves in our own creative process so that we can identify not only with our moments of insight, but also the preparation beforehand, and the real-world work which follows.
  • Have patience for the preparatory phase, because it may take longer than we care for; have confidence that this preparation is creative work.
  • Build stamina for the development and implementation phase, because these will likely test our ideas in ways we hadn’t imagined; trust that just because it feels like grunt work doesn’t mean we’re not being creative.
  • Find symbols for the whole of the creative process. I’d love to see an image search on the word “creativity” turn up as many results for preparatory labor and execution grunt work, as it does the fantastic, beloved light bulb.

Thinking about Your Creative Thinking

A recent Forbes.com article by Holly Green highlighted the role of strategic thinking in effective leadership. Referencing the mad pace of business, she asserted that leaders need to move beyond depending upon what she called “critical” and “implementation” thinking types, to embrace three additional thinking types: “conceptual,” “innovative” and “intuitive.” Green placed these five types together under the larger umbrella of strategic thinking. (The reference in the title of the article to “Five Critical Thinking Types” is misleading; “Five Strategic Thinking Types” is a more accurate description of her theme.)

While there’s some murkiness around her usage of “type” and “skill,” in her article Green does two significant things: she asks leaders to think about their thinking, and, building upon this, she draws awareness to the fact that different types of thinking are called for in different situations. Both of these are valuable propositions.

We can take her recommendations further, however, by offering leaders a deliberate process for applying these two concepts of “thinking about your thinking,” and using different thinking skills while you do.

The most recent adaptation of the classic model for applied creativity, Creative Problem Solving (CPS) does just this. The aptly-named “Thinking Skills Model” uses an approach similar to what Green proposed, but has the advantage of being more explicitly incorporated into the creative thinking process from beginning to end – in Green’s terms from “visualizing” to “implementation.” Drawing upon its CPS lineage, it is also supported by decades of research into the benefits of applied creative thinking.

The Thinking Skills Model (TSM) identifies key cognitive skills which come into play throughout the creative thinking process. They are: diagnostic, visionary, strategic, ideational, evaluative, contextual, and tactical thinking.

Green’s list of thinking types, again, is: critical, implementation, conceptual, innovative, and intuitive.

Of course there are some similarities and differences, and in a longer analysis we would line these up in a straight-on comparison to explore the overlaps and gaps between the two. For the time being, suffice it to say that Green’s on to something when she says “knowing when and how much to utilize each (type) is the hallmark of great leaders.” By aligning different thinking skills to different phases of the creative process, the Thinking Skills Model gives leaders a framework for being able to do this. The result is more effective thinking in complex, open-ended situations such as Green describes.

Effective creative thinking is at the heart of what Green advocates. Yet it’s interesting to note that the words “creative” and “creativity” are nowhere to be seen in her article. This may have been a deliberate choice, in order to avoid the fuzziness often associated with the “c” word, especially in business settings. Using deliberate processes like Creative Problem Solving doesn’t make things fuzzier, however. In fact, it does quite the opposite: it clarifies and strengthens our thinking, especially in these complex and open-ended situations, when we need our creative thinking the most.

Photo Credit: Jacob Boetter
Green, H. (2012, March 27). How to develop five critical thinking types. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/03/27/how-to-develop-5-critical-thinking-types.
Puccio, G. J., Murdock, M.C, & Mance, M (2007). Creative leadership: Skills that drive change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

What’s the Problem?

Problem clarification plays a large role in Creative Problem Solving (CPS). This is the space where we explore the terrain of our goals, wishes, and challenges, before we move forward into generating ideas.

The CPS model shown below depicts three major phases, with six process steps distributed across them. You can see how fully half of the process steps take place during the first phase.

Creative Problem Solving

If it feels like heavy lifting at times, it’s because there’s a natural tendency to want to rush ahead and begin generating ideas. The research is very convincing, however, on the important role that problem identification or problem construction plays in the quality of the final outcome. The more time we spend upfront figuring out what the real (or the most important, or the most interesting) problem is, the better the ideas and solutions that follow. As philosopher John Dewey famously said: a problem well-stated is half-solved.

So the next time you’re in a session where lots of energy is being spent trying to come up with answers, check to see if adequate attention has been paid to the first and most important question: what is the problem?

 Creative Problem Solving graphic adapted from Roger L. Firestien, Ph.D. – Innovation Resources, Inc.   www.rogerfirestien.com

Creating a Business

Last fall I gave a short workshop on small business development for my local SCORE chapter — a wonderful community resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The content was focused on using the creative process deliberately as a tool for business development. It came to me as a result of my recent Master’s work in applied creativity and innovation, and as a sort of “stumbled-upon” process which I discovered I had intuitively fallen into in the course of my own entrepreneurial marching-forth.

