As a performing arts curator / consultant / producer, I have worked in the field of arts and culture for more than thirty years. People I meet often comment, “Oh, you must have an exciting life and work. I wish I could be creative.” It never ceases to amaze me that people usually relegate the idea of creativity to the realm of artists or arts producers only. I am rather dismayed that people do not think of their own career path–whether it is agriculture, business, education, law, medicine, or politics–as a creative endeavor. I am a staunch believer that every field has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to approach their work as a creative and imaginative enterprise.
However, I must confess that I never really thought of the military as a bastion of creative thinkers and doers. I presumed that following orders or doing as one is told was the expected practice and methodology of military behavior. At least, that is what I thought until I met Captain Wayne Porter, U.S. Navy, at a PopTech conference in Camden, Maine. PopTech is a global community of innovators working together to expand the edge of change. After Captain Porter and his colleague, Colonel Puck Mykleby, U.S. Marines, made their twenty-minute presentation regarding A National Strategic Narrative, I was stunned. I had no idea that the military was thinking about and tackling some of the same issues and questions we encounter and seek to address in civil society and the cultural sector: community, environment, global impact, productivity, quality of life, sustainability.
I think that Capt. Porter and his colleagues have ingeniously outlined a plan to build and sustain better communities, our nation, and the world–and they have done so creatively and elegantly. I think it is critical, for those who are interested and willing, to establish like-minded alliances, connections and networks for all who believe a better society–not business as usual–is both possible and essential for our ultimate survival.