Innovation rarely comes from looking like we have it all together. By the time companies are large enough or people are well known enough that they SEEM to have it all together, their primary concern isn’t innovating. Their primary concern is maintaining an image.
Us poor artists like to blame our inability to create on things like lack of “capital” or “opportunity.” But let’s face it. The amazing creative powerhouse (that is huge but still innovating), Cirque du Soleil started as a dream of two guys who managed a youth hostel for performing artists named Le Balcon Vert. They wanted to bring attention to their vision, and they did so by walking 56 miles (90 km) from Baie-Saint-Paul to Quebec City on stilts.
Now, 32 years after what seemed like a ridiculous publicity stunt, Cirque has changed the way most producers think about live performance.
As I was watching it, I started to tear up. I thought it was a strange reaction to a contemporary dance piece that isn’t even set to music. So, I started asking myself why. And it was this : Every step of the way through the preparation for this performance was mutual risk taking.
“Hey guys, I have an idea. Let’s do a dance without music”
“Uh, okay. What do we do it to then?”
“Oh, something from this podcast about science.”
“Sure, why not? I’ll try that.”
First day of rehearsal.
“You guys… you’re a cow. And you’re a goat.”
“Okay, you stand on him.”
“And when it’s time to leave, don’t just walk out. Dance out.”
and so on for a 22 minute performance. Chance after chance of taking the risk of looking stupid but never once questioning themselves. Just hitting it head on and being awesome… together.
And, in their risk, they created a pretty awesome piece.
What I recognized, was even risk wasn’t the root of all of this. True creativity is born from risk, but risk is born in love. And there are two ways we can relate love and creativity.
1. Not to care whether or not we’re loved, so we do what we want.
It’s a pretty miserable life, so I’m going to go with option 2.
2. KNOW we’re loved and that no matter what we try, that love is not going away.
The creativity in the performance above reflects a deep love and trust the performers have for one another. And somewhere, that reflects the heart and character of the way God feels about us.