We had a Guest Lecture recently on Creativity. It was not only insightful, but also very inspiring and made us all sit back and for a moment think about the way we are leading our lives now and how it thrives mostly on deriving rather than creating
Professor S Ramachander served as the Director of Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) and Academy for Management Excellence (ACME), Chennai for 6 years. A first class graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Professor Ramachander has over 35 years of experience as a manager, teacher and consultant. He has been with organizations such as Hindustan Lever Ltd, HTA, Pond’s – UK & India, Shaw Wallace, SPIC and TI Cycles. Apart from being a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he has taught in ACME programmes in collaboration with University of Michigan, USA, the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA and the Advanced Management Programme of AIMA (1996 & 1999). He has contributed over 70 articles, papers, book reviews and case studies both in India and abroad. He has authored or co-authored papers at conferences held in Italy, USA and Scotland. He also authored a book called “Ascending the Value Spiral: From Insight to Innovation”
The session started with identifying what Creativity is with the help of a small exercise. The idea was that you should know what Creativity is when it looks at you. After this, Prof. Ramachander asked us to note all the different uses of a gem clip for a minute. Then later on, when people read their ideas, a lot of innovative uses of the pin were brought forth, which we had not thought of before. He, then convinced us that there are times when solution is achieved when you stop thinking and that is the greatest challenge – to stop thinking. A phenomena also referred by some as “Soft Seeing”. This means seeing without a purpose in mind. Sometimes, things are in front of us and we do not know that for ages simply because we don’t care to look around properly. If you simply walk out… at this very moment… go on a path, you have been many times before. But, this time, ensure that you simply take a stroll, and try to notice things around you. You will probably end up noticing things you had not noticed before, even though you had been there many times… This is what constantly thinking does to us! Our mind gets conditioned. It molds itself in the form of a framework. Mind has the habit of thinking only in one direction, unless forced otherwise.
When the topic of Framework was brought into the session, Prof. Ramachander gave a very apt example. He pointed to a window frame and commented “This is a Framework. The window frame. From this window frame, you can see only part of the tree outside. To be able to see the entire tree, you have to break through the glass window and go out.” This means, to get a broader picture, one always has to break the frame under which we have trained our minds. You need trained minds in fields like Engineering, Accounting etc… in which you have set rules and they just need to be applied! However, for managers, nothing is set, nothing is known and there are no rules of the game!!! Hence, the need for managers to break the frame. Managers are not needed for doing things that fit into the frame, there are better things to do that – softwares. They are the best to do things like If…. then…. loop.
If you have a headache, Then Take Disprin. But what if the headache is a brain tumour? Thats when the Frame falls apart and you need someone to do some bit of thinking. Every automatic device puts you on an autopilot mode. You have to meet with a disaster to know what went wrong. No matter how much you have thoughtt over a problem and no matter how much you think you have covered every possible aspect of it, nature has its way of reminding you that you possible cant think of every single possibility – There is something or the other, you always miss out. So, what is really required is Seeing Things Differently -> Thinking -> Doing
The need of the hour is to be aware of the strong limitations of the current way of thinking. And try to be more instinctive. The same thought also has been talked about in the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.
The session concluded with all of us on a different platform altogether, ready to take on the world, by thinking differently!