I've seen creativity shut down in groups plenty of times.
Someone may come up with a creative idea that is a little too creative. It seems unfeasible and not realistic for actual implementation. And so the idea is sneered at, laughed at, scoffed at. At worst, the presenter of the idea is ridiculed.
The creative person doesn't add any more to the group process after this point. Their voice has been effectively silenced.
As group dynamics go, there are certain rules to brainstorming sessions. One of the primary rules is that when brainstorming, there are no stupid ideas. Everything, even the most ridiculous, gets written on the board.
To ease anxiety, we let people know that just because something is written down, doesn't mean that it will be adopted. Brainstorming is not the time for critique. It is the time for thinking outside the box.
The great thing about ridiculous ideas is that they may spur thinking toward something different and new that is not ridiculous. It is just unique. I've also seen this happen time and again.
|Learning to swim takes a lot of trust but the |
end result is very rewarding!
The reason that the rule of "no stupid ideas" is so important is that it gives permission to be a little silly. We can laugh with the person in delight but never in derision at the person. This creates an atmosphere of trust. When we begin to trust one another, we pull in a variety of viewpoints.
Otherwise, the loudest voices always dominate because they shut down quieter thoughts. In a group process using brainstorming, the less vocal participants are given time and permission to share their ideas. The experience and outcomes are always richer when the entire group enters into the process rather than hearing from only a minority.
This Sunday's gospel reading is a well-known parable for many dealing with the owner entrusting money to the servants. As you read it over, how does a lack of trust stifle the creative use of the money with the third servant?
As we continue to examine gratitude and thanksgiving this Sunday, I will be preaching on this parable with the examination of how trust and thanksgiving intertwine. I trust that you'll join us if at all possible!
Photo by PoolSafely via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.