By: Chuck Frey
In this latest interview in the Creativity in Business series, Dr. Win Wenger explains how organizations can draw upon more of their latent creative capacity to meet their own needs and that of the greater good.
Interview number seven in the creativity in business thought leader series is with Win Wenger, Ph.D., a pioneer in the fields of creativity and creative method, accelerated learning, and brain and mind development. Dr. Wenger is an educator, researcher, trainer, musical composer, and widely published author. He is renowned around the world as a trainer and author of 52 books, including the widely popular The Einstein Factor and Discovering the Obvious. He founded Project Renaissance, an organization dedicated to increasing individuals’ genius. Only one other living person has invented or discovered, and developed, as many techniques for creative problem-solving as he has.
Q: What do you see as the new paradigm of work?
Dr. Wenger: Moving toward win/win/win – wins not only for both sides, but also for the greater good as well. We must both raise consciousness and wield incentives to bring a greater alignment of personal, corporate and general public interests or we’re in line for another major meltdown.
The old paradigm was based on perceiving self-interests in the narrowest way. People did not see how their self-interests are mutually dependent with the interests of the greater good of the whole. If your work goes against greater interests, both your work and those greater interests suffer. In the new paradigm, the whole of society is our “rope partner” on the mountain slope.
Q: What do you see the role of creativity in that paradigm?
Dr. Wenger: We have profoundly underestimated the power of understanding and creative capacity in virtually everyone’s mind. There probably isn’t a problem which more than half of your staff is not capable of solving, given the right creativity techniques and some inducement to use them – including the focus on how to align personal interests with corporate and general public interests.
We need to remove the cost of unsolved problems and unresolved but unnecessary difficulties; also the cost of profound positive opportunities laying neglected on all sides of us. Also, we need to fashion substantive economic growth, for ourselves and generally, by creating new “gotta-haves” by innovating or inventing new products and services that relate, in part at least, to our world’s actual needs – in terms of energy, the environment, and basic human necessities which help bring billions more people into becoming our trading partners.
In this wonderful and ever-changing universe we live in, everything relates to and leads to everything else, which means that entire new civilization’s worth of new discoveries, new science, and new practical applications are just a step or so away, just an observation or so away, in all directions. We have not even begun to really utilize any of the many creativity methods which can readily take us many steps further, many observations further, into a limitless positive human future.
Q: What attitudes and behaviors to see as essential for effectively navigating the new work paradigm?
Dr. Wenger: Look for or develop win/win/win opportunities. Look for incentives whose inducements can replace much or most overt controls, supervision, regulation, laws and governance, within the organization and across the general public. Set up regular practice of specific creative solution-finding methods on the challenges and questions you most care about and need answer to, at all levels of the organization. Set up a personal and mutual practice of noticing issues and opportunities, bringing them into focus and resolving them. Finally, invest in training new and broader skills, so you and your staff can navigate a changing world with broadband perception.
Q: What techniques or approaches could people start applying today to bring more creativity into their work or their busienss organization?
Dr. Wenger: Our “windtunnel” process can get a lot of ideas going and ingenious answers found in just about any situation. Instructions for that procedure are posted at http://www.winwenger.com/part72.htm.
One of the best approaches to creative problem solving is to work on the problem of how to create beter problem-solving methods. In other words, re-invest your best methods into creating even better methods. If you have a good, creative, working, problem-solving method in your firm, use it to invent new and better methods.
Also, every day, notice, identify and define at least one major question or problem or challenge or opportunity that is most worthy of solving, then use a specific solution-finding method to find its answer. Pursue and implement at least one of your good answers each week.
We need specific steps of specific methods to walk ourselves past the usual habits, blocks and assumptions to the fresh perceptions and solutions needed. In today’s complex and changing world, we all need to be decision-makers and to draw upon a much broader range of our own and one-another’s resources. The very specificity of steps in most creative methods will help us broaden our own and each other’s competencies toward what is truly needed today.
Q: What is creative leadership to you?
Dr. Wenger: Look beyond the vision statement and goals of your organization.
We all have seen things, whether we are consciously aware of them of not, which no one else has seen, and thought thoughts which no one else has thought. Use creative processes to draw on these unique resources to find ways to make unique positive contributions to your organization and your team.
And help each of your people to realize that he or she also has seen things, noticed or not, which no one else has seen and thought thoughts which no one else has thought, and that in them are also unique resources to draw upon.
Make time for regular frequent practice of creative processes yourself, and support regular practice of such processes by your staff. The methods only serve you well if you practice and use them consistently and often. Even in the core of the creativity movement, it is too easy for people to settle for one or two successful answers and then coast, missing even more significant opportunities.
Address your practical challenges during part of the time that you practice such creative processes, but once in awhile determine the most profoundly basic questions you can be exploring, thereby expanding your perceptions.
You can reach Dr. Win Wenger at the Project Renaissance website. He will be a presenter at the upcoming Creativity in Business conference in Washington, DC on October 4, 2009.