When our prehistoric ancestors sensed change they saw two options – fight or flight. For those of us who tap into creativity, there’s a third alternative. Namely, to use our natural creative abilities to modify the situation. Even the youngest among us know how to tap into creative thinking to alter outcomes. My 5-year old son is a master at changing the situation – especially when it comes to getting chocolate. He clasps his hands together, puts on a really cute face, and says, “pleeeease.”
In my family we refer to this as “begging face.” It works so well that when my older son wants something, he convinces his younger brother to “do” begging face.
There’s a lot of talk in the business world about the importance of testing and learning. When it comes to web site design, we typically create prototypes to help clients understand user flows, graphical elements, and user interactions. Many times, we take these prototypes out to end users to test and get feedback. This aspect of testing and learning helps to uncover opportunities, understand what is/isn’t working, confirm hypotheses, and find ways of improving outcomes. Though this example was couched in a business context, we all have the innate ability for testing and learning. In fact, testing and learning begins as infants.
This is a follow-up post to an article I wrote a few weeks back titled, Creativity: Sensing Gaps and Imagining Possibilities. In the article I hypothesized about how a person’s mind could recognize a gap in a situation and fill in, or imagine, the possibilities. I used examples from my early work experience to shed light on how the mind might work.
In listening to an NPR story on an early morning commute, I was surprised to learn of scientific proof backing the sensing of gaps and imagining possibilities. In the segment Mindreading: Technology Turns Thought into Action the NPR team interviewed researchers who found, “Whether it’s musical phrases or strings of words or scenery we look at, our brains are always filling in missing information.”
Creativity comes in different shapes and sizes. It ranges from tranformational, or big-C creativity, all the way down to everyday, or little-c creativity. Transformational creativity is what it takes to reinvent a category, like moving from video cassettes to DVDs, while everyday creativity is the problem solving we Read more
Until recently I considered the Kindle, iPad and Nook as nice to haves. When I think about carrying around another electronic device, it makes me cringe. However, after speaking with friends who swear by digital books and seeing the richness of digital books, I’m starting to rethink ebook readers. Here are a few digital books that unlock the imagination (and may cause me to unlock my wallet).
In 1916, Einstein published the general theory of relativity. More than 50 years later, NASA confirmed Einstein’s predictions. How is it that some people can seemingly predict the future? I believe it comes down to the ability to sense gaps and to imagine possibilities. At the end of the day, predicting the future may be nothing more than tapping into divergent and convergent thinking skills.
For example, on my last day of work from one of my very first jobs, I wrote down a half dozen predictions about the future of the company I was leaving. I then sealed my predictions in envelopes and gave them to a colleague with instructions to open each one on the date indicated. As my colleague opened each envelope, she was surprised by the accuracy of what I had predicted. In the end, nearly all had come true.
In business school I was taught that marketing is all about changing people’s behaviors. I entered the marketing business a bit naive. The consequences of marketing products that are bad for you never really crossed my mind. However, one day as my family sat down for dinner at a local Japanese restaurant, I realized the power of marketing – particularly as it pertains to young children.
My kids ordered cooked food while my husband and I ordered sushi. When the food arrived, the boys dug into their rice and terriyaki while my husband and I savored the maki rolls and sashimi. My 7-year old, who is a fairly adventurous eater, pointed to a piece of raw, white-colored fish and asked, “What is that?”
A few weeks ago I shared tips on how to creatively teach skip counting. Since then, readers have asked for more ways to teach math and logic. Here’s one for you from the “way back” machine. Why way back? Well, the tips I share are from a bedtime routine my husband started when our oldest son was about three. Fast-forward…and 2006 seems like eons ago!
Each night before my son went to bed, my husband would make up a bedtime story. The story was based on a little boy (my son) who had to find three crystals in order to escape the precarious situations he had gotten into. In order to obtain the crystals, the little boy had to solve challenges. These challenges involved word problems, logic and math.
I work in a creative industry. In many ways, advertising and marketing serves as a pinnacle of creativity. Each and every day folks within the ad agency world develop creative work. Whether digital experiences, web sites, online advertising, social media campaigns, television commercials, radio spots or inventive outdoor installations, there is no lack of creativity. With all these creative works, the question becomes what criteria should we use to evaluate them? It isn’t a question many folks stop to ask. In fact, evaluating creative work is often very subjective.
Here are a few tips for taking the subjectivity out of the evaluation and fairly critiquing creative work:
At first blush when folks think about project management, creativity might not be top of mind. What does project management have to do with creativity? And, what can a project manager learn from creativity training? These are both good questions.
In my role as a creativity trainer and innovation consultant, I have conducted many training sessions, led many innovation workshops and helped many people work through the creative problem solving process to develop breakthrough solutions. From all these experiences, the one that is among the most meaningful was the creativity training I conducted for Isobar North America. At this training there was a project manager named Paul Pantzer who was so moved by the session that he took the time to share his learning in a two-part feature article that was posted to the Isobar site and ran on http://www.projectsatwork.com. In full disclosure, I have worked with Paul for many years at more than one company. Paul is often my go-to person on complex projects. With that said, Paul serves as a great litmus test because he is a straight shooter. If he thought the creativity training was not valuable, he would have been the first to tell me 😉