"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?" —Albert Einstein
Katherine Stevens's insight:
"Being in a clean room seemed to encourage people to do what was expected of them." Being in messy room led to creativity.
How can you apply this? "At the start of the creative process ... you want loads of ideas, so gravitate towards messy areas. But, as a project progresses you need to narrow them down, refine and create order from the chaos. Perhaps this is when tidy spaces come into their own."
Here's what I found that was surprising: "The researchers have been doing follow-up tests on the internet. Their preliminary results suggest that tidy websites encourage playing it safe while more messy ones encourage creativity."
Marc Binkley's list of top 25 favorite business articles, which inclues articles on "innovation, leadership, marketing, sales, branding, culture." You may recognize some classics, including "1,000 True Fans" and "Bowling Alone" and "The Long Tail."
You CAN overcome the frustration of feeling blocked.
Of the 10 tips, I like these two.
#1 "Redefine the problem to find it more compelling. Ask yourself something like "What if Winston Churchill was designing this packaging?" That will provide an unfamiliar angle and perhaps a new perspective. (Christian Helms, Graphic Designer)"
#7. "Choose a better way to conceive of your blocks. For instance, rather than having to root through a blocked drain to achieve flow, consider temperature. "I try to find out what's hot and start there, even if it may be unrelated to what I need to be working on." (Michael Erard, Writer and Journalist)"
Does following established patterns increase or decrease creativity?
From the article "Ask any creative director of any advertising agency and he will tell you that creative ideation is a highly complex thinking process — difficult to institutionalize and control. Or…maybe not."
"An experiment conducted by an Israeli research team in 1999 shows that even in a complex thinking process certain patterns of creativity emerge. The team assembled a group of 200 award-winning, highly regarded ads, and after studying them, decided that 89% could be classified by just six templates. (Just like the “seven basic plots” that all stories follow.)"
Continuum uses an innovation process approach - deliberative discourse - that they fondly call “Argue. Discuss. Argue. Discuss.”
From the article: "It refers to participative and collaborative (but not critique-free) communication. Multiple positions and views are expressed with a shared understanding that everyone is focused on a common goal. There is no hierarchy. It’s not debate because there are no opposing sides trying to “win.” Rather, it’s about working together to solve a problem and create new ideas."
What are the rules? (1) No hierarchy. (2) Say "No, because". (3) Diverse perspectives. (4) Focus on a common goal. (5) Keep it fun.
"When frontline service workers are asked to become creative innovators, not just service providers, it ennobles their jobs."
"We normally associate innovation with R&D, product and service development, and new 'offers' to relevant markets. You might call this 'supply-side innovation.'"
"We don't spend nearly as much time asking how a company — in particular, a consumer-facing company — can engage in 'demand-side innovation.' That's not innovation focused on what a company sells, but on how it sells it. What's the nature of the interaction between customers and brands? How could such interactions become more compelling over time?"
This article offers suggestions on how organizations can foster “idea fusers," people who can fuse ideas from very different domains.
"Innovation in organizations requires 'slack resources', like 3M’s and Google’s policies of allowing their people to spend a certain percentage of their time on projects of their own choice."
"The people need to be horizontal thinkers, but they also need to be vertical thinkers. IDEO prizes what they call 'T-shaped' thinkers; thinkers that have bone-deep know-how in a particular area and yet have broad, know-what in many areas."
Everyone is born creative, kids are so creative, and human beings made the civilization and modern technology with this gift.
"Creativity and innovation can (should) happen in every environment. People are often too occupied with their everyday-work, that they don’t have the time to think of something else. ... So, what’s blocking creativity? In most cases it’s the knowledge and time."
Why the greatest enemy of creative success is the attempt to fortify against failure.
"Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes
Katherine Stevens's insight:
I like the following three quotes from the article: "“Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before,” Neil Gaiman urged in his commencement-address-turned-manifesto-for-the-creative life."
We need to think about failure differently. ... Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality)." ~ Ed Catmull
"If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy — trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it — dooms you to fail." ~ Ed Catmull
Far from killing creativity, imitation spurs innovation in industries like fashion, finance and football, write Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman. An essay adapted from The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation.
Whether you like it or not, competition today is fierce. And it’s only going to get fiercer. Where the old battleground was price and efficiency, the new one will be innovation and time to market.
Katherine Stevens: I like this quote: "You have to create alongside your customers, because you can’t rely on a robust outcome of your in-house innovation process"
"...you invite your community into the innovation process. You listen, observe, engage, discuss, and ultimately create together. ... You suddenly have a deep talent pool and you get significantly more initial approaches."
Diversity is the crucial element for group creativity. Innovation teams tasked with creating new products or technologies or iterating existing ones need tension to produce breakthroughs, and tension comes from diverse points of view.
"How to get started? Take a stubborn challenge you're currently facing and set up an informal meeting with a harsh critic, someone who often disagrees with your point of view. Critics challenge assumptions and are usually very passionate. Invite them in; hear them out. You may be surprised by how much you learn, and also by how thinking about a problem from a different perspective can refresh and energize your own ideas."
"Here’s the gist: The degree to which a company can utilize habit-forming technologies will increasingly decide which products and services succeed or fail."
"Instead of relying on expensive marketing or worrying about differentiation, habit-forming companies get users to 'self trigger' by attaching their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. A cemented habit is when users subconsciously think, 'I’m bored,' and instantly Facebook comes to mind. They think, 'I wonder what’s going on in the world?' and before rationale thought occurs, Twitter is the answer. The first-to-mind solution wins."
"But how do companies create the internal triggers needed to form habits? The answer: they manufacture desire. ... startups manufacture desire by guiding users through a series of experiences designed to create habits. I call these experiences 'desire engines,' and the more often users run through them, the more likely they are to self-trigger."
"Team collaboration is challenging enough without needing to attend to underperforming workspace. Companies like Skype, Cisco, and Pixar have already deployed cleverly designed work environments to best enable new value creation through collaboration. It's time to align the physical with the strategic."
One suggestion: "Give project teams a dedicated space. The concept of 'distributed cognition' suggests that thinking processes are embedded in the physical work environment. A team room can provide "cognitive space" to hold ideas and experiences." The shared space "can help teammates maintain a shared project mindset, sharpening their focus and speeding up the collaborative process."
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