The heart of creativity is volatility – how mutuality breeds innovation

Some of the greatest gifts given to this world were created through partnerships. People so deeply connected by a mission or passion, that their combined effort is what created the success story. Would we have Google today if Page and Brin didn’t come together? What about Apple without Jobs and Wozniak? Ben & Jerry’s without Cohen & Greenfield? Procter and Gamble without their namesakes?

There is no doubt that teamwork is an ideal way to build something that is greater than the individual strengths and weaknesses of a person. However, the harsh reality is that most teams fail. While we have hundreds of ideas on how to make teams work better and more efficiently, I think it boils down to a much deeper, emotional connection that is felt by a few that pushes them to great heights.

Some can relate to those rare moments when we feel so deeply with another person that the world around us seems to fade away. Be it a lover, a friend, a fellow student or a random stranger – but it is no surprise that these rare moments never start at work. It needs to begin in a place of raw emotional connectivity, something seldom created in a professional work environment. They are born late at night, during personal crisis, or during painful life moments. From this place of raw emotional connection, we can choose to indulge in its momentary experience, or we can push into it to see what emerges.

Most stay in this emotional place for a short time because the emotions that create them (often anger, fear, or sadness) hijack our cognitive abilities. We connect on the rawness of our feelings but rarely transcend into creation. Mutuality is what exists when you push into the expression of the emotion, to creation.

The pre-conditions for mutuality to be achieved are rare. Most stay in a place of sympathy, which means you feel for someone, OR empathy, which means you feel with someone; mutuality is feeling oneness.   Oneness with someone where there is no separation between you, the emotion and the other person. In those rare moments when oneness is achieved, we are often paralysed with the emotional state, unable to do anything other than indulge in the feeling. Those who have been able to break through the emotions, into a place of curiosity of what could be created, are in mutuality.

Creativity needs volatility to exist; innovation is what is created through mutuality. As organisations think about creating more innovative cultures, the first question to ask is ‘what do we do to support the expression of raw emotions’?


Posted by Saba Hasanie