The business world is full of the concept of "innovation" today. It's "innovate this" and "innovate that" in articles, reports, and studies on what innovation is, as well as how to implement it in your organization.
Here's the truth of the matter about innovation -it exists in another dimension. It exists in the most secret corners of our consciousness. It pulses with every heartbeat and lingers on the edges of every waking thought. It's the ethereal part of our dreams. It's the shining aura of our hopes. It's a part of us that we adults ignore because we've forgotten that it exists. We lost it when we turned in our crayons for ball point pens and smart phones.
Last week, on Sunday the 15th of August, I experienced an awakening of innovation in my soul. I was at an original live performance held in a small warehouse in Denver. The dancers, muscians, poets, and narrators were everyday people, like you and me. And, they were not everyday people, like you and me. They were beings from another dimension - crafted to look human, but endowed with such talent, energy, and originality in movement, that I was in awe throughout the afternoon performance.
The title of the show was "Holding Pattern." The embodiment of everyday life. We all exist within a holding pattern, don't we? A world that promises a better tomorrow, and rewards us with a stale, grainy today - seldom living up to expectations? The performers on Sunday last danced and narrated their way out of the holding patterns they were in, including those associated with "motherhood."
[Art shown in this post are from photographer Felicia Ohnmacht's photostream.]
Within the bodies of these performers - young women (women of all ages), young men (men of all ages), dancers, poets, narrators, seers of the soul - exist the most innovative moves and thoughts I have ever experienced. No, I am not new to the arts. No, I am not easily impressed by true-life action. No, I am not saying these things because one of the performers is my daughter.
I was so moved, during those performances, I felt as if I stood outside of my body and entered a new place of existence. It was a world that did not trap me with gravity, or burden me with the usual limitations of movement and thought. It was a world where arms and legs were props, where the only reality was in being alive. I became someone else - fully aware of who I was. I watched the dances, listened to the poetry, enjoyed the music, and lost myself in the narrations, with complete abandon. The me I knew, was gone. The me I became, pulsed like a beacon of light, within me.
But, that day, it was because the performers invited me into their world - they offered the entire audience a place onstage, a way to participate in the shock and awe that is art. The contraints of the day, where a world of limitations and ennui exist, were left outside in the blistering August sun. Inside, these astonishingly talented performers breathed life into the day, and shared their collective exuberance - inviting us to join them. There was an aura of freedom there. Real freedom - not the kind invented in political commercials.
It was, to me, an awakening. I couldn't help but wonder, "If this is true innovation [and it is]... what is happening in boardrooms around the country? The world? Not this! This kind of creativity, this ability to bend reality, is what innovation is really about. It's not about the next 'new' thing, or the next 'big' thing... it's about letting go of the ordinary, embracing the extraordinary. It's stepping out of yourself into the unknown... with eagerness and anticipation. It's the suspense of not knowing, of being happy not to know. It's...artivism...art as action."
I challenge you, those of you tasked with creating innovation in your business, your life, or your home, to get in touch with your inner performer. The performers of Art as Action, in Holding Pattern, know what innovation is made of. It's made of action, purpose, and knowing reality is bendable, if you believe. Just ask Sarah Leversee - the Artistic Directior of Art is Action. She's the person in charge of creating the "artivist movement" - as explained on her website. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. You have to go to the website and find out.
If you live in the Denver area, be prepared - they'll be working on next year's event soon.
I ask you...do you prefer to linger in a world of limitations? Or, will you join Art as Action and invite innovation into your world?