The Flipside of life

The Flipside of life

We are often asked “can you teach me creativity?” As you might expect the answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but a ‘maybe’. Most people have latent creativity in them but can’t release it. Sometimes they try too hard – earnestness and creativity are poor bedfellows. Sometimes they try with checklists. Trouble is that the truly creative person will go off the checklist and develop beyond the questions they are asked. You must ski off-piste to be creative.

Always on the lookout for ways of demonstrating and instilling creativity I went to the performance of FLIPSIDE – Hand Made Theatre from Russia at the Esplanade last Saturday. I have never seen such a wonderful demonstration of what nine people can do with their hands, arms and legs. They made us laugh, they made us cry, but above all they made us think. From ship to shore, from mountain to valley they took us on a world tour, all with the skilful use of their bodies and the precision and imagination of black-light theatre.

The audience was about 60% children under the age of 12, an age when children still retain that natural creativity we are all born with. They have not yet had it taught out of them. The parents who were there regarded it as a major bonus. I doubt many thought of it as a lesson, but that is exactly what it was. A fantastic, joyful, thought-provoking, mind-stretching lesson in how to perceive relationships. If every child were given an hour’s FLIPSIDE a day they would learn so much that the world would easily beat the technological threats it faces.

So the people I would most have liked to see FLIPDSIDE are the CEO’s of our companies, the lawyers, doctors, politicians, diplomats, professionals who dictate our lives, the techies making more and more helpful apps, in fact everyone in a position of authority or innovation. Above all, our educators in whatever roles they have would learn so much from this disciplined, tough and beautiful group. Why would managers learn so much from what was essentially a performance for children? How do the basics of creativity help to make profit?

The answer is that the tools you have to hand are always enough for you to invent, imagine and develop your colleagues, your clients, your suppliers and your products and services. Profit follows. Put profit first and your business will die because profit is a consequence not a purpose. Put creativity first and your business will flourish. Odd that we realise the importance of start-ups but ignore the internal ‘start-ups’ that beckon daily.

Sadly Hand Made Theatre was in Singapore for only a day. You can see them on YouTube. As will all art, live is better because you get the real vibrations not the synthesised ones. But look them up if you have not done so. Their performance here was more emotionally intelligent than any visiting artist I have seen so far – and I have seen a great many.

Long may Hand Made Theatre continue to show us the FLIPSIDE of life. Will some really entrepreneurial business please bring them to the audience that needs them so urgently?

Who is that audience? Why, it’s you and I, of course.