“Don’t be boring. Be constructively problematic!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s better to destroy your inability to generate creative problems than to create destructive problems.
Think about that phrase…. I’ll often point out on stage that some of the best innovations in history came from creative tension. The tension will often come from team diversity – if you have a lot of people who think differently, you are bound to get some great conflict, and if properly managed, it will be a great source of ideas.
But innovation and creativity will often also come from those very troublemakers. Those who know how to turn their rebellion into ideas and opportunity, or as a pathway for knowledge. In Grade 3, I got in trouble for making stink bombs in the school bathroom. Hey, it was science class! I was experimenting! I was learning! I wasn’t a problem – I was seeking knowledge. Or at least, that was my excuse when I was in the principals office with my parents. Creative troublemaking is an art form, a skill, a valuable asset, a treasure to be nurtured. It comes from those who know how to push the limits, not in order to cause problems, but to discover boundaries.
The challenge is that in many cases, the troublemaker gets too close to the edge, and falls into the abyss. Creativity is often a very careful balancing act! If you fall over the edge, climb back up, and channel your troublemaking into a different pathway What is so great is that rebels spark ideas, simply because they don’t fit the mold. Many times, the problem child will question assumptions, challenge routine, and do the opposite. They don’t conform, but take joy in their rebellion.
Don’t fight them. Embrace them.
Turn their stink bombs into opportunity!