The Self-Organization of Creative Emergence

By Michelle James | Posted 8/19/08 | Updated 5/13/23

Emergence happens where the visible and the invisible meet. By consciously engaging the unknown, it begins to reveal itself as we create the next idea, product, system, service, approach, method, and technology.

A natural, highly creative self-organization begins to happen. Creative solutions emerge that are larger than the sum of their parts, and often contain an element of surprise. We begin to see interconnections that were previously invisible to us… and leaps in innovation can happen.

Engaging the unknown includes thinking from within: going inward, reflecting, seeking patterns, making novel connections, telling stories that weave together different parts of the whole, using visual arts and other whole brain processes to draw out information in novel ways, improvising, entering exploration and discovery mode, opening to expanded structures replacing current limiting ones, seeking purpose and meaning, and using creativity methods to unfold what's next.

Most significantly, the willingness to be uncertain or clueless at any given moment. Newness enters that which we do not yet know — it requires the Beginner Mind mentality.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." — Shunryo Suzuki-Roshi

The emergence space is not an empty void… it is fertile and alive, filled with future potential. It's a space of inspiration, discovery, and invention — a creative imperative. And it's not limited to past experience.

When we deepen into this space within ourselves, or within a group dynamic, a seemingly unsolvable problem has the opportunity to re-organize into a previously unrecognizable solution. We are moved into future possibilities where we can more successfully "mine" innovative ideas and strategies.

Since emergence is a natural process occurring all the time, we can choose to work with this dynamic process in creative ways for new levels of sense-making, integration, and business innovation — a creative emergence.

©2008 Michelle James. All rights reserved.