Embracing Innovation: An Exercise with Circles and Lines

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It seems everybody is chasing Innovation. Everybody wants to Innovate. This is very exciting and thrilling.   Yet, chasing and wanting innovation (or clutching… see my previous LinkedIn article; Clutching at Innovation) does not get you any closer to innovating.

What does?

How do we get closer to innovation?

How do we embrace innovation?

I have been an avid and dedicated journaler since October 2000. (More regarding how essential journaling is to innovation in a future post). I had an Idea at the end of 2015 to shift how I began my journal entries. For years I had been starting my daily entry with the date and below that two circles. I don’t remember why I began drawing these two circles or when.

The two circles became a kind of gauge for the day. One circle drawn clockwise the other counterclockwise. Having drawn since I was ten, these quick lines gave me enough information; the flow, the shape, the essence of the lines, to sense my quality of creative expression for that day. I could look at these circles and know if I was at the top of my creativity game or not so much. A very intuitive reading of very simple drawings, yet very accurate.

As 2015 was waning, I had an inkling to do more with these little drawings. My goals were to draw two interlocking circles add marks and make them as unique and singular as possible. Using only my Precise V5 pen and the first page of the day in my journal.

On the first of January, 2016 I began to make what I began calling, Morning Meditation Drawings. As with most “Beginnings” these drawings were a bit crude, a little sloppy, and quick; rather sketchy (in a gestural sense of course, rather than suspicious or fishy).

I was not inside of the larger innovative process yet and I still did not know what that might be. I was building an approach. I was exploring and testing my way forward with intuition and imagination. This is a very important and resisted aspect of innovation and creativity. The “Not Knowing” part.

A crucial element of innovating and creating is practicing; Not Having a Clue. We do this naturally as children. Learning is dependent on this process. We start Everything… Not Knowing; Right…? That’s the whole point of Learning! Allowing ourselves to Not Know is mandatory to embracing Innovation and being a successful innovator.

I was enjoying making these drawings more and more and they were changing. Slowly they were becoming more sophisticated, more detailed, more complete. I was moving into the larger context of what I was initially sensing.

This was the preliminary innovative process. I was expanding on an idea. I was exploring how I could make these drawings more refined and interesting. I was innovating the constraints and qualities of these drawings. Making these drawings was an exercise of persistent and consistent serial innovation. Which is a vital component of understanding creativity and the Art of Innovation. This is a key concept I teach clients and teams; daily innovative and creative practices.  One of the exercises is what you see here, draw two interlocking circles and make marks, repeat… and repeat… and repeat…

To be Innovative we must have a relationship to innovation and innovative ideas and practices. We must have a consistent and persistent bond and link to innovative thoughts and intuitions prior to setting out to Innovate.

I am not trying to redefine Drawing or Art or Aesthetics. I am challenging myself to be visually surprising. I want to push myself aesthetically. I am endeavoring for these drawings to visually disrupt and provoke me. I am striving for something new and different each morning.

You can see the results on my Instagram site; pmwcreativity. I started posting these drawings in March of 2017. I have made 671 Morning Meditation Drawings since January 2016. I only have a portion of these posted, so far.  Please check these out and let me know what you think.

We must have practices and activities and exercises in our daily lives that inspire, test, urge, pressure, jostle, impel, nudge, nourish our curiosity and imagination. In this way we begin to embrace innovation, rather than pursue it or wish for it or clutch at it. We make Innovation real by making a relationship with innovating.

My real innovations happen each and every morning, when I place pen to paper and draw two circles… and then tune into what’s next…

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