We empower people and teams to act, to lead, and to change. Why? Because in the face of the routine and predictable, creative catalysts will lead the way. Not because they have all the answers, but because they're not afraid to question, imagine possibilities, and join hands. It’s not the loudest voices that will reshape our world, but the ones armed with curiosity, wielding creativity, strengthened by collaboration, and emboldened by unyielding courage.
We are a nonprofit dedicating to help people, teams, and organizations become the creative catalyst of their future. If this sounds interesting to you, read on.
Our mission is to build the capability of people, teams, and organizations rediscover their creative genius, discover their collective intelligence, and solve complex problems to achieve enduring impact. We do this with experiential journeys focused on active learning and problem solving using a proven synthesis of creative and strategic practices.
We have spent decades helping Fortune 500 teams solve complex challenges. This has given us the opportunity to explore and develop unique practices in creativity, strategy, and problem solving. These deeply human practices have helped hundreds of teams to see differently and solve brilliantly.
In the tapestry of human evolution, woven with threads of discoveries and setbacks, a new pattern emerges: the urgency of unleashing our creative genius. And at its core? A confluence of Curiosity, Creativity, and Collaboration.
Curiosity: It's the spark that ignites the soul. This isn't just a whimsical glance at the world; it's a deep dive into the oceans of the unknown. It's the refusal to accept things as they are, and the childlike curiosity to ask "Why?" and "Why not?" Curiosity doesn’t just look at the horizon; it wonders what's beyond it.
Creativity: If curiosity is the question, creativity is the answer. It's the alchemy of turning the ordinary into extraordinary. It doesn’t wait for lightning to strike; it dances in the rain. Creativity isn’t a talent; it's a choice, a daily commitment to see and do differently.
Collaboration: But the spark of curiosity and the flame of creativity can only light up the world when fanned by the winds of collaboration. Great ideas come from the collective intelligence of diverse teams. Together, we are always more potent, insightful, and brilliant than we are in isolation.
The silent thread binding them all is courage. The desire to ask questions others shy away from, the tenacity to create amidst doubt, and the bravery to reach out when it’s easier to pull away. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but forging ahead in spite of it.
In this shifting mosaic of life, remember: It’s not the loudest voices that reshape our world, but the most courageous. The ones armed with curiosity, wielding creativity, strengthened by collaboration, and emboldened by unyielding courage.
For in the confluence of these three, the future doesn't just unfold; it is boldly and brilliantly crafted. Embrace your creative genius. Your future isn't waiting; it’s begging to be created.
We've spent decades helping for-profit and nonprofit teams solve complex innovation challenges. We've experimented with many different ways of working and have learned that processes and tools are not the key to solving complex problems. Why? Because they are predefined steps with built-in assumptions that often lead teams to miss unexpected insights, twists, and turns. They're mechanical.
Complex, ambiguous challenges require a more powerful approach. We've learned that the key to brilliant solutions lies in connected, purpose-driven teams that discover and unleash their collective intelligence. Rather than ask teams to "trust the process" we ask them to be fully human.
Over time, we synthesized a set of creative practices, a little pattern language of sorts, that have helped people to reveal their creative genius and teams to discover their collective intelligence. These practices have been used together in weeks-long solving journey, and individually to help people to solve focused challenges. Are they magic? No, but they help reveal the magic that lies within each of us.
In 2004, Procter & Gamble created the clay street project, an 'innovation hothouse' where teams go to solve intractable business and organizational challenges. The clay street team facilitated community non-profits and P&G teams as we lived our mantra - create the conditions, reveal the genius, for lasting impact.
The clay street project had a reputation for helping teams solve challenges that couldn't be solved inside the business. Many saw clay street as a strange place where teams did strange things, probably because teams worked in a deeply human and relational ways that were foreign to the business. Our approach brought deep humanity to the work as it helped people bring their full selves and teams discover their collective intelligence. It was a new way of working and the results were undeniable.
After several years of practice, the clay street staff began clarifying the practices that most helped teams to see and solve differently. After months of introspection and synthesis we identified 9 'enduring truths' - experiences that consistently helped teams see differently and solve brilliantly.
A litmus test for these truths came when Roger Martin, one of the top business thinkers of our time, came to give us his perspective on our truths. He read them and said "This is about being human. Who wouldn't want these?" and turned to me and said "You need to write this book". Not knowing how these practices might translate to a book, we were left with a question as to what 'the book' was.
This work is that book.
Our gratitude goes out to those responsible for incubating this work: to Ivy Ross for her bold vision at Mattell, Claudia Kotchka and AG Lafley for their drive to discover to new ways to innovate at P&G, and David Kuehler for founding the clay street project; and the many good people of clay street who brought new ways of working to life - Karen Hershenson, Elise Edelman, Lisa Jensen, Jason Born, RJ Sargent, Courtney Bott, Jennifer Bollinger-Voegele, Devin Baldridge, Michael Luh, Tiff Stevens, Beth Malone, Wanda Vestermark, Nancy Schultz, Tracy Connor, Mukara Meredith, Greg Lee, Rocco Dal Vera, MaryPat Buck, Sean Sauber, Hans Eshuis, and Jenny Weigand.