For creativity, hit the pause button

For creativity, hit the pause button
Women need to learn how to build the supports we need so we can lead from a place of strength; body, soul and spirit. Photo: Thinkstock
Published: 4:05 AM, October 16, 2013
Updated: 8:50 PM, October 16, 2013
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Sitting on a balcony overlooking a paddy field, I start to pen this article. I am here in Bali for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. I have wanted to come here ever since I heard about the festival three years ago but, like most things that require ring-fencing time and personal space, I put it off.

I have been reflecting a lot on this recently — the fact of putting things off — particularly in the light of leading innovation and, to be even more precise, being a woman leading innovation.

If innovation is the creation of value out of new ideas, the imperative to take stock and create space, not only for fresh insight and stimulation but also for self-care and wellness, needs to be jealously guarded.

It is easier said than done, as the responsibilities of work, home and family life build up and the pressures to perform or conform crowd in our desire to bring new ideas into the world.

Leading innovation requires strong internal capabilities and skills as we are moving, often, into unknown territory, whether we are entrepreneurs, corporate executives or planning to launch a new venture. Building confidence, having access to networks and the ability to collaborate with others are critical capacities — as innovating can often be lonely, difficult and very hard work.

Having a strong sense of belief — not only in ourselves but also in the vision we want to bring into the world — and the ability to keep picking ourselves up when the going gets tough are entry requirements.

This calls for an extra dose of resilience, probably more so than for normal forms of leadership. For innovation, by its very nature, is about pioneering, and this means that a degree of risk-taking and trail-blazing is required.


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