I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating Genius As A Form Of Diversity


A lot of companies talk about innovation, but few are prepared for dealing with actual creative people. They hire for uniqueness and then complain that unique people drive them not to celebrate, but drown their sorrows in drink. (At 7-Eleven you can go either way.)

I am that type of person. Not book-smart, necessarily, but "out there," outside the box, radical. I'll do anything to solve the problem. My mind is on the Rubik's Cube 24/7 - creative, workaholic, dramatic, demanding and obsessed with perfection. Spacey, because I'm thinking. Awkward, because introverted. Dramatic. And so on.

I understand that it's a lot for people to handle. But there is also no workplace where we really dialogue about what creativity means and how it manifests itself among a "normal" team. More than that how to encourage creativity at all levels and stages of one's career.

Really all of us are geniuses at something, I have found - it's just a matter of discovering which thing. Certainly we are different, there's no two ways about it. Particularly because we need innovators so badly nowadays, it is important to take the time to learn people's unique methods and preferences at work, rather than thinking about "norming" teams. I don't want boring norming. I want a creative storm!

A long time ago I visited the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and remembered how I once wanted to be a designer. That particular gift was not mine, but I still think with awe about the craft. Giorgio Armani, Betsey Johnson, Donna Karan...fashion is a RUSH. When you see it, you feel it. Just like beautiful jewelry, architecture, haute cuisine, and on and on.

The students at FIT all looked kind of freaky, and I felt right at home. It reminded me of living in Greenwich Village in the late '80s. You could never be "out there" enough - everyone was out-"freaking" everyone.

It shouldn't be a contest of course. But we would be so much better off, and so much richer as a country and a world, if we could just appreciate each other for the vibrant beings we truly each are.

*All opinions my own. Photo by me.