"There's a Zen saying, "What you resist persists, and what you allow to be disappears." Thinking outside the box without understanding the box is a petulant exercise in resistance — every idea that comes from the process has the box written all over it. It's a reaction to the box. It's fighting the box. It's a child of the box. Zune was Microsoft trying to think outside the box, which they saw as the lack of a product to compete with the iPod. The doomed MP3 player became a monument to the real box, which was Microsoft's inability to innovate. It was screaming so hard "Look, we're innovative" that it never had a chance of being anything but the antithesis of innovation."
"Physically, it's a 2000 sq. ft. open and sunlit space with large windows that frame the beautiful mountain views. Everything in the space is on wheels and is configurable by teams as they need it. They can move tables and whiteboards around to create mini collaboration spaces. There are stacks of markers, Post-Its, and every "quick and dirty" prototype material under the sun...from construction paper to pipe cleaners. On the surface it might look like a child's paradise...but in fact it's heaven for designers."
It's so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.) To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier.
Explanation: AWFUL IDEA = -1 WEAK IDEA = 1 SO-SO IDEA = 5 GOOD IDEA = 10 GREAT IDEA = 15 BRILLIANT IDEA = 20
NO EXECUTION = $1 WEAK EXECUTION = $1000 SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000 GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000 GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000 BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000
"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... ;-)
"The movie was completely rewritten and produced in the remaining eight months. Toy Story 2 went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed Pixar movies of all time, but only because Jacob and others on his team had the guts to say the work wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t something they could believe in.
It’s easy to be lulled into thinking creativity lives and breathes better when free of criticism. While quick judgment can kill great ideas in the nub, a straight-up, critical assessment is just as important as any brainstorm technique.
Be honest with yourself. When the work isn’t great, say so. Then get to work making something you can believe in."
Many Apple employees feared Steve Jobs' searing criticism, but it may be one of the former CEO's greatest creative weapons. A new study suggests people who feel angry generate more ideas than happy 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.
BC fired its programming chief for green-lighting Lost. Howard Schultz shrugged off the Starbucks worker who first pitched a blended-coffee drink. For most businesspeople, realizing any creative vision--while addressing concerns about scale, tradition, and profitability--is a Herculean task. Here, 10 bold thinkers tell us how they pulled it off (or tried to), and the lessons they learned along the way.
The notion that the process of value creation and innovation can somehow be quantified as something predictable, with outcomes easily repeated, is a compelling one indeed. An entire consulting industry has been built around this premise.
"In her outstanding book Mindset, psychology researcher Carol Dweck discusses the trait that both McCann and McFadden had in spades, and that you will need to make your decision into a long-term success, no matter what happens:
Exceptional people seem to have is a special talent for converting life's setbacks into future successes. Creativity researchers concur. In a poll of 143 creativity researchers, there was wide agreement about the number one ingredient in creative achievement… perseverance and resilience."
"Creative Brain, a discussion about creativity with artists Richard Serra and Chuck Close, neurologist Oliver Sacks, Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art and Eric Kandel of Columbia University"
"It’s easy to dismiss Burning Man as nothing more than a bizarre hippie love-fest that takes place deep in the Nevada desert every year the week before Labor Day. But doing so misses the fact that it’s an amazingly successful enterprise--and, as such, has a thing or two to teach about how to inspire creative people and create a great product."
love this reminder:
This is a secret that organizations that successfully harness the imaginations of their creative people have long known: You can’t order creativity. You can only create the conditions for it to blossom--mainly by setting certain prescribed boundaries and then giving your creative people a great deal of autonomy to execute as they see fit...
creative people simply want the latitude discussed in the previous section (autonomy), as well as the opportunity to do something really well (mastery) and the opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves (purpose). And that’s what Burning Man provides.
Having known of CreativeMornings for quite some time, I finally made the decision to attend one of their talks and managed to snag a ticket to July's lecture with John Maeda (assisted by Becky Bermont).
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).
Every now and then, a creative act comes out of nowhere, a giant leap, a new way of thinking apparently woven out of a brand new material. Most of the the time, though, creativity is the act of reassembling many...
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