Two weeks ago, my last column discussed some current fundamental threats to everyone’s well-being:
- Sustainability. We live well beyond our means and consume more resources than the planet can continue to produce.
- The financial system. A poorly-controlled financial system threatens to spiral out of control and wreck the world economy.
- Labor. A dwindling workforce must work harder, while many others can’t find work at all.
- Aging. Many populations have increasing numbers of the elderly, who must be cared for by fewer young people.
- Climate change. The world’s climate is changing, leading to more extreme, damaging weather.
- The singularity. Artificial intelligence may overtake human intelligence within a few decades.
Meeting these challenges with creative leadership
These are enormous problems, and it seems clear that the same kind of thinking that created them will be unable to solve them. “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive”, said the prescient Albert Einstein. We need new ways to think — creative, entrepreneurial, altruistic, and ethical — that conform to Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.” If we do not find these new ways to think, we are doomed.
The innovation Renaissance
So to meet our challenges, we must develop genuinely creative leaders who inspire their organizations to produce meaningful ideas and radical innovations to solve these problems in effective and ethical ways. That’s why one of Thinkergy’s products (Genius Journey) is a method for developing those creative leaders, and why the book I’m about to launch later in the year is about the same topic.
We must rethink everything: the way we do business, the way we organize and distribute work, the way we use, recycle and regenerate resources, the way we allocate resources, the way the financial system works, the way we use technology, even the way we interact with each other.
We must focus on creating meaning for all stakeholders, including future generations of both humans and Earth’s other species. Will it be a well cared-for, or a plundered, world that we leave them? If we want it to be the former, we must change. We must realize — “make real” — the genius in each of us.
What is a creative leader like?
Creative leaders are courageous. They act. They are confident enough to be humble. They are as open, curious, optimistic and playful as children. They are purposeful and love what they do. They focus on making meaning, not on making money. They are creatures of logic and reason and creativity and imagination. They blend facts with intuition, drawing on both outer knowledge and inner wisdom. They know at least one domain in great depth, but also exhibit broad general knowledge, skills and experience. They are fluid and flexible thinkers, focusing on what must be done now to resolve the problems of the future. They have found a rhythm of passionate, mindful doing and relaxed, mindful being, enabling them to hear, and use, the ideas produced by the subconscious.
They are who we need to move beyond the kind of thinking that created our problems and to conceive meaningful solutions to those problems.
Will we pass our final exam?
Over 40 years ago, the inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller said, “Mankind is in its final exam as to whether or not we survive as a species.” My hope and aim is to inspire a critical mass of empowered thought leaders and businesspeople to make the leap to creative leadership so that mankind will be able to pass its final exam.
It won’t be easy. Buckminster Fuller also said, “Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. Humanity is in ‘final exam’ as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in Universe”, and he added, “Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.”
Will you help?
Would you like to create a better, more creative, more ethical, and more meaningful world? Then start realizing — “making real” — your full creativity and your full genius. Learn to be a creative leader who produces meaning in what you say, do, and make, and who inspires others to live the creative life, too. Join me in becoming a creative force for the good of all. Together, let’s create the solutions that fully answer all the questions on our final exam.
© Dr. Detlef Reis 2014.
This article was published in parallel in the Bangkok Post under the same title on February 27 2014.