When I set out to form a consulting business based on theatre practices, I had a wish to bring to organizations some of the things I’d learned from years being an actor. It took me awhile — talking to people, taking classes, partnering with others, etc. — before I realized I wanted to target leadership and organizational development, and creativity. Once I knew this, I was in the course of playing around with ideas on programs to offer, how to describe my work, how to improve my skills, etc. — when I went back to school and got my Master’s. Strengthened by the teachings, and able to incorporate the content directly into my programs, I then set forth planning how I would continue to move my work out into the world.

What I just described took about 4 years. It also followed, more or less and through no deliberate intention of my own, the classic model of Creative Problem Solving: from Exploring a Goal, Wish or Challenge, through Generating Ideas and Planning for Action, plus it’s six internal process steps — with some looping back and forth for good measure. Had I known the process model at the beginning of my journey, would it have gone by any more quickly or efficiently? Quite possibly.

But that’s not so much the point I want to make here, as much as to draw attention to the natural sequence of entrepreneurial efforts, and how well they match to CPS. This was the topic of my presentation. My audience was a room full of SCORE counselors, who donate their time to helping small businesses come into the world and flourish. They appreciated the connection between a deliberate process of creative thinking, and the sequence of steps a small business goes through in its various stages from conception to execution. At a time when job creation and healthy business development is so sought after, it makes sense to channel the natural entrepreneurial instincts through a tried-and-true model of deliberate creativity. From actresses-turning-consultants, to the next best gizmo, to the new coffee shop down the street, small business development benefits from Creative Problem Solving.

image by Gilles Chiroleu

Novelty and Trimtabs

I’ve been exploring how creativity works within a creative organization. The project will be wrapping up shortly. In the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing some overall insights I’ve had in exploring creativity within a creative organization.

I’d like to relate some insights that have come up for me around the use of language in creativity and Creative Problem Solving.

“Novel” can be a Tricky Story:

A well-established definition for creativity is that offered by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, who says that creativity is the production of ideas which are both novel and useful. I will admit that the first time I heard this definition, I wanted to leave the room. It was the first day of grad school, however, so I thought I better stick with it. I’m glad I did. Having spent more time with the ideas of novelty and usefulness, I can appreciate how they relate to creativity — and in fact it’s now become hard for me to think about how creativity operates apart from one or both of these boiled-down, serviceable-but-not-particularly poetic descriptors.

I had forgotten, however, how they can appear at first blush. Especially, as was true in the current case, the word “novelty.”

For a team of creatives, the idea that novelty was required had a few of them pushing back. “It sounds like a novelty — a do-dad — gimmickry.” “I see people doing things all the time that are new to them, and I think ‘so-and-so was doing that fifty years ago!'” “Does this mean that we should be all about the next flashy thing? What about the great products we already have to offer?”

It was a robust conversation. Where did we end up? With the understanding that the company needs to make sure what it offers to the client fulfills the client’s expectations of a creative solution — something that is new (to them, or they could have already done it), and which fulfills the client’s business need, which is the creative service organization’s sine qua non of “useful.”

And, at the same time, for this organization to keep its creative juices flowing, and to also continue to differentiate from its competitors, it can’t shy away from pushing into frontiers of new and implementable ideas.

What is might be in a Word?

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is a deliberate approach to creativity, which uses words in key ways, as prompts to the creative process. This is seen the most obviously in the CPS tool called “statement starters,” short phrases which begin either statements or questions. An example: if I say to myself “I need a new car,” my internal response is likely to be: “Ok. Yep.” It’s a statement of fact, with which I happen to agree. No forward motion here.

If, however, I were to say: “In what ways might I acquire more comfortable transportation?” then my internal response is much more likely to involve the production of ideas. And if I stick with it, and try to come up with lots of ideas, I just might land on one novel and useful enough to give me some options I hadn’t considered before.

So, in the CPS training with this team, we have spent some time learning to work with these statement starters. They include: “In what ways might I/we…” “What might be all the….” “How to….” “How might I/we….” etc.

In a recent session, one of the team members phrased a question thus: “What is a way our company can accomplish x,y,z?” I stepped in to redirect. Why? What might have been less than ideal about that question?

It’s a small thing — so small that when I mentioned it, it didn’t make sense at first.

