Igniting creativity and collaboration in your team!
By guest blogger Dave Hurlow.
The tendency in most specialized jobs these days is to apply a heavily focused Spotlight Consciousness to a given problem and muscle our way through. While turning on the Spotlight is often necessary, this state of mind also deflects valuable insights that arise from the depths of the unconscious when we give our brains a chance to run free for awhile – a relaxed mode that is described as Lantern Consciousness, a kind of factory reset for the mind.
Story Planet is a group that runs story workshops with kids from grades 1-12. In running these workshops, I’ve observed that Lantern Consciousness is a child’s default mode. As a result, kids are incredible at creative problem solving, at generating ideas instantaneously out of thin air. Example: on one occasion we were crafting a group story about an alien named Guberman who had to fly from Buffalo to Siberia on Halloween in order to save his evil twin brother. I brought up the fact that Guberman didn’t have a passport or any money, and that you needed both for International travel. One of the students calmly informed me that on Halloween all flights are free and they don’t check passports. Easy.
When we get to the individual writing component of these workshops, things can get a bit hairy. Most kids are more adept at Lantern Consciousness than Spotlight Consciousness – it’s difficult for them to sustain focus and, like grown-ups, they suddenly feel a lot of pressure to perform. In my day-to-day life I’ve observed that most adults, myself included, are pretty bad at Lantern Consciousness. But there’s no reason we shouldn’t have it both ways, it’s just a matter of feeding both beasts, rather than letting one grow fat while the other starves.
It’s a sad fact that in our society, we typically trade in the Lantern for the Spotlight at a certain age, as if looking at things head on and seriously were the appropriate mode for the adult mind. Developing focus and discipline is extremely important, but the Lantern should be the default we return to when it’s time to punch out. When we get stuck in Spotlight mode our work suffers, as do our personal lives. Practicing Lantern Consciousness can make you a better friend, romantic partner, parent and employee. Stop working so late, take a walk, doodle on a notepad, write a meandering letter to a friend, then turn the Spotlight back on. These kinds of activities reset the mind, freeing up positive energy for creativity and connection.
At Story Planet – a charity that provides non-traditional creative learning experiences for young people in under-resourced communities – we’ve spent the past year developing a team building workshop for adults in the workplace. Over the course of our Spark! team building workshops, we cultivate flexible thinking and collaborative dynamics by encouraging small teams to relax, open their minds and let the weirdness flow. Unique characters and settings are generated, arranged and re-arranged into strange tales that are eventually anthologized in a physical book for your office with artwork by one of our professional artists. It’s an opportunity to flip on the Lantern, light up unexplored regions of your mind, connect with your colleagues and support a fantastic cause.
– Dave Hurlow
If your company is looking for a new and unique creative thinking experience for your next conference or meeting, contact Dave at Spark! The Dragonflies experienced our Lantern Consciousness during a recent workshop and we highly recommend this activity for all our clients.