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Show Me the Monet

Phone the authorities!  Call the ASPCA!  I believe that someone in my neighborhood is torturing a cat.  It sounds like they've strung him between a car's engine and exhuast and turned on the ignition.  The sound is frightening.

Actually, before we pull the police and the animal control into this, I think the reality of the source of the sound is far scarier and much more heinous.  What has really happened is that some nearby 10-year-old has acquired her first flute and her parents have banished her to practice outside.

Hey... it's an honest mistake.

Lepeintreclaudemonet29306Learning creativity is messy.  Implementing creativity is also messy.  Very messy.  Many times, the start of creative impulses can make those around us cringe.  It's been that way since the beginning of history.  Think about how many people lost their lives because they dared to challenge the traditional wisdom of the day.  I had lunch with Mike Wagner and Delaney Kirk the other day, and Mike was sharing a story he'd read about the beginnings of French Impressionism, and how people like Manet and Monet were ridiculed, harrassed and vandalized for daring to challenge L'Acadamie.

Have we improved all that much in the past several decades (or centuries)?  Companies and managers still throw out lines like:

  • I want you to think outside the box, but check with me before you do anything
  • Take risks, but just don't screw up
  • If it were that great of an idea, wouldn't our R&D department already thought of it?

Each year, 2-3 dozen MBA students show up in my classroom to learn creativity.  (The reality is that they don't learn it at all; they rediscover what's already inside.)  At first, many of them are petrified of the thought.  By the end of the semester, many are feeling a heck of a lot more empowered.  I'm always curious to hear how well they're doing at implementing their creative impulses after they've left my classroom.  Sure, there's the occasional email or phone call, but I really want to know what each one is doing to change the world... at least his or her corner of it.

Are they creating their own brand of impressionism in a world that's not ready for it yet?

Are you?


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Mike Wagner

Tim, love your application of our conversation about Impressionism to this post!

It's tough when an MBA student has to "suffer for his or her art" after making the investment in the degree program.

For those interested, the source of my observation at lunch is The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King

Keep creating...worthy accomplishment...and great postings,

Timothy Johnson

Mike - thanks for sharing the story (and its source).

You are one of the most creative people I know... and you have a blast doing it. Never let that go, buddy!

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