If we ask ourselves “what is the/a…”, even though it’s a question and thus more likely to spur a response, it’s a definitive one-on-one set up. What is the. The use of the word “is,” as small as it is, suggests a decision, an answer, a solution, a formulation. Compare this to the word “might,” which leaves us still in the land of possibility, openness, consideration. Secondly, to use a definitive article “the/a” is to imply that we are looking for one clear response. Ultimately, yes, we’ll want to narrow down the field of choices to a manageable one or few. But not yet. In posing these initial questions, we want to stay away from language which alludes to “the one answer.”

Is this tough to do? Sure can be. Especially when we have a desperate need for a good solution to a big problem. However when we try to get the answer within the question, we are attempting to diverge and converge at the same time. Doesn’t work so well. By separating divergent thinking from convergent thinking, especially early in the CPS process, we tease apart the complementary needs of seeking and finding, to let each flourish on its own for awhile.

As I reflected on the difference between something so small as using “is” or “might,” in the face of articulating substantial challenges or big wishes, I was reminded of something that Buckminster Fuller had to say about turning a big boat. The rudder is involved, but a small portion of the rudder, the trimtab, initiates the action. A very small element of a very big machine helps to determine its course.

So it is with little words like “is.” When faced with a clear need for creative thinking, how might we instead make better use of “might?”

Diary of a Process: Moving Forward in Uncertainty; Perfecting the Pitch


Diary of a Process: an episodic peek into a creative company’s internal process.

  • The company: a design and production firm that creates learning environments and opportunities for team-building, exhibit design, education, training, branding, etc.
  • The project: designing a visitor experience for a small west coast museum.

Episode 2, September 9: Moving forward in uncertainty; perfecting the pitch.

At the end of the last installment, Budget Slashed in Half, owner Bryan Thermo had agreed that his best option for restoring the project budget would be to re-pitch the board of directors on the original concept. Meanwhile, if the project (a museum visitor experience) was to stay on track, certain core elements needed to be advanced.

Thus, from a creative process point of view, a level of tolerance for ambiguity was needed in order to proceed in uncertainty. This ran side-by-side with the need to generate ideas on how to better communicate the value of the original concept, select the best of these solutions, and strengthen them into an inspiring pitch. Lastly, a willingness to embrace risk was necessary in order to move the project forward without knowing how much money would be there. Let’s pull back the creative curtain on these concepts, from a Creative Problem Solving (CPS) perspective.

Tolerance for ambiguity is one of the key attitudes or emotional skills needed for effective Creative Problem Solving (1). Why? One reason is that when we’re uncomfortable with ambiguity, we tend to rush to the first idea or solution we can find—which isn’t necessarily the best one.

Generating Ideas and Selecting & Strengthening Solutions represent two phases of the Creative Problem Solving process. Both steps involve divergent thinking, where ideas are generated (the more ideas the better) and convergent thinking, where the best ideas or solutions are chosen (2). These steps can be used as many times as you need throughout a project.

The willingness to embrace risk is important in creative thinking (1). Once we’re ready to Plan for Action (another Creative Problem Solving step), we’re putting our creative products out into the worldwhere they may succeed or fail. If we don’t have tolerance for risk, we may find excuses to forestall or sabotage our efforts. Creative companies tend to have a higher rate of product failure than other companies. But they’re also identified by the successful creative products they produce.

So how did the team engage around these concepts? Organically. This is one of the beauties of Creative Problem Solving: it capitalizes on our natural creative thinking process. As it so happened, the team members involved worked through the process in an organic and effective way. The team member charged with developing a key element of the project moved smoothly through clarifying what was needed and, along with the owner, generated ideas to get started. The pitch meeting, while a bit more intense since it was all about the funding, also rolled organically from generating ideas to strengthening them as solutions, and onto planning for action as the team developed visual aids and talking points to support the pitch.

Notice how, even though CPS can be used to direct an entire project or product cycle from concept through roll-out, it can also be used within the various stages. At any point, you can dip in to get what you need: idea generation, action planning, clarifying the problem, etc. This is in fact what happened in this episode: the core concept had already been completed, but the team needed to go back do some creative thinking on some trouble spots. Think of it as cycles within cycles, or a mini-iteration within the project as a whole.

The result: the board restored half of the money that had been cut, which was the amount Thermo requested. Meanwhile, a key component of the visitor experience has not lost too much time in development.

Question: if these things had not happened, would it have meant that the creative process had been unsuccessful? (see “tolerance for risk,” above…).

