Leaps and Knowledge Integration
by John Cimino
Rearrange the following quotes in an order which most appeals
to you. Create your own thought paths through the ideas. Notice
how your sequencing creates new layers of meaning among successive
quotes. Share your favorite combinations with friends and colleagues,
but not before they've come up with a series of their own! Then
follow the link below to find out more about knowledge integration.
- "Always the more beautiful
answer who asks the more difficult question." (e.e.
- "Anytime you think the problem
is out there, that very thought is the problem." (Stephen
- "The opposite of a small
truth is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another
great truth." (Neils Bohr)
- "The purpose of art is to
lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers." (James
- "The significant problems
we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we
were at when we created them." (Albert
Creative leaps are our personal acts of
imagination. They help us connect one idea or insight to another.
No matter how remote
or improbable those connections might be, creative leaps help
us explore those possibilities. As connections are made, new relationships
are established and our thinking expands. The “canvas for
our thinking” expands and becomes better networked, our
big picture gets bigger and at the same time more cohesive. Creative
leaps are, therefore, acts of imagination which are also acts
synthesis, discovery and integration.
In exercises like the one above, we are playing with the connectivity
of ideas and our own talent for weaving thought-path legacies through
a sea of related insights or experiences. We love storylines, continuity,
next steps, next chapters. Additionally, however, each thing we
see, think or experience becomes a lens through which we see, think
and experience what comes next.
Sequence matters. Sequence creates a logic
of its own and drives the flow of our thoughts. It’s directional, but it’s
also cumulative and layered. The lens of our experience becomes
increasingly kaleidoscopic, colored by the myriad reflections of
all that has come before. Metaphors and perspectives play off one
another in a subtle and often surprising counterpoint: this image
bridging to that, echoes and resonances ricocheting through our
senses and memories. Somewhat mysteriously, we find a favorite
path through the luminous undergrowth of possible connections,
a thought path we might well use again on some future journey through
this same terrain. In effect, we have created a map, or (if you
prefer) an encompassing storyline for our thinking. We feel a certain
satisfaction at having achieved this. It’s what we humans
like to do.
In designing thinking and learning activities
of this sort, my colleagues and I at Creative Leaps International
often employ a
strategy we have dubbed “creative juxtaposition.” As
in the example above, the task is a simple one: to invite acts
of imagination, connectivity and integration, merely by juxtaposing
two or more mutually attractive ideas (or images or experiences)
side by side or in sequence so that our own impulse to connect—or
to form a gestalt—is thoroughly catalyzed into play. Once
activated, this connective impulse very reliably acquires a life
and genius of its own. It is, indeed, play of a high order. Or,
to paraphrase the Bard, “When art works, play’s the
thing!” And creative juxtaposition is a terrific launching
pad for this play.
In our leadership development work for major
corporations, we design fully elaborated Concerts of Ideas constructed
on this same
principle. We use the undiluted potency of the arts to jump-start
and creatively enrich that impulse for connectivity. To learn
more about our Concerts of Ideas, visit our website at www.creativeleaps.org.
In the meantime, give yourself opportunities to prime your own
creative leaps, to jump-start your own acts of imagination and
integrative genius. As leaders and decision makers, we know
these thought-path legacies to be worth their weight in gold.
more about our Concerts of Ideas, click here.