Back in June, I was purchasing my copy of Social Networking for Career Success by Miriam Salpeter on Amazon.com when I stumbled upon a book called Wreck This Journal. It looked interesting so I grabbed a copy of it too. It turned out to be one of my best buys this year. First, I took it to Las Vegas where because of it, I was drawn into a conversation with a college professor from St. Louis who was using it with his class. I worked on a few pages in Vegas and kept it up once I arrived back home. It’s also been a great way for me to work on something with my kids. They love the idea of finding creative ways to wreck the journal with me. My favorite pages are ones my daughter did. On one, she took it out to our flowerbed and rubbed it with dirt. On another, she wrote a heartfelt list of her favorite things.
I’m learning some interesting things as I go through the process of wrecking the journal. One is that it is hard to be a rule breaker. When you’re told all your life to color in the lines, a.k.a. “conform”, it’s nearly impossible to do otherwise without a second thought. It’s painful to have to cut or destroy a book even though you know you’re supposed to. I guess it’s all those times as a child that my mother must have scolded me for tearing a page in a book.
When I think about how this applies to how I work or how I encourage others to work, it makes me angry. When most children are taught conformity all their lives and then managers and HR expect conformity on many levels, that actually makes sense. But then we throw in the desire to move the mark by having creative and innovative ideas from them and it’s challenging because most people are not programed to think that way.
I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe we need to have all our staff wreck a journal, or something equivalent. What do you think? What other exercises do you know of or have you used to get people thinking outside the norm in order to feel more creative and innovative?