Process in a nutshell: by embracing ambiguity and risk, and by creatively developing a strong pitch, the team succeeded in persuading the board to restore the project budget to close to its original level, while losing a minimum amount of time in the project development.

This experience, or one very much like it, is probably familiar to you and your organization. By shining a light on the different aspects of creative thinking, we become more aware of how well the process is (or isn’t) working for us, andideallywe also learn to identify and embrace our natural creative thinking skills.

What’s next? now that most of the money has been restored, as one team member said: “now we gotta deliver.” Check back to see the next steps in the diary of a process…

(1) Puccio, G. J., Murdock, M. C. & Mance, M. (2007). Creative leadership: Skills that drive change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

(2) Miller, B, Vehar, J, Firestien, R (2001). Creativity unbound: An introduction to the creative process. Williamsville, NY: Innovation Resources, Inc.

The Ravelled Sleeve of Care

It would perhaps be best to lead in with a quote from A Winter’s Tale, but a line from the Macbeth comes to mind at this time of year instead:

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast

(Act II, Scene 2, lines 35 – 39)

Shakespeare is talking about the pangs of conscience following an unconscionable act, but his depiction of sleep itself is lovely. I think about it often at times when I feel that I have become unravelled in my days; when many perpetually semi-completed things compete for my attention; when it’s time to stop work, but I’m still at it.

With all that is on our plates or be dealt with — with all that demands our caring attention — it is sleep, Shakespeare suggests, which re-ravells us, and makes us whole.

I mention this as a tie-in to the time of year when nature yawns, and the northern world tries to slow down. I mention it because I think it’s a worthy goal for the season — to go to bed. I mention it because the act of rest is essential to our effectiveness.

In their book The Power of Full Engagement, authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz compare the modern office worker to a professional athlete–and come away with the conclusion that the office worker’s body is under more demands. They make a point of saying that athletes know they can’t be training all the time. Thoroughly and at regular intervals, they must knock it off and rest.

Similarly, the creative process is frequently conceived of as having a period of fallow time, when nothing is happening, but everything becomes potential. Usually identified as “incubation,” this is the time when your brain is working the problem below the level of your awareness. I think of frogs hibernating in the mud at the bottom of the pond… I think of root vegetables, hung in a basement cellar… I think of the season at the bottom of the year, when it’s our job to be like a frog asleep in the ooze, to incubate on the efforts of a year.

What happened to you this year? Where did you go? What did you learn? Let it rest. Let it seep slowly up from your unconscious mind, to gently soak into you in the dark of the year. Let it be nothing known. Pull up a turnip blanket in a warm underground, and set the alarm for February first.

And in that sleepy dark, may some dreams come
to knit up your sleeves of care.

European Conference on Creativity and Innovation

I will be traveling to Brussels at the end of October to present a workshop at the 11th European Conference on Creativity and Innovation.

It’s a great opportunity to get to know some people in the creativity field in Europe, and also to connect with some friends and colleagues.

The conference theme is “Make it Happen.” Very often the attention in creativity goes to how we generate new ideas (“ideation”). At this conference, they are making a real effort to focus on the next step: implementation.

I will be delivering a workshop called “Riding the Arc of the Story: Harnessing Literary and Dramatic Techniques for Effective Implementation.” The idea is this: when we start to implement an idea, put it into action, very often we will hit a roadblock. So, what does it mean to us when that happens? How do we interpret it?

I propose that by looking at roadblocks and obstacles through a different set of glasses, we might learn to interpret them in a new way. That new set of glasses is the structure of narrative arts. So we’ll be looking at things that storytellers (actors and writers) do, on a structural level, that can shine some light on the perils and promises of implementation.

A few days later, I will be teaming up with Marcel van der Pol, who does wonderful work with storytelling (he’s also a presenter at the conference). In the morning, he will offer a workshop on The Story of the Hero. I follow up in the afternoon with Powerful Personal Presence, a workshop on how to deliver material (or tell stories…) with confidence and authenticity. Information on that day of programs is here.

And, over the weekend, I hope to reprise the workshop on Embodying Sustainability, which I first developed for the International Organization Development Association conference a few years ago.

My good friend Cyriel Kortleven at New Shoes Today in Belgium is the connector behind these additional events… His work is exciting, and worth knowing about. Find him here. (He will also be one of the MC’s for the ECCI conference.)

All in all, I’m sure there will be much fun and interesting connections. Look to further blogs for news on how it’s all unfolding.

