‘Poetry in Business’ course review

The limits of my language are the limits of my mind.  All I know is what I have words for.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Well I promised to mention how this course went, I must admit that I was a little sceptical when I first read the course overview, and talking to some other people they also were put off from signing up.  I mean how can I justify going on a poetry course in work hours? And what possible application to business can it have?

So my overall impression of the course…..WOW!, it was very eye opening and very relevant to business.  The theme of the series of courses in the UK was Innovation.  Innovation is borne of creativity, creativity emerges from expressing thoughts and feelings and not inhibiting any ideas.  In some instances corporate life inadvertently discourages creativity due to various pressures for example, fear of speaking up in case it limits your career, not wanting to appear to rock the boat, not wanting to be seen to disagree with management decisions, people and cultures are not always embracing of change.

Corporate life discourages true communication.  Now you may be thinking that you spend most of your work life communicating, if it isn’t face to face meetings it is conference calls, but I would argue that most of that communication is limited to corporate speak, updates, metrics and compliance.  Although they have their place in business they are just the bones or skeletal structure, it is the creativity, the thoughts, the feelings, the ideas that are the flesh on the bones.

During the course we were read two poems that illustrate this point,

‘I have arrived ‘ and ‘A Doodle at the Edge’

One surprising outcome from the course was that I wrote my first poem since I left school, once you free your mind it was both liberating and surprising easy. 

We were asked to:

  • write down a situation of a work or personal matter in its present reality
  • write down a future reality for that situation
  • make a note of a single inhibiting word that is preventing this future reality from occurring. 

That word was then added to the first line of the poem that was given to us ‘I want to write about …..

Here is my poem, I hope you like it….and no it doesn’t rhyme :o)

Comfort by Andrew Budkiewicz

I want to write about comfort
A warm word
A safe word
A secret prison
The floor is your possessions
The ceiling is your commitments
The bars, each one representing every time you were too scared to do something
You are your own Jailor
How do you break out of you own self imposed confinement? 

Overall, what I took from the course was that to truly be an innovative organisation we need to actively encourage, freedom of expression, feelings, thoughts and ideas in our everyday dealings with each other whether face to face, conference calls, emails or general communications, but a corporation cant wave a magic wand for this to happen, the employees must demand it and lead this mind set change by example.  As strange as it may sound Web 2.0 and the various social networking tools are a good place to start this revolution of thinking.

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