If you’re in this world, you are undeniably navigating or prepping for change, and that takes creativity.  We are in the era of globalization, big data, and converging technologies  (have you seen Shift Happens?) .  So, if you’re managing your career, and/or your family, or a program or product, or a company, congratulations, you’re channeling some of those creative juices.  But what about those inevitable moments of confusion?

I like to think creativity (or innovation, or strategic planning, etc) has three main stages – observation, integration, action.  You look around, see what’s going on, what the market likes and how it’s changing– observation. Then you start to think about what that means for me or us, how do I feel, and how should I react– integration. Then we implement, ie action. Society tends to overvalue step #3 (action), and undervalue the earlier two, observation and integration, yet they are fun, and oh so necessary.  Creative people are often vulnerable to this thinking too — enjoying their results, and feeling guilty for the time between inspirations.  But don’t!  That time, that observation and integration, with a dose of dreaming, are what create the inspiration!  Similarly, that stepping back to define our values, goals and path forward, makes our business (or personal) strategy implementation so much more focused.

Yes, we can sometimes get caught at one of the earlier stages, and be marked by analysis paralysis.  But, let’s take a step back, recognize that history has cycles and re-directs, economies too, and maybe, just maybe, our lives or our organizations’ have cycles and re-directs, too.  We need an occasional refresh, an inspiration, to be able to take focused (and successful) action. Observation. Integration. Action.


Do you see this three-part pattern in your work or strategic planning… or life? What do you do to get into the “creative and focused flow?”