Riding the Arc of the Story: Inciting Obstacles

All of a sudden, you have it: a beautiful idea! It comes to you full blown and shimmery. Perhaps something brand new you’ve never before conceived, or perhaps the result of pondering long and hard. Regardless, there it is: exciting, and full of energy. Your idea can do no wrong. The world is its oyster. It is your helium balloon.

Ideation. What a great place to be.

You, and perhaps a happy gang of fellow-ideators, begin to bring this effervescent, brilliant idea into being. Plans are drawn, schemes concocted, url’s purchased and celebrations forseen. It’s all a giddy whirl.

Until the obstacles start to arrive. Perhaps not with the first obstacle, or the second, or the third. But eventually it happens: something comes up and you don’t know if you can get around it. As sure as ideas are born, obstacles come in their wake. It is like a natural law.

In the move from ideation to implementation or execution, the emergence of obstacles can tell us many things. It can be a reality check, or a good moment for redirection. A serious obstacle has the power to derail the entire scheme. Most people, I think, realize that when ideas hit the real world, they are reshaped, and sometimes with difficulty.

But how do we respond when it happens? Think especially of group endeavors. How do different personalities react to the emergence of a serious obstacle to implementation? Can you think of a time when someone has thrown up their hands and said: “At last! Now the real story has begun!”

That’s what the narrative arts have to show us. If we look at the implementation phase through the lens of narrative structure, we can see how stories don’t really get started until the first big whammy. There’s even a term for it: the inciting event. Anything before the inciting event (also sometimes known as the first plot point), is merely background, setting the stage. The action does not really begin to elucidate meaning within the framework of the story, until something unexpected shows up.

The arrival of obstacles which appear to thwart our plans does not necessarily mean that the idea wasn’t solid or real enough for the real world. In fact, it might be just the opposite. The natural pairing of idea and obstacle, story and inciting event, can give us energy for the next phase: the rising action.

I’ll be exploring other narrative structural elements in later posts. I’ll also be giving a workshop on the use of the narrative arts in effective implementation for the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation, in Brussels in late October. And, as befits the theme, I’ve been noticing that since I had the idea for the workshop…well, let’s just say that I’ve been keeping good company with some of my favorite obstacles. But more on that to come…

Fear of the Pink Tutu

Over the past several months, I’ve been part of a team developing an experiential program on creativity and innovation for business audiences.

We are now stepping up our marketing efforts for the program, and in the course of this I contacted my network, asking permission to send info on “a creativity and innovation program.” One person replied with the question:

Are we talking about professional creativity, or artistic creativity?

I understood the question, and the concern which I think it implied: does this program impart business value?

But I was also struck by the terms which he used to frame the question: “professional” or “artistic.”

I trust that he is savvy enough to understand that many, many artists produce their work at a professional level; and I also know him to be a person enough in tune to the human dynamic in business settings to appreciate the artistry often evident in management and leadership. So I don’t think he really intended to imply that the two values are in opposition.

But I do think his language points to something important, something deeper—an unease with the particular type of human expression (for this discussion, we’ll label it “artistic”) which often seems, from the outside, to operate on a weird, irrational level.

A friend and I (she is a businesswoman and artist like myself) have coined a phrase for this: Fear of the Pink Tutu.

This is the fear that: (a) if a particular type of artsy-creativity is allowed to infiltrate the corridors of industry, any number of serious-minded professionals will be seduced into abandoning their business objectives and throwing themselves into pantomimes of Swan Lake; or (b) that—in a somewhat less threatening but nonetheless similarly uncomfortable display—said serious-minded professionals will be forced to endure a demonstration of the same by an erstwhile team of artsy “consultants.”

I wonder about the Pink Tutu phenomenon. To be quite frank, I do believe, from years of experience, that there often is something mysterious about the “artistic/creative” process. And yes, that this is part of its power—for both the artist and the audience.

And, I’m also learning that there is enough stuff and nonsense out there about “creativity” in the business world, that the serious-minded professional is wise to be selective.

Still, the the idea that the sometimes mysterious, irrational process of “artistic creativity” might actually have business value needn’t be a risky proposition. Studies show that students who engage in music and drama classes score higher than their peers, not only in language arts, which we might expect, but also in math and science. Expressive arts enhance emotional literacy, compassion, and self-knowledge, at all ages.

It is, ultimately, that which is within us that drives us. But can we always name it? Or is it, too, something of a mystery? The degree to which we can experience the mysterious and seemingly irrational (or non-rational) components in ourselves is the degree to which we can fully inhabit our lives, professional and otherwise. It brings wholeness, which brings wisdom—which is a very friendly condition for professional success.

So, what color is your tutu?