Friday, November 19, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Linda Naiman

I have long been a fan of Linda Naiman's work. So much so that I asked a mutual contact to introduce us last year. Linda and I have stayed in contact since then, and I am delighted  that she agreed to answer my questions on creativity this month.

Linda Naiman is a creativity and innovation consultant, coach, and speaker. She is founder of and co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. She has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, and Canadian Business Magazine.

Linda has spoken about art, design and transformational leadership at US Navy Leadership Symposiums, The MIT Club Singapore, The Banff Centre, and at international business conferences. Organizations who have sought out Linda for her expertise include American Express, AstraZeneca, and Intel.

To find out more about coaching for creativity and innovation: visit Creativity at Work, follow Linda on Twitter @lindanaiman and @alchemize, and join the CreativityatWork fan page on Facebook.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
I define creativity as the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. If you have ideas, but don't act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.

2. What is your creative process and what tools do you use to stimulate it?
Creativity is both a process and a lifestyle. Turning ideas into reality requires whole-brain thinking. I use L-mode (left-brain) logic, and planning, as well as R-mode (right-brain) imagination and kinaesthetic intelligence, depending on what phase of the creative process I am in.

I apply metadisciplinary thinking in my work. For example, my interest in art and leadership led to exploring how we can apply arts-based principles and practices to leadership and management innovation in business.

I feed my brain with diverse stimuli by taking an interest in arts, science, popular culture, conferences, and by conversing with people who come from different backgrounds, disciplines and cultures.

I take notes, keep journals and collect links/docs for future reference. I tend to download thoughts or images on paper, or on digital media, then edit. I also take time out to meditate, dream, reflect, and walk in nature, allowing ideas to incubate. When inspiration strikes and ideas coalesce, I seize the moment and take action.

All of this prepares the ground for creativity. Sooner or later my interests give me new ideas and insights, which inform my creativity/innovation consulting and coaching practice.

My explorations in bridging art, creativity and leadership, led to developing arts-based learning in organizations, and to the publication of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work, the training book I co-authored with Arthur VanGundy.

3. What is your most creative time of day?
Mornings mostly –but creativity can be triggered at any time. I think the question to ask here, is what situations spark creativity? The key for me is to refresh my brain chemistry by eating well, getting enough sleep, and switching gears when fatigued. When my brain is fatigued by L-mode activities, I switch to R-mode.

4. How do you infuse creativity into your daily life and tasks?
See Question #2

5. What creative tip or resource would you like to share with our readers?
Expand your radar, and be on the lookout for clues from the world around you. Juxtapose ideas or practices from one discipline with those of another. Be curious, ask questions such as: what can I learn from X that I can apply to Y? eg art and science, art and business, or business and science. Creativity happens at intersections, at edges, when you experience a change in consciousness and an interruption in your patterns of thought.

Try something new, take a risk, and above all act! Learning and creativity go hand in hand. Don’t worry about perfection right away. Experiment first, develop your craft and iterate.

  • THANKS Linda!

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