Creativity demands the ability to unshackle ourselves from conventional ways of thinking, to “think outside the box”. But we need to go a step further. Once outside the box, we need to construct a new box or boxes (that is, new intellectual frameworks or models) to help us structure our thinking. Only once we have done so can we generate truly game-changing ideas – That came from a strategy course I am taking.
Why I found this interesting; I have met too many people who seem to think being creative means throwing out procedures and systems- structure for that matter. I have always maintained to the infuriation of some colleagues that you cannot function without structure. Creativity must champion the march towards order and structure is the only vehicle that can achieve that. Things are the way they are because of what is holding them in place. The human face has a certain order to it i.e. it is structured in a certain way. The more we perceive this order the more we see beauty. The opposite is what we might call ugly simply because it is moving away from the order (if a person’s nose is above their eyes, we will see something wrong). If God decides at any point that he is going to rearrange the human face, he is going to need a way in which it must be- a new structure. Others are going to need something that will make it possible to recognize what a human face is.
From your daily priority list to the Fibonacci numbers, from running your life to your business, from building a house to planning an economy, structure is key if things are going to work. Those who ignore it at any point in time only end up in chaos. Recently we have seen the difference a simple contract can make in the life of a business.
Goals setting and the many tools motivational speakers teach all come together to form a structure that must lead to predictable results depending on content. In other words it doesn’t matter what you are doing, you still need a goal and a method via which you can reach it. When we lay pipes, whether we run water or milk through it, it is going to have to flow in the direction of the pipe. There is no other known way around this. In buildings it is the pillars, in writing it is introduction body and conclusions, it is not possible to exhaust the list.
Take a walk in the bush one of these days. Pick a tree in the distance you want to reach. Notice how difficult it is with all the bush in the way. On your way back, cut your way through the bush with a machete to create a path. You will find on your next journey to the tree that it has become significantly easier. This ease will be enjoyed by anyone else who finds your tree interesting enough to visit it. Now you know why cars have roads and trains have rails. The box is always needed.