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Lieberman Reciprocal Model of Creativity Cheat Sheet by

reciprocal     lieberman


Describes creative work as a cyclical four-step process. The model is useful as a descri­ptive and prescr­iptive tool for leaders who want to direct indivi­dual, group, organi­zat­ional, or community efforts in a more creative direction

The process itself is decept­ively simple, often leading to the mistaken conclusion that it is already being followed. In practice, for-profit organi­zations (banks, manufa­ctu­rers) tend to overem­phasize the Produce activity, while altruistic organi­zations (arts, social services) overem­phasize the Explore activity. The key to the creativity in the process is that all four activities must be given their full due, with no skipping or rushing. Any delays introduced by that approach are more than outweighed by the dramatic improv­ement in the innova­tion, quality, and suitab­ility of the work products and in the enjoyment and satisf­action of the partic­ipants.

The Reciprocal Model is based on the author's career in the performing arts, technology develo­pment, conflict resolu­tion, and project manage­ment. If you rotate the model diagram 180 degrees, you will see that it strongly resembles the Apprec­iative Inquiry model. And it has some useful additions.

Accept: Appreciate What Is

Stop work
Find a safe enviro­nment where work distra­ctions are minimized
Understand the material impacts on all stakeh­olders of what has been done so far
Understand the non-ma­terial impacts (emoti­onal, spiritual, etc)
Don't forget to understand the impacts on you and your collea­gues!
Make peace with the situation as it is (i.e. Accept).

Focus: Explore What Could Be

Let go of any feelings of respon­sib­ility for changing things or making things happen
Engage with the enviro­nment in which you're operating
Indulge your curiosity and playfu­lness - enjoy yourself!
Come to a realiz­ation about what is really import­ant­(i.e. Focus)


Commit: Challenge What Should Be

Re-engage with your feelings of respon­sib­ility for making change happen
Identify strategies to bring what is really important into being
Ruthlessly but respec­tfully challenge each strategy, using approp­riate criteria
Don't forget what is really important!
Settle on one strategy that you will follow and that you can believe in (i.e. Commit)

Deliver: Produce What Will Be

Be clear on the descri­ption of your work product
Assemble the necessary resources, support, and influence
Take whatever steps you seem necessary to plan, execute, manage, and assure quality
Adjust plans on-the-fly as necessary to accomm­odate reality on the ground
Keep your benefa­ctors and supporters well-i­nfo­rmed!
Come to closure with a work product that is complete (i.e. Deliver)

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