Jeff Williford (courtesy of Lindsay Griffiths)
At the Disney Institute, presentation at LMA last week, Jeff Williford talked about creativity. It’s easy for us to point and say, “Well, of course everyone who works for Disney is creative.” However, Jeff challenged us to look at our own creativity. We’re all creative people … even the lawyers amongst us. Walt Disney once said:

Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it.

When we were little children, our parents could give us a box of 64 Crayola Crayons and a sheet of white paper, and we would create magic. A box of mismatched Legos would keep us entertained for hours. Somewhere along our paths, coloring books replaced those plain sheets of paper, and we were encouraged to “stay within the lines.” Legos were introduced in kits with full instructions on how to build a Millennium Falcon. Over time, as we started school, and began to grow up, our creative instincts were pushed aside. We started to fall in line, coloring in the lines, with all the other kids.

New and in the Box - going for $1500 on eBay
Jeff’s challenge to us last week to go to our next meeting and take notes with a crayon. I don’t know if I will go that far, but I hear what he is saying. We enter meetings with a fixed way of viewing the problem or challenge. We look to others in the room to validate us. We need to remove the lines, the borders, the proper order of things, and look to the endless possibilities available to us. If you think about it, we’re all being paid, from marketing director to lawyer, for our creativity:

  • How do we see the problem?
  • What are the solutions we can provide?
  • What are the steps we can take?

Our solutions might not be in 64 magical colors, but they certainly should not be limited to just black and white.