Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Principles of Creative Engagement

Last weekend, I had the amazing experience of attending the 2nd Creativity in Business conference held in my former hometown, Washington, DC and organized by the brilliant Michelle James.

The day was filled with so many insights that I am still slowly processing them all. As I was leaving, I noticed the above instructions tacked up to a wall. I snapped a quick image on my phone. Apparently, they were the guidelines for the entire conference that I somehow initially missed.

A few days later when I looked at the image again, I realized that it did sum up, in a few short phrases, my entire experience at the conference. And here's how:

Yes - and
A foundational principle of improv, yes- and implies that you will accept whatever happens and flow with what comes next. When I got to the conference, I was torn about which sessions to attend but the creative energy of the event guided me to choose the perfect ones for me.

Make everyone else look good
For me, this meant enthusiastically participating in each session demonstrating my engagement for the presenter to notice. I believe the more involved the audience is, the more creative energy the presenter receives.

Creativity is messy
In one session, Gregg Fraley led our group through an actual Creative Problem Solving process. One of the things he mentioned in doing so was how we should gravitate to and explore what makes us uncomfortable. It is here that your greatest creative discoveries will occur. Creativity is not a neat process.

Have fun
Above all, the conference was a day for me to play and explore new processes while meeting other like-minds folks. I tried improv, doodling, and storytelling.

What I ultimately learned is that when you combine the creative passion and enthusiasm of a group diverse individuals, you will see and feel magic happen. And that's what I'll reflect on most from the conference, as I continue to ponder the creative transformation that occurred within me.
  • How do you create and keep your creative engagement alive?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disciplined Dreaming

Do you or does your organization need more ideas? Well then Josh Linkner and his book Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity may have just the solution for you or at least just the right idea generating tool!

Filled with proven techniques and the success stories to back them up, Linkner has written a resource that you and your team will come back to over and over. He believes that creativity is a skill that you can learn and even quotes from renown Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen to prove it:
"Studies have shown that creativity is close to 80 percent learned and acquired."
From there, Linkner provides a simple framework to increase your creative thinking capacity and also teaches you how to encourage it your organization or team.  His five step process is similar to the actual creative process.

1. Ask: Define your creativity challenge by asking what needs to be solved. Then use your curiosity to seek those clues.

2. Prepare: Like