|Image Source: http://goo.gl/wKlh9 - Jars of Clay|
How often do you, your staff, and/or your students contribute something online (with a Creative Commons license) to benefit others? What can you do as a leader to foster an environment of sharing and giving back, not just taking and using? (Source)"Our assistant superintendent," shared a job-hunting colleague with me during a Winter Break vacation, "told us that we couldn't share what we're doing with other districts because of copyright." I clarified the statement, "You mean, an assistant superintendent limits sharing of the great things happening in your District because s/he is afraid of copyright issues?" What a bunch of baloney, right?
At Dangerously Irrelevant, we see a great set of questions like those in bold/italic at the top of this post. They remind me of why people DO NOT blog or contribute. Often, the work they do isn't considered being "good enough" to be shared. They look at their work and they say to themselves, "I'm inadequate to the task of sharing content with others, my work belongs to my employer and I don't feel all that comfortable sharing it." Yes, I've heard that.
The first time I encountered that story was when I visited New Zealand and listened to a teacher explain why s/he hadn't created a blog. But when she did, the response overwhelmed her, restored her faith in what she was learning and could contribute to the world. Actually, the first time I heard it is when I told myself in college, What can I write that hasn't been written before even better? For me, it was an act of defiance to write, to thumb my nose at Alexander Pope who never wrote a couplet I didn't love, and say to him, along with Shakespeare, Joyce, Darn-it, I will write, not because I will be better than you but because I'm alive and you're dead!
It worked. At least for articles and blogs. I don't know if I will ever build up the enthusiasm for a book. Does my creativity jar have a crack in it? Is it leaking valuable fluid? Absolutely. Maybe, I should just shut up because there are people smarter than me posting blogs, doing podcasts, etc.
A short time ago, but an eon in blog years, one person wrote the following comment to a blog post I'd written:
Great teachers don’t teacher you to be creative because no one is creative standing alone. All build on the shoulders of giants. It’s getting harder to learn everything the giants have given us. Things all learned over time, while being productive and dependable.The idea that it's getting harder to learn everything the giants have given us...that concept means that the rest of us, maybe, should just shut up and learn what's been given, created in the past, and pass that on to our children. But the truth is, as human beings, we ooze creativity, wallow in it like pigs in the muck because creativity empowers our every act, even when it leads us down the path to destruction. Ask yourself, can we stop the geneticists who are engaging in god-like engineering? Can we stop those creating more efficient ways to kill others? Can we stop a writer from authoring, an artist from sketching, a singer from allowing the wind to raise her voice?
The power of the Read/Write Web facilitates human beings doing what is essentially who we are--creating, connecting, collaborating, not in that order. Those triggers to creativity reside in the power of the connections made.
As a leader, there has to be an expectation of creation from the people whom you work with. What's more, you have to defy (if necessary) the culture of control that people perceive is holding them back, that restrains their curiosity, mangles their motivation. Whether that culture exists or not, the perception is what damages. Are you giving or just taking? I suppose most of us take what others give, curate it, share it, push it around on the plate but seldom add anything to it.
Bolman and Deal (Reframing Organizations) write:
A leader's job is to create conditions that promote authorship.
As a writer, being an author empowers me to create and share with others. If you feel safe, supported enough to be create, innovative as a team member, then I would consider this a success. With such a team of empowered creators, acts of collaborative authorship can transcend and transform organizations.
Do we create the conditions that promote authorship and then make that available for others?
As for me and my creative children (these blog entries), we share it all under creative commons copyright (sharealike-noncommercial-attribution).
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure