Behold! Yonder comes the bard, singing songs of novelty is his inimitable innovating style. Whence does his store of ideas burst onto the face of the earth? Why has no mind given birth to such avant-garde melodia in the memory of man?
I wrote last about one of the principles that enable the art of creating, according to a book I’ve been referencing a lot of late, Everyday Greatness by Steven R. Covey. That principle was vision. I wish to bring further understanding of the art of creating now by exploring innovation. I hold in the highest esteem those who dare to bring something new to their art, whether they hit the mark or not. When they do manage to elevate their own preferred medium, whether it be music or literature or graphic design and they tap into the consciousness of the masses to their collective benefit, I applaud their success. The ripple they generate across the universe must, I believe, bring the Mind toward Its ultimate resolution. But I must not get ahead of myself with some spiritual grandiloquence that agitates half of my audience of two and distracts the other. How is innovation an integral part of successful creativity?
Quoting Mr. Covey once again: “It is said that Greek mathematician Archimedes solved a particularly vexing problem one day while taking a bath. His joy was so immense that he ran naked through the streets of ancient Syracuse exclaiming, ‘Eureka!’–I have found it!
“The act of innovating can generate many emotions. It can bring agony, sweat, tears, and exhaustion. But, yes, it can also bring great thrills, satisfaction, and joy–though we hope it will not cause everyone to run naked through their community or workplace.”
Let’s see now, what was it like when you had a part in bringing about an original idea, action or object into this world. Before anyone gets off into a tangent about there not being any original ideas or anything else under the sun, let me just say that stuff doesn’t matter. If you never heard of it, it’s your idea that didn’t exist for you until you thought of it. The mechanical gears of innovation have turned and you have come up with something new for whomever has not been exposed to anything like it. Congratulations! My wife has an amazing ability to see solutions for practical problems that are seemingly beyond my mechanistic aptitude. She can jerry-rig with the best of them when it comes to handling some unworkable household situation. Someone may have already solved a similar problem, but that doesn’t diminish her penchant for innovation.
For my part, when I have sought to come up with a musical piece different from my past compositions, I reach into a non-place in my mind. It may not even be my mind, but some state of being beyond description…the land of ideas which exist only in potentiality. Anyway, I feel my way there and back, retrieving the seed of creation. Innovation is the vehicle on which the art rides.
One of the most exciting aspects of fashioning new works of art or invention is when it does strike a chord with a wide swath of humanity. When this occurs, it’s a cultural phenomena that sweeps across countries or even the planet. Examples of note include the Beatles, the personal computer and harnessing electricity. In the Beatles’ case, pop music and fashion moved like a whirlwind that coincided with a cultural revolution affecting lifestyle, ecology, women’s rights, politics and general social issues. Synchronicity and serendipity, in my opinion, go beyond coincidence. Julius H. Comroe, Jr. said, “Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering the farmer’s daughter.”
Byron C. Foy wrote in Scientific American the following account: “A French scientist named Benedictus accidentally dislodged a bottle from his laboratory shelf. It fell to the floor with a crash and shattered. But to Benedictus’ astonishment it retained its shape. None of the particles was scattered. He recalled using collodion solution in the bottle. By chance the solvent had evaporated, leaving a thin, invisible skin on the walls of the bottle. Shortly thereafter, he read of an auto accident in which a young woman had been seriously cut by flying glass. The two events connected in Benedictus’ mind, and laminated safety glass was the outcome.”
Don’t be afraid to innovate. It is essential to evolution. There are undoubtedly brilliant ideas waiting to be discovered in your personal field of potentiality if you will but dare to look. Be alert to synchronistic signals and serendipitous surprises. And don’t expect it to be easy. I would suspect that the more we innovate, the better we become at it. It’s a practice. Without the practice, our creations will fall far short of perfection.