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Creativity, Innovation, & Collaboration – Part I

By Joryn Jenkins

I was to speak soon at one of the events celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Week. Strangely, I felt distinctly outside my comfort zone. After all, I know a lot about marketing and about collaborating, but not much about the creation process itself.

Here I am, every day, doing this intensely innovative work that we collaborative practitioners courageously dive headlong into day-after-day. Yet I never really gave the creative aspect of it due consideration.

How do you define creativity? Because it occurred to me that, if we decline to define it, we can’t encourage it to grow and utilize it to generate new ideas and inventions. This presentation forced me to consider; it’s not enough anymore to simply say, “I know it when I see it.”

Why? Because then we can’t make our own contributions to this groundbreaking practice that sprang out of Stu Webb’s head, like Venus, rising from the waves on her clam shell, as others, like Pauline Tesler, have already done.

Someone (I’m sure) once said “Creativity is the art of atypical but effective problem-solving.” Very true of the collaborative process, is it not? The collaborative process has taught me that creativity is where curiosity, knowledge, and imagination all come together and explode into something brand new.

Curiosity, after all, is about learning and discovery. A child’s curiosity is expressed in aimless exploration unaccompanied by fear of failure. Stand up; fall down. Stand up; fall down. Success through failure. My mother found my two-year-old sister sitting on top of a four-shelf bookcase, gurgling happily.

This is how children grow. This is how humanity grows. How many times did Edison fail before he invented the lightbulb? In collaborative practice, we challenge the norm, abandon assumptions, accept uncertainty, and become comfortable with the question “Why?” So, imitate your four-year-old.

You don’t have to ask a judge to make the decisions for your family.

Creativity requires some substance to work with. That substance is information that is already available, i.e., knowledge, which creativity can then put together in a manner to generate new solutions to old problems. Without the two working together, we can’t create anything new.

By two years old, my sister already knew how to pull herself up. Every toddler must start walking by learning that skill first, i.e., discovering that knowledge.

Imagination is the process of finding connections between what you already know and the information your curiosity uncovers, and then forming ideas to solve problems. The more knowledge in your base, the more connections you find. The more curious you are, the more open you will be to new information and discoveries to connect with what you already know.

These are my thoughts; I welcome yours. You can reach me at See my next blog for more on these exciting thoughts!

And for more on how to profitably market your practice, find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach, because your marketing is my marketing! Let’s change the way the world gets divorced, together! And if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Collaborative Champion, buy my toolkit or attend my training!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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