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16. Layover

16. Layover

Businesses are active units. They succeed when they act, and thus have every incentive to optimize idle time. That is why, as a society, we chose to create entities such as universities and research centers. So that they may, out of the constant flux of change, take the time to ponder. To sit down and reflect. To review and recreate.


We sat down briefly with the C2-MTL people yesterday afternoon, a few hours before we took off and - via Geneva | Paris | Frankfurt, or whichever other port of call you may prefer - transited into a second week of the Summer school. 


What was interesting throughout this short trip, from classrooms at HEC to sidewalks in Barcelona via the Sid Lee cafeteria, was the temporary lapse of action that favorited reflexivity. A time to think back, in a way, on the effervescence of the last few months. 


What is peculiar with the study of innovation and creativity is that it renders this pausing more difficult than in other contexts. The study of constant change requires that we follow the action. In order to find common ground between them, the frames of reference have to move simultaneously. As natural as this parallel may seem, it puts a requirement on creativity scholars that few other disciplines have to bear with.


In that sense, times of debriefing are welcome. When well done, they allow us to draw the teachings of our actions past. To realize that sometimes, in the flash of the moment, we forget entirely to plan for what comes after. Often do we activate without considering where the action will take us. 


In that, many business actors have a great deal to learn from the students of creativity and innovation, who achieve - sometimes with great difficulty - such a balance. That is, perhaps, why they enter a program such as this one. Or why they attend a spectacular conference like C2-MTL. 


We leave Geneva. Frankfurt. Paris. Munich. Amsterdam. Rome. Zurich. London. As the wings of our Airbus A320 waltz up and down, as the engines roar with anticipation at the temporary escape from gravity, we find in travel the time to look back, to look forward, to look away from the impervious immediacy of movement. In great distance lies great calm. Both forewarn of the creative storm to come. Keep reading. 


- Written somewhere above the Mediterranean - 



This text is part of a series written in the context of the Fifth edition of the Montreal-Barcelona Summer School on Management of Creativity, organized by Mosaic HEC Montréal and Universitat Barcelona, July 9 to 24, 2013.
Illustration by Studio 923a. Photo: Jeremy Joncheray. Read all posts in the series at

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