I have just started listening to the book Imagine.  It talks about how creativity works.  I’m pretty sure I would recommend it to everyone I know to read, but I only just started.

The author, Jonah Lehrer talks about how helpful constraints are to creativity.  Actually not just helpful, but essential.  The road blocks help our brain get past what is obvious (left brain thinking) and start to look at the problem from other vantage points (right brain thinking).

This feels so counterintuitive.  Shouldn’t creativity be endless without any limitations put on us?  I hate constraints.  It could be a constraint of time, or manpower, or budget, or ideas.  You name it, I don’t love them.  In fact, if I am honest, I spend quite a bit of time wishing I didn’t have constraints, or complaining about the limitations placed on me.

It is easy to look around to other departments, or production teams at other churches and think there aren’t any limitations to what they can do.  I know this sound ironic coming from the Technical Arts Director at Willow Creek.  From the outside, it can appear there isn’t anything holding us back from doing whatever we feel like.  Believe me, we have our own set of limitations.

After reading this section of the book, and staring at my own constraints, I am starting to look at them in a different light.  If the research is right, the really creative solutions are right around the corner.

If I have an equipment constraint, how can I figure out how to do something with what I already have?

If it is a time constraint, how could we alter an idea that helps to multiply the time we have?

If it is a budget constraint, is there another way to accomplish the same effect for less money?

These are all great questions to ask when confronted with limitations.  I know it is a generalization, but most tech people are known for just saying “no” when confronted with road blocks.

How can we move past the road blocks to come up with more creative solutions?

photo by: opensourceway