How many times have you sat in a meeting where hundreds of great ideas are tossed around, but in the end, not much happens? In his book Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky repeats the adage that creativity (or productivity, progress in our projects, and growth in relationships) is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.
He examines this idea through a simple formula: Creativity x Action = Impact.
So someone who is incredibly creative (a perfect 100) but doesn’t translate those ideas into action has very little impact. (100 x 0 = 0)
But someone who’s marginally creative (a 50) and even marginally moves those projects forward (a 50 again!) can have an exponentially greater impact. (50 x 50 = 2,500!)
This has powerful implications for higher ed, where thinkers thrive and “vague-agendaed” meetings can creep up from every corner. We can have all the ideas in the world, but if we can’t move them into reality, we miss the point. Moving ideas to action takes practice. It takes systems. It takes a willingness to fail. In fact, we can count on some things failing.
In the ResLife world that changes how we look at events, projects, and even tactics for growing RAs. Try things. See what succeeds. Move forward and learn.
We need to go through quicker learning cycles, moving ideas to action.
One quick, incredibly simple example. I put together a “lessons from last year’s RAs” booklet this year – by emailing the RAs at the end of the year and requesting feedback. We just needed enough to fill it out. Is it perfect? No. But it’s much better than what we had before – nothing. And in the end, it was a useful, helpful piece that carried more credibility than some of our training sessions because it was from RAs to RAs.
What about you? How have you seen a bias toward action make a difference on campus? Where can it be more challenging?
Jon Sampson is a Program Coordinator and Residence Director at Azusa Pacific University.