The article starts with this: “A Frenchman walks into a bar with a duck on his head, and the bartender asks, “Hey, where’d you get that?” So the duck says “I got it in Paris, they’ve got millions of ’em there.”
An article at “Fast Company” by Don Peppers starts this way:
“A Frenchman walks into a bar with a duck on his head, and the bartender asks, “Hey, where’d you get that?” So the duck says “I got it in Paris, they’ve got millions of ’em there.”
“The thing that makes jokes like this funny is that the punchline does not fit the context of the setup. We depend on context to increase our comfort and our ability to function effectively. In fact without context most tasks that we need to accomplish in the senior housing industry would turn into a disaster.”
Here is the Rub!
In order to innovate, to be creative, context is still important but in exactly the opposite way we usually use it. “Context violations produce things you don’t expect, from funny punch lines to innovative ideas. . . . . ”
The Senior Housing Problem
I have argued, discussed and written about the lack of creativity in Senior Living; The way to prove this out is to look at a dozen senior housing websites and your eyes will become blurry with how alike they are. This is not surprising because, in the day-to-day operation of senior living communities, context is everything. We use context to figure out what is really important to prospects and their families. We use context to figure out what is going on in the lives of our residents. We know the same complaint, the same request, the same symptom from two residents might mean very different things depending on the context of those complaints, requests or systems.. Context is critical to providing excellent care. This deep dependence on context is perhaps the number one reason why we don’t see more innovation in senior housing.
Violate Context and Innovate
The INC article provides some great ideas for violating context to inspire creativity. Here is my version of that list for senior housing:
- Read stuff from outside the industry – Like the article I used as the base for this article.
- If you are an executive director, run the activities program for a day and, even better, let your activities director be the executive director for a day.
- Get out of your office and do your job from the front lobby or the dining room.
- If you dress casual when you go to work, dress formal – Halloween does not count
- Drive your community van for a day.
- Do a fruit basket upset of jobs in your community for a day – Then debrief.
- Meet someone new each day and really get to understand what makes them tick.
- Engage in physical exercise each day.
You can read the Fast Company article here. 7 Ways To Stimulate Your Capacity For Creativity Have you tried any of these ideas? Steve Moran
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