6Only Connect: Creativity and Consistency

Diagram showing a match stick whose head is on fire.

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.

—E. M. Forster

The great challenge for organizations and the individuals who comprise them is to come up with sufficient creativity to solve their problems and those of their clients. When viewed from the perspective of an entire organization, creativity becomes, essentially, a supply and demand problem, as unromantic as the need for the raw materials that make up the goods in a factory.

The paradox is that as the world becomes faster and more connected, this supply and demand problem becomes tougher and tougher to solve. As each link in the chain of all our interconnected systems—infrastructure, health care, finance, client services, media—becomes stronger, the weaker links have to get stronger. Standards that may have supported society 50, 20, or even just 10 years ago are no longer good enough. Economist David Autor expressed this idea in a TEDx talk in 2016, and used it to help explain why, despite a century and a quarter of continued automation, the proportion of people with jobs has always gone up.

So how do we solve the supply and demand problem of creativity for ourselves and our institutions?

It's hard to cut through the noise of everyday life ...

Get The Strategic Storyteller now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.