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Break free and join a creation space

The emergence of creation spaces

In a video interview, "On Millennials in the workplace," Simon Sinek makes fun of ‘millennials’. He tells the story of someone who thinks about quitting a job because – quote: "I have not had any impact." The joke is that this particular person has only been with the company for eight months.

Significance

Why shouldn’t a young professional have the possibility to do something significant in their job having been there for more than half a year? Why can’t people fresh out of college be satisfied by their work? Everyone, young and old, wants to matter; they want to master, and they want to create something. Simon Sinek, thoughtfully says that millennials’ problems are “through no fault of their own.” It’s their parents who have told them that they are special and can have anything they want in their lives, and that’s what leads them to feel “entitled”.

Autonomy

It’s a human trait to make something. We are all creative beings. When we recognise something that needs improvement, something that we want in our lives, or that we want to interact with, we want to create something that satisfies that need. In most corporate roles, herein lies the problem.
Why shouldn’t a young professional have the possibility to do something significant?
In many jobs, the issues to be dealt with have already been decided upon, and your superiors have already laid out the strategy. Your job is to implement the already defined project and to delegate as necessary. Your task is to cross off items on your to-do list and make everyone on your team adhere to a flowchart – your job is simply to manage. Your need to create something becomes a dream that is never fulfilled in the normal ‘cubicle’ world of corporate work-life.

Creation spaces

Professionals who have a dream that is not totally obliterated by slowly crushing conformism want to uncover needs and come up with solutions and create results. They want to make something that engages all of their capabilities – and hopefully all of their senses. People who still daydream break loose from the hierarchical drudgery, and the mindless bureaucracy. They escape from being a cog in a wheel to become someone who creates something of value to themselves and others. By doing this, they become a part of what John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison in the book "The Power of Pull" call ‘creation spaces’. Creation spaces are environments that effectively integrate teams so that performance improvements accelerate as more participants join.

Learning organisations

How is it possible to create a life filled with autonomy, proficiency and meaning? You have to learn new things constantly; either through experimentation or by observing and applying what someone else in your environment just discovered. Creation spaces differ from ‘learning organisations’ because they emerge across institutions and thereby reach a more diverse set of participants. They’re not primarily focused on learning, but are intended to drive more rapid performance improvement. Learning occurs as a by-product of these efforts.
How is it possible to create a life filled with autonomy, proficiency and meaning?
What you discover is completely new knowledge, and if you share space with others who experiment, what you will learn are skills that nobody else has. By following your interests and giving in to what feels right, you’re now on the fringes of knowledge in your industry. The core and the edge of an industry need each other because the core of society needs innovation from the edge to continue to regenerate itself. The fringes, unless they become part of the core, can never get past the margins of society and culture and struggle to get access to money and connections.

Freerange

To be able to break free you may have to establish a new work-life. As a mid-level corporate worker, you have to establish your one-person company on the side. By performing introspective exercises to find out what your actual interests and talents are, you can find something that others are willing to pay money to acquire. You’ve now turned yourself into what Marianne Cantwell calls a "Free Range Human." To be able to lead this kind of life you need to build something that attracts people through the values that you share, and you provide this value to them on a regular basis. You become a free-range professional with an individual work-life who survives by constantly providing information, products, services, and learning that fits into your ‘tribe's’ main interest. Every once in a while you launch a product or a service that your network is willing to buy, and that gives you the income that turns your new life into a livelihood. This is not so much a type of job, but more a way of living.

Solo entrepreneur

In his book "The End of Jobs," Taylor Pearson shows how technology has provided solo entrepreneurs with the ability to create their own gig. It’s become easy to sell something online. An online storefront makes your potential market global. To be able to survive as a newcomer in this competitive environment your offer needs to be super-niche. The digitisation of commerce has made competition fierce, but it also makes it easy to create new markets. Customers can easily find products and services that fit their combination of needs. Creating these kinds of narrow markets isn’t difficult because you as an individual are already exclusive. There is only one you. And by being distinctive, only you can satisfy a specific need that matches your talents. Contemporary customers want services that are more personalised and more man-made[5]. By breaking loose from a regular job, and by feeling more entitled for having different[7] skills, you may become part of a creation space. The establishment of the creation space is made possible by digital networks and the participants’ attraction towards the edges. Creation spaces make it possible for you to have an impact – on your life and other’s lives.
Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg is a visual communicator and branding consultant. He specialises in building brand strategies and brand identities. Christian has worked with several specializations within visual communication as well as teaching and being an author. Christian now works on his third stint as an entrepreneur.