Buried Ideas Versus Floating Ones (On Creativity)

If we think about the milk metaphor of Gordon MacKenzie, we know that good ideas can take a while to gestate, marinate, and otherwise “erupt” like a volcano.

W+K talks a lot about how a good idea is buried 10-feet under the ground; whereas the easy ones are just 1-inch below the surface. It’s an argument for how creativity takes time.

I was thinking today how another version would be how sometimes you might do a lot of things at the surface level that drop “depth charges” into the ocean. And then a good idea (a.k.a. “buried”) will sometimes float to the top.

This speaks to the value for those change agents who “go native” and choose to go deep into an organization’s culture. Often times there’s always fantastic ideas buried with the org, and the right set of “tremors” caused by the change agent can dislodge an old idea of the “we tried that before.” But it was just applied at the wrong time — and it’s floated to the surface just in time to be ready for the world to acknowledge.

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