Creativity and Self-Expression

    Confederacy of Creative Effectiveness

    b317d9051fe38da3074ef24d40c319ceCreative Effectiveness 2017

    What if 2017 turned out to be the most creative year of your life?

    More than creative, what if 2017 was the most creatively effective year of your life?

    There’s a difference.

    You can be incredibly creative in terms of self-expression and ideas — without being creatively effective.

    What good is creativity if it doesn’t get done? Doesn’t find an audience? Doesn’t get put into play?

    Let’s make 2017 the year you put projects over the goal line. That is, finish projects.

    There are a lot of horror stories when it comes to great creativity but no finish. A heart breaking example is that of John Kennedy Toole, who wrote the incredible picaresque novel, A Confederacy of Dunces.” The book is a master stroke of comedy and satire. It was published posthumously — Toole committed suicide at the age of 31 — unable to get his book out. The world would never have seen it if Toole’s mother hadn’t found a carbon copy and taken it to Walker Percy. It was published and it won a Pulitzer prize. Toole might have been reaffirmed as a human being had he somehow gotten the book out on his own. He might also have written more books to secure his legacy. Toole was highly creative, but on his own, not creatively effective.

    To borrow from Toole… you need a Confederacy of Creative Effectiveness. When it comes to Creative Effectiveness, we can all be dunces. We allow anything and everything to distract us. Here are some ideas on how to do better this year.

    Create a Confederacy of Creative Effectiveness, 10 Ways:

    1. Don’t just randomly create, create on a regular schedule. Do what you do every day, or at least at some regular, frequent, interval.
    2. Do it whether you feel like it or not. The idea that creativity is what happens when you are inspired is harmful to creative effectiveness. Sure, maximize inspiration, but you’ll find that if you keep after it even when you’re not inspired, that lighting will strike more often.
    3. Think in terms of projects. Make your creative effort into a project. Give it a name. Put it on your calendar. Work towards a finish date. Check your progress and adjust to meet your date.
    4. Don’t be so nice to yourself when you fall off your program. You should feel guilty when you’re not doing your work. We are all such great at rationalizing; there is always a reason to not write, paint, invent, do. Acknowledge you are letting yourself down and get back to work.
    5. Find what you care about, that’s where to focus. It’s tough to get something important or complicated done. One of the things that keeps you going is your inherent love for what you do, so, focus your efforts on those things you love. Find, and do, your passion.
    6. Get started as soon as possible. Procrastination is the enemy of creative effectiveness. So is perfectionism. Strategy, plans, and refinement are important, but not at the expense of action.
    7. If you get blocked, get help. There are a thousand reasons to stop a creative project and even one can hang you up and ruin your chance for a creative effectiveness win. If you find you’re blocked get what help you need, be it; advice from an expert, pure encouragement, food, coffee, technical help, yes, even love. Don’t be afraid, ask for help. Pay for it if you have to (not the love part).
    8. Be Bold and Confident even if you’re faking it. Everybody has doubts. About ability, about confidence, about talent, project selection, etc. Fake it till you make it, and just keep going. It’s amazing what a lot of hard work will do to improve your product or project, so keep at it and adjust as you go if necessary. Doubt but Do.
    9. Stay off Social Media. At the very least leave this to a time of day when your focused creative work is already done. Social Media is a distraction, unless your business or work Is Social Media.
    10. Get Into a Flow. Great creative work happens when you are in flow. Extend the flow from the creation to the revision, and to the implementation. Flow through projects, just keep going until it’s done.

    Best wishes for your creative and effective year.

    Comments

    Get a Grip on Innovation — 10 Questions, 20 Minutes

    Get a Grip on Innovation — 10 Questions, 20 Minutes Ten questions for you to focus on assessing the state of your organization’s innovation program. Twenty minutes to learn something and take action steps. If you think your current program is working, non-existent, or just a disaster — you will learn something by taking this quick survey. Yes, there are other ways to assess innovation culture that are more thorough (such as Teresa Amabile Ph.D. “KEYS“). However, the purpose of these ten questions is to get you off the dime and into action around your innovation program/department. If these questions raise any red flags, you might need to go deeper, perhaps using a qualitative approach. But in the interest of




    Read More..
    Comments

    Invest in Innovation Skill Building

    Invest in Your Innovation Capacity In my various consulting engagements I have learned not to take much for granted. I thought by this year in history (2016) everyone in the business world would have a clue as to how to do ideation (aka brainstorming) properly. Wow, not even close. It’s a glaring missing ingredient in staying competitive. It’s a key to growth and it’s routinely done poorly. The art and science of developing valid business ideas has a formula. There are variations but at the heart of it you have: Problem Framing, Ideation, Idea Development, and Actions. Within each of those areas there are tools and techniques. If you know them, and use them in the context of an innovation




