INNOVATORS // Matthias Ocklenburg, excellence & imagination

I’m naturally athletic and have always loved pushing myself to the maximum. At school my performance was bad, people mention I had a certain form of ADHD, so I’d spend hours in the classroom, unable to concentrate on topics that seemed less interesting for me. The director of the school said to me: be aware, live is not only about sports and creative things. I thought, he was wrong.
As a young creative director I was very demanding, employees and co-workers where disturbed by my quest for total perfectionism. They had a really hard time with me, nevertheless innovation is all about control in an unpredictable situation - and I enjoy the idea of perfecting control and success in every stage of a development process by training. It sounds strange but all preparation happens when I’m sitting somewhere in a café, travelling around in the world, running trough the woods or cruising on a bike for hours. This is where I do the hard workout exercise.
When I have to find a simple solution under pressure, I could release all that energy: focusing deep on a problem with all the teammates in a workshop, proving flexibility in front of a high profiled steering committee, just spinning unthinkable stories in a face to face communication. These moments of unlimited productivity take an astonishing short amount of time. But this is the easy part of my job, and I love it. When I’m in front of a 20 person meeting, dancing with pinboard, powerpoint and projectors, that’s when I relax.
Sounds strange? As a sportsman I’m happiest in the middle of a performance, it’s my escape. When the bell rings for the last round, when design concepts and ideas get melted for final presentation, then it is crunch time – the stresses of everyday live go out of my head for a short period of time, and I loose myself. In these moments, creating is like being in “the flow”, and my main goal is to get the audience or team to experience a similar sense of escape. One mistake, though, and they’ll suddenly snap out of the magical world of imagination, freedom of choice and crystal clear decisions. But with a well trained routine I’m able to invite them in again.
Preparing for innovation excellence is like climbing a steep hill in a multiday race effort for me. Going far beyond well trained limits is necessary for personal development. Delivering permanent creativity to an industrial process is like windsurfing at the crest of a really big wave: it is all about loosing a little bit control, having fun without sacrificing safety and success. Going deep into the impact zone, on water or in an inventive process, that’s the time I have experienced the same feeling of being so focused on what you’re doing, that all other thoughts vanish. Imaginating the future is the art of just living in the moment…

Posted by matthias ocklenburg on 09.01.2012 - 04:58