Solutions to the problems we are facing exist, already, in our heads. We just need to find ways to mine for them and process raw ideas into finished, implementable processes that yield results.
Creativity blossoms when monstrous challenges confront us. Impossible threats spark otherwise dormant ingenuity and inventiveness. We ignore futility in search of solutions to problems too enormous to solve yet too deadly to permit surrender.
In this time of The Pestilence, I believe the only solution to the problems facing us is boundless creativity. I am not referring to finding a vaccine or a cure. Those solutions, too, will require infinite resourcefulness; but answers to those needs already are in the process of being explored, now, by people who have the requisite technical and medical and epidemiological knowledge. The problems to which I am referring are those interconnected ramifications brought about by The Pestilence: economic collapse, required personal distancing, unemployment, supply chain disruptions, panic buying and hoarding, and dozens of other complications of the pandemic.
Creativity requires neither superior intellect nor extensive experience with the problems at hand. Practicality and “common sense” often overcome intellectual and experiential deficits. An entrepreneurial mindset, whether that mindset has heretofore been applied in entrepreneurial endeavors or not, can go a long way toward crafting innovative solutions to problems that seem too big to solve.
If this country had a true leader, he or she already would have clearly articulated the problems confronting us (both nationally and globally) and would have stated clearly what the government is doing to address them. Beyond that, the leader would have challenged members of society to consider creative ways of confronting and overcoming the obstacles in our way. That same leader would have orchestrated a mechanism of collecting and assessing the viability of the creative ideas that arise from that challenge. That process, in itself, is enormously complex. But I think it is essential to ensure that all of us clearly understand the problems we face and understand that we, collectively, must work and think creatively to solve them.
There is a word for collective problem-solving: brainstorming. That’s what we can and should do. But I see some obstacles and questions:
- How can the process get moving (i.e., who has enough influence and reach to get it started)?
- How can we get people engaged in the process?
- How can we overcome self-limiting doubt? (i.e., “I’m just a nobody; I have nothing to contribute.)
- How can we convince people that the “someone else” who will solve the problem may well be the same person they see in the mirror?
- Once ideas with potential emerge, what processes will ensure that they are communicated to people who can act on them?
- What processes can be used to quickly assess ideas, without the danger of dismissing ideas too quickly?
- What pressures can be brought to bear to demand swift action to implement solutions?
The brainless, mind-numbingly self-centered dimwit in the White House would not recognize the value of the process of brainstorming if it bit him in the ass. We need leadership to facilitate finding solutions. That’s the biggest obstacle. Maybe the first order of creative business is to find a way to quickly and completely remove the biggest obstacle.