    Read More..
    Comments

    Retro Motorcycles Signal Innovation In Goshen, IN

    Manufacturing in America — Using the Past to Create an Innovative Future It’s heartening to learn about a small USA manufacturer who’s doing something creative, new, and interesting. Janus Motorcycles in Goshen, Indiana is creating hand-crafted, small batch motorcycles. These are simple, accessible, easy-to-work-with bikes. They are throwbacks in a certain way, but don’t get me wrong they’re elegant. The retro-ish designs are informed by old American bike brands like Indian, and old British bikes like Triumph and Norton. It’s not hard to imagine that famous Hoosier, James Dean, riding one of these bikes around the countryside. The bikes look like James Dean era rides because Janus purposefully leaves the bikes open, in the sense that all the parts can




    Read More..
    Comments

    Projects Are How Innovation Happens

    Projects, Projects, Projects Innovation is complex and difficult — but one thing about it is not. What’s quite simple about innovation is that projects are what make innovation real. The following concepts, frameworks, approaches, etc. are Not Innovation.  Unless they are in the context of an actual project. Thinking about things is not innovation Having beers and kicking ideas around are not innovation Brainstorming sessions are not innovation Idea Campaigns are not innovation Guided visualizations are not innovation Design Thinking is not innovation Creative Problem Solving is not innovation DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats are not innovation Lean is not innovation Prototyping is not innovation Crowd sourcing or Open innovation are not innovation TQM and Six Sigma are not innovation Defining




    Read More..
    Comments

    Fast Company’s Brainstorming Fail

    Fast Company Article “Brainstorming is Dumb” Misses the Point Brainstorming, Done Properly, Is Not a Tool, It’s A Multi-Step Process See BrainWriting How-To Instructions at the Bottom of this Post* Here we go again. And yet another major publication publishes a misleading article about brainstorming — Brainstorming is Dumb. This happens about every six months. This time it’s Fast Company. The article gets a few things right, but misses the big picture, and smears a giant of the field, Alex Osborn. The headline is dead wrong, but wonderfully provocative. Fast Company missed an opportunity to inform more fully at the very least. The omission is so large one wonders if they have a fact checker on staff. The big picture




    Read More..
    Comments

    Trump: Learn to Steal Smart

    Stealing Smart and Stealing Stupid Melania Trump’s speech last evening at the GOP convention, and today’s subsequent media uproar and fiasco, is symbolic of several things in my view. Summarizing my themes here: Competence, Theft, and Ideas (or lack of them). I’ll take flack for writing this post, but understand, this is not about politics. It involves politics — but my comments have more to do with creativity and innovation. As most of you know, my interests are in those areas, so, I’m looking at recent events with that lens. Not as a lefty, not as a righty. I’m looking at this with the green tinted shades of the artist and the black and white lens of a professional innovator.




    Read More..
    Comments

    Dirty Martini Sunset

    Just for fun. Had a Dirty Martini on the deck at the Stray Dog in New Buffalo, MI. Good times.




    Read More..
    Comments

    Six Ideas for Coping with Little “d” Depression in Innovation Projects

    Innovation and Depression …Six Ideas for Coping with Little “d” Depression… Nobody talks about the dark emotions related to innovation. You hear about the emotional high of a big “aha” moment. Or, less frequently, about the “oh crap” moment when a project hits a brick wall. But nobody talks about how personal battles with the dark side impact innovation. How many promising projects have gone up in smoke because the creator, the innovator, the project leader, or a team member lost faith in a dark moment? Losing heart for something you want to do can happen when a wave of negative emotion carries you away. It’s why people give up. Emotional highs and lows are part of life. I’m not




    Read More..
    Comments

    Dance Your Challenge

    Shake Your Booty The Creativity and Innovation point of this blog takes about three paragraphs to develop, so business readers, let me tell you a brief story to set it up. I was having dinner this week with Gary Schwartz, a fine actor and Improv person who was blowing through Chicago to promote his new children’s book, The King of Average.  Gary studied with a hero of mine, Viola Spolin (he’s the leading expert on her games and methods). As we talked about Improv and I heard some of his stories I was particularly impressed with one story having to do with “getting into the body” of a role. The Story: So Gary was playing the role of a Roman




    Read More..
    Comments