Archive for the ‘CREATIVITY’ Category

29 Ways To Stay Creative

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Check out the other version on Behance.


Categories: CREATIVITY Tags: ,

How Do You Design for Creativity – Bud Caddell

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Sitting at home tonight trying to refine some ideas for No Right Brain Left Behind. Using Bud’s deck for inspiration:

Categories: CREATIVITY

Where Good Ideas Come From – TED

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

DISCLOSURE: This was originally posted on the Casanova Pendrill blog on Jan. 13th.

“A brain is a society of very small, simple modules that cannot be said to be thinking, that are not smart in themselves.  But when you have a network of them together, out of that arises a kind of smartness.” -Kevin Kelly

Where do your best ideas come from? Probably not where you think.

In this TED Talk, author Steven Johnson talks about the environments where unusually high levels of creativity are able to flourish. His two key hypothesis are:

1) “An idea is a network on the most elemental level.” In other words, ideas don’t come from a single source — they’re the result of multiple stimuli. Whether you’re collaborating with a group of coworkers or make travel a big part of your life, the stimuli coming from these situations increase the potential for creativity.

Drawing comparisons between the taverns of a few hundred years ago and the coffee shops of today, we can see that these places (and the open floor plan at Casanova) foster a more consistent level of creativity; what Johnson calls a “liquid network.”

2) Ideas also tend to be the result of a “slow hunch” — a prolonged incubation period where ideas tend to marinate until we’re fully able to grasp them. What we may interpret as an “epiphany” is really just the end result of constantly molding different sources of inspiration over time. In Darwin’s case, he thought he just came up with his theory of natural selection on a whim, but we know by looking at his notes that he had already formulated his theory way before he “discovered” it — he just hadn’t realized it yet.

Johnson makes a compelling argument on both points and the increased hyper connectivity we’re experiencing on the web has been fertile ground for cross-pollination of ideas (the proliferation of crowdsourcing comes to mind).

Watch the whole video here:

The four minute version:

What do you think is the most conducive creative environment?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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Categories: CREATIVITY

The Only 12.5 Writing Rules You’ll Ever Need

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Categories: CREATIVITY

School of Visual Arts’ Think Campaign

March 15, 2009 1 comment


I try to avoid reposting or writing “me too” posts on this blog, but I really liked this campaign I found out about from PSFK:

“Infiltrating the places where people often like to reflect, i.e. – the bathroom, diner, coffee shop, etc, KNARF replaced toilet paper, napkins, sugar packets and tray liners with lined notebook paper in an attempt to foster new ideas.  Those who discover the branded adverts are encouraged to think and jot down their ideas on the college-ruled loose leaf style paper.”

I think this campaign is great for supporting creativity and especially for those times when you have an idea and can’t think of anywhere to write it down.

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The 6 Myths of Creativity

February 23, 2009 Leave a comment

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I recently read a Fast Company article from a couple years ago titled “The 6 Myths of Creativity.” Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, has been studying creativity for nearly 30 years. Her research found 6 “myths” that help us understand the thought processes that lead to creative breakthroughs.

1) Creativity comes from creative types

“The fact is, almost all of the research in this field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work. Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation — people who are turned on by their work often work creatively — is especially critical.”

One of the things we’ve been told at MAS is that everyone can contribute creative ideas. It’s not just Creative teams that come up with ideas – Planners should be unafraid to make suggestions. In my experience with creative teams, they appreciate ideas from their Planners. It makes for a more collaborative effort where everyone contributes and participates.

2) Money is a creativity motivator

“Bonuses and pay-for-performance plans can even be problematic when people believe that every move they make is going to affect their compensation. In those situations, people tend to get risk averse. Of course, people need to feel that they’re being compensated fairly. But our research shows that people put far more value on a work environment where creativity is supported, valued, and recognized. People want the opportunity to deeply engage in their work and make real progress. So it’s critical for leaders to match people to projects not only on the basis of their experience but also in terms of where their interests lie.

3) Time pressure fuels creativity

“Time pressure stifles creativity because people can’t deeply engage with the problem. Creativity requires an incubation period; people need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up.”

In my MAS experience, one of the biggest challenges we have on a weekly basis is ongoing multiple projects. Although getting things done is a whole other subject in and of itself, it mainly comes down to focusing on what’s most important. From that thought you can develop priorities, agendas, task lists, etc.

4) Fear forces breakthroughs

“…creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety…One day’s happiness often predicts the next day’s creativity.”

5) Competition beats collaboration

“In our surveys, we found that creativity takes a hit when people in a work group compete instead of collaborate. The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas. But when people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information. And that’s destructive because nobody in an organization has all of the information required to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

I find the environment at MAS the perfect example. Although I wouldn’t share my actual strategy with another team, I don’t see anything wrong with sharing my ideas or information.

Why? Because everyone interprets information differently; whether it’s a client brief, a quote you found online, or an Annual Report, people will make different observations.

As Thomas Edison said,

Your idea needs to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you are currently working on.”

As Planners, especially with the ubiquitous nature of the web, we really do have access to a lot of the same information. It’s in how we interpret that information – our insights – that we are able to come up with unique recipes even though they’re based on a lot of the same ingredients.

6) A streamlined organization is a creative organization

“Of course, the opposite is true: Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing…Anticipation of the downsizing was even worse than the downsizing itself — people’s fear of the unknown led them to basically disengage from the work. More troubling was the fact that even five months after the downsizing, creativity was still down significantly.”

Shout out to my Planner buddy Jody Taylor on this post!

Categories: CREATIVITY

Elizabeth Gilbert on genius | Video on

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the key insights author Elizabeth Gilbert has goes back to the times of Ancient Rome and Greece. In those days, people believed “genius” came from a divine source. This theory evolved from having genius to being a genius. She says that this tremendous pressure to live up to the expectations of being a genius puts an unnatural burden and expectation on creative people, which inevitably leads to their burnout or early demise.

She says,”I think the pressure of that has been killing off our artists for the past 500 years.”Although I don’t wholeheartedly agree with her argument, I think it is important for people to distance themselves at times from their actions and behaviors to gain perspective. NOT to shun responsibility or accountability when things don’t go well, but to understand that WHAT you do will vary in success despite your greatest efforts. Creative people are often defined by their creative output (or lack of) and I think the key takeaway here is by putting less pressure on themselves they can rebound more easily and dive back into the creative process.

What do you think?

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