Where do good ideas come from? Places that put us together. Places that allow good hunches to collide with other good hunches, sometimes creating big breakthroughs and innovations. During the Enlightenment, this all happened in Parisian salons and coffee houses. Nowadays, it’s happening on the web, in places that defy your ordinary definition of “place.” In four animated minutes, Steven Johnson outlines the argument that he makes more fully in his soon-to-be-published book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. The video is the latest from the RSAnimate series.
He touches on the obvious problem of its very intangibility making it a tough concept for business to grasp, but goes on to explain how he thinks its been wrongly pigeon-holed in the "innovation" space, which implies breakthrough thinking.
Using Elvis as an example, he shows how he wasn't especially original, but there was something about his "presence" that made him interesting.
A recent BusinessWeek article reported that, “According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify ‘creativity’ as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.” While the study’s results will come as no surprise to hard-working creative professionals, they do raise an important question: How do we identify – and hire for – the qualities that add up to creativity?
The Rise of the Creative Class The rise of the Creative Class is reflected in powerful and significant shifts in values, norms and attitudes. Although these changes are still in process and certainly not fully played out, a number of key trends have been discerned by researchers who study values, and I have seen them displayed in my field research across the United States.
It's time to get inspired about idea execution. Check our shortlist of great videos that get inside the brains of exceptionally productive creatives.
At 99%, we try to demystify the creative process. To show you the real inner-workings of how ideas are made to happen by sharing the thought processes and creative practices of great achievers. Here, with the help of our readers, we've rounded up some of the best videos on idea execution from artists, writers, designers, storytellers, researchers, and chocolatiers.
1. Avoid rules. Avoid order. Don't just embrace chaos, but create a little bit of it. Constant change, from the top-down, keeps people nimble and flexible (and shows that you want constant change). 2. Give yourself and your team permission to be creative. Permission to try something new, permission to fail, permission to embarrass yourself, permission to have crazy ideas. 3. Hire weird people. Not just the tattoo'd and pierced-in-strange-places kind, but people from outside your industry who would approach problems in different ways than you and your normal competitors. 4. Meetings are a necessary evil, but you can avoid the conference room and meet people in the halls, the water cooler, or their desks. Make meetings less about delegation and task management and more about cross-pollination of ideas (especially the weird ideas). This is a lot harder than centralized, top-down meetings. But this is your job -- deal with it. 5. Structure your company to be flexible. Creativity is often spontaneous, so the whole company needs to be able to pivot quickly and execute on them (see #1).
"Conviction-driven thinkers on all levels of an organization, from the C-suite to executive assistants, want to share their specific visions more than they seek fame or power. They don’t just think they have a good idea, but they believe passionately that their concept is worth making real. The beauty of these types of thinkers (and doers) is that they can explain why they want to develop the products they’re developing, and why they want to launch initiatives that they’re launching—both internally and to the world. Even when their ideas might not be the most original (remember, the Kindle was not the first e-reader; the iPod was not the first MP3 player; Google was not the first search engine; Facebook was not the first social network), their passion and their vision on how to improve the world or even the everyday quality of life in your company’s workspace are likely focused. They are likely engaged. As a result, they can be very persuasive. Such a mixture of focus, engagement, and persuasion, more than creativity alone, is what brings ideas to market, and also to the right audiences at the right time."
As a strongly opinionated person, I can't agree more... ;-)
Last fall our friends from Palomar 5, a collective of young German entrepreneurs, and affiliate curators gave 28 residents under the age of 30 from all over the world the possibility to stay for six weeks in an Innovation Camp in Berlin. It was an
" My research has shown that people are most creative when they are on a mission, intrinsically motivated by a love for what they are doing. Bauer and his colleagues found immense interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge in "dreaming, proving and making things that had never been done before." Indulging their passion was so exciting, and so much fun, that they worked their tails off. These days, people are more likely to find work frustrating than fun.
Think inside the (restless, curious, eager) minds of highly accomplished company builders. What distinguishes great entrepreneurs? Discussions of entrepreneurial psychology typically focus on creativity, tolerance for risk, and the desire for achievement—enviable traits that, unfortunately, are not very teachable. So Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, set out to determine how expert entrepreneurs think, with the goal of transferring that knowledge to aspiring founders. While still a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, Sarasvathy—with the guidance of her thesis supervisor, the Nobel laureate Herbert Simon—embarked on an audacious project: to eavesdrop on the thinking of the country's most successful entrepreneurs as they grappled with business problems. She required that her subjects have at least 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, have started multiple companies—both successes and failures—and have taken at least one company public.
"The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued. So it’s much more about creating climates. I think it’s a big shift for a lot of people."
I felt so ashamed. I had just lost my apartment in the city. I had no jobs. No prospects for jobs. No money. A few years earlier I had millions and then I had nothing. So I sold my apartment, scraped together some cash, and moved 70 miles north of the city. It was in the middle of a blizzard. I was scared of my neighbors. I couldn’t get out of bed I was so depressed. I gained twenty pounds because I never moved my body. There was blizzard after blizzard. I didn’t go into the city at all, not even to attend the closing of my hated apartment, which took me almost two years to sell (at almost 50% of the price I originally listed at). I had no phone. Didn’t need one. I didn’t feel like I would have any skills for a job and it was a recession anyway. I was really scared because my dad’s career had basically ended in a similar way and then fizzled out from depression. The same thing was going to happen to me, I was sure of it.
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