One of the joys of working at the Pauline Books & Media publishing house is that I get to work on many projects and, since frequently I’m just working on one piece of a larger project, I’m often working with others–both sisters and laity. It’s wonderful to tap into the synergy of such a creative group of people.
But even working in such a great atmosphere with such wonderful people, we have to work at creating a synergy that fosters creativity for everyone. Of course, that’s because we take our Pauline mission to heart: we all take on extra responsibilities because we want to every aspect of our mission to go forward. And so we’re all too busy to get together “just” to brainstorm.
But occasionally, we manage to pull it off. How? Here are some of the things we do–whether intentionally or intuitively–that work to nurture our creative synergy:
- We share our deeper values–sometimes as we discuss the audience or scope of a project, sometimes in our prayer together. It’s our custom to start our meetings with prayer.
- We build up community and share information and ideas informally–over a cup of coffee, taking a brief walk, etc. Just maintaining a regular flow of communication and ideas can spark new and exciting ideas.
- We value input from people different from us (outside of our department), and invite others to brainstorm with us: people with expertise different from our own, with other perspectives, working in other fields
- We occasionally change our meeting venue–especially when things feel stale or pressured. Last month, a small group of us met at a coffee shop, rather than our conference room.
- We pay attention to atmosphere. For example, if it’s a kid project, we try to make it playful and might bring a kid’s toy or prop.
- We try to make our audience our starting point. Often one of us will spend a couple of hours researching a particular audience’s needs and bring that research into the brainstorming.
These things seem to help us make space for the creativity of the Holy Spirit, despite the busy schedules and the juggling of many responsibilities.