Change, Innovators, Creativity and Community, Will it Blend?

As the technology age moves us along, innovation has been heralded as one of the few growth spaces left, and the power of community, think social media, is the other.  

Do they blend?  

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Does creativity have a place in how this can happen?

Enter change.  It is important to keep change leadership and innovation separate, but related and integrated so that both qualities assist in successful realization of an organization’s mission & aspirations through taking advantage of the yearnings of its current and future talent.

Sometimes this is really about:

Oh, you 10+ years employees.  You were cool when you were young and energetic, but now we’d really prefer to get more new-thinking, young things in here.  

Current talent, are you really talented anymore?

Henceforth, much change has really to do with affecting (in some cases, read: damaging) the existing community, a mosaic of diversity of all ages, ethnicities, genders.  Maybe.  Among those 10+ years staffers in your organization, it may be that what creativity and innovation that does exist,  is not encouraged post 2008.  No wonder there is cynicism as this group has often seen many change-oriented programs and initiatives come and go.

Regarding ageism and other ills:  Consider, the rebels, the creatives, the courageous – eventually find each other online, and will make their own way.   They may or may not exist well in organizations or form communities, but some do.  Generation Flux is ageless, via Fast Company, in an article that touts the rolling stone nature of innovators and agile creatives.

Learning how to create an agile organization that creates space for Generation Flux-type creatives and innovators can enrich and enliven your bottom line.  This is especially true if the competencies of :

  • adapting to change,
  • innovation and
  • creativity

relate to the core values of  your organization and what value you provide today and tomorrow to your clientele.


Because change is often more managed than lead, and is RARELY co-created, …it often fails.


Change Leadership:  Most of the time, change is more managed than led, even with the best intentions of leaders, change managers and project managers working together.  “Manager think” affects creating risk-taking space for innovators when corporate space is still too focused on efficiencies of current services and products and leave no room at the fringes for innovators.

Change methods are small guarantees of any type of success with change and its partner, innovation.  

Innovation requires risk-taking leaders with a very different mind-set than the legions of managers who report to them.  Examples of change leader problems include:

  • isolated leadership (disconnected from current and evolving culture)
  • favoring re-structure and ignoring engagement
  • un-aligned HR practices including recognition & compensation
  • focusing on telling versus listening and responding, and
  • managing over leading.

For additional context, these are my main two curation spaces focused on what innovation, change and creativity have to do with organization leadership in 2012.  They are:

Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?   (curated articles on Innovation in Organizations)


Change Leadership Watch  (who is leading change successfully?)

Change in organizations today, still, is RARELY co-created.  Without engaged corporate community, efforts to change the culture to  create space for innovation often fails.  

Managed or Led?  A high level executive coach trainer that I follow commented recently that American companies and our education system are STILL very low in ability to support creativity, innovation, and certainly the entrepreneurial spirit.  Companies today are still quite management oriented, focused on efficiency and effectiveness, performance appraisal vs. performance support systems.  

Structure:  Performance appraisals, HR compensation systems continue on with some, but fairly fleeting attention to innovation characteristics.  Is the best we can do is come up with innovation performance review phrases?


I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box…  –Edward Abby


Apple, a top US innovative company, arguably, but certainly via institutional innovation standards, stock price, and general public perception, touted “Think Different” as its campaign a few years back.  How do these words ring true today, as Apple and IBM tout very different cultures of handling innovation?  Is the statement below about everyone in Apple, or just the late Steve Jobs?  

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Community:  Apple culture supported creatives, at least those who thought in the Apple culture way.  Some say Apple now resembles Big Brother given their propensity for tight controls.

Will it be the end of an era for Apple as FoxConn (Apple manufacturers) begins to be monitored a bit more closely by our own media and the Fair Labor Association for labor abuses in the execution, delivery phase of Apple ideas?

Creativity:  Creatives often exhibit characteristics that just don’t play well in modern age companies, circa 2012.  Consider this post excerpt from “The Dark Side of Creativity” from PsyBlog that suggests that “creative individuals are more likely to be arrogant, good liars, distrustful, dishonest and maybe just a little crazy [eccentric.]” By the way, have you seen the Steve Job’s doll? (Humor.)

Group – Mountain Top Experience, by Darcy McCarty

Personal Leadership: This mountain top group photo represents peak experience, literally.  We see a group, as many mountain expeditions are groups, enjoying themselves and their accomplishment.  It involves leadership, and probably management too,.  It is also unlikely that a single person was the major reason for their success.  

The questions this photo suggests are:

  • How can you co-create and participate experiences like this one?
  • What is your calling in being a personal change leader as well as an innovator in whatever space you may inhabit at this time?

The quote that accompanies this photo serves as an apt caution to all change leaders, innovators, creatives and the community minded:      (Apologies in advance, for the PG language.)

“Do not burn yourself out.   Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure.

It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.  While you can. While it is still there.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks.

Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.

I promise you this:  You will outlive the bastards.”      ~  Edward Abby

What does it take now to create a culture of change, innovation and creativity where you are?  

Is it possible?   If not, what choices do YOU have?

I was also interviewed this year regarding my consulting & social branding skills.  Here’s the link to the interview, by Kristine Putt, aka Paragon Moon on  twitter.


Your comments and sharing of nuggets from my posts enrich the learning and also show me what posts you find useful.  Thanks for visiting!  ~  Deb


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Published by dnrevel

Change & transition, organization development & team facilitation and retreats. Also REVELN Gardens for flowers and heirloom tomatoes. My LinkedIn profile:

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