How often do we look at things with fresh eyes? With a new purpose and intention? Too often we all get caught and stuck in our own life movies. You know, the ones that keep coming back, but feel like b-rated horror films. There have been many studies about why the mind sticks with comfortable and ‘known’ ideas and perspectives, as well as what happens when we keep an open mind. Anecdotally, it is also even easier at times, to see others get caught in these patterns. It takes courage, grit and moxy to step outside of our norms and to think about things in a different way, with intention. I would argue that when practiced, this life model of openness, reflection and introspection can lead to profound creativity and innovation. As the cofounder of a very new and unconventional business model for learning, it has required my cofounder and I to actively engage our quirky, lens flipping purviews, to the nth degree.

Very often when faced with a big design, product or team decision, we literally invite ourselves and one another to think about things from a different angle. This has become a practice with our entire team. This process involves employing key social-emotional elements like reflection, empathy and open communication. To codify this, we have created an internal model called the 4 E’s, that serve as the foundation for our values and work practices: Exploration, Experimentation, Expression and Encouragement. We share this model openly in hopes that our client partners (and others) utilize their own similar approach in their work.

Processes like these can be messy at times, and it doesn’t mean that one’s first idea or design is not on point, it just means that we want to continuously stay open to, and have a desire to ‘greenhouse ideas’ (give them a chance to breathe and flourish) by receiving them with soft eyes. This also means staying hyper vigilant to our human centered approach and values for wellbeing and balance. These factors further activate creativity and innovation, alongside a zest for jumping across thought streams, to land on oft unexpected and delightful outcomes.

What approaches have you taken to engage your creative self? Do you have certain practices that have lead to innovative ideas and models?

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