How to Co-create in Chaos

‘You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star’ Friederich Nietzsche

All creation begins with a burst of chaos, the universe being the first that we know of, and the one that continues to oscillate between order and chaos, repeatedly, as it evolves and shapes new realities.

Creativity is wild and free, with its mess of endless thoughts, ideas and imagery, it takes its own lead. In the process of innovation and invention, we can only move through the creative chaos, by first investigating it in all its ambiguity; with enough depth to recognise its patterns and insights.

Only then can we start directing our collective movements forward with a level of purpose and clarity.

Covid-19 has thrown us all into a state of chaos and uncertainty. Overnight, we have all been required to change our behaviors, to slow down, to do things differently, to be responsive to our immediate constraints, to spend time thinking and re-thinking the ways we have been doing things and reprioritizing the things that matter most.

We do not know what will happen tomorrow, let alone what reality will settle once the ‘new normal’ takes form. To complicate things further, it is likely that the ‘new normal’ will be different for all of us, therefore the way we think and act in response to our own circumstances and the circumstances of our employees and customers will all differ. Covid-19 brings us the gifts of transformation, innovation and resilience, should we let it.

Luckily for us, at times of great crisis, creativity feels at home with the discomfort, ambiguity and constraints. Not only to stimulate inventive thinking, but also to reduce the complexity. It calls on empathy, imagination, fail fast strategies and paper prototypes over polished, to test assumptions in real life and make positive impact.

At this time, we are being asked to re-evaluate our actions, to be bold enough to experiment with new assumptions, to work out future fit solutions to our customers biggest new challenges. Though this new chaotic mess, we are being invited to evolve or dissolve, to try and move back to life pre-Corona or to use Corona to sift through the old behaviors and services that no longer serve us, in the ways that they used to, and dream up the ones that will not only serve us, but also the new world that we are co-building together.

We are all invited to take a deep breath in and courageously dig deep into the chaotic pot of genius within our organizations and invite creativity to be part of the process.

Together, as we crawl into this ‘new normal paradigm shift’, we can acknowledge and celebrate the small wins and big wins and sometimes the no wins as we develop the new muscles needed to thrive in this future space. Through following this creative, iterative process innovation finds its feet.

May we all be called to develop the futures we all hope for in ways that we did not know possible. As Corona wipes the slate clean, creativity sharpens its pencil. What a time to be alive.

Danielle Ehrlich
Danielle stimulates and guides co-creative leaps for brands and places