Friday, 5 July 2013

Introduce the new by way of the familiar

Whilst listening to Elgar’s 2nd Symphony for the first time I remember experiencing a very surprising but not unpleasant sensation. The music started as expected, perhaps a little subdued in places compared to Elgar’s normal style, but still very much recognisable as Elgar. Then, well into the first movement, I felt that I was being ever so gently but persistently nudged into a parallel universe of sound: one that I definitely did not recognise as ‘Elgarian’. It was magical and fantastical: the sort of music you might hear whilst dreaming of a forest at nightfall.

These dreamlike sounds were very different from Elgar’s usual musical style and if he had started his symphony with them his audience would likely have been baffled. They might even have thought that they were listening to music by some other more modernistic or impressionistic composer. Indeed, their bafflement could have become strong enough to diminish their willingness to listen to it.

Elgar carried his audience with him by starting with what was familiar and then gradually introducing something new and innovative. We too can apply this approach when introducing and implementing new ideas and approaches. It is especially effective for gaining support from within cultures that are very traditional in their thinking (like Elgar’s Edwardian audience!).

When you next need to introduce and gain acceptance for new and innovative ideas think about:
  • The current context and situation and how your ideas are relevant to it and grow out of it.
  • The specific steps you can take to help people relate your ideas to their personal experiences and current situations.
  • How you can present your ideas as additional options that complement and build upon existing approaches.

To see the 'Creativity in the Air' workshop click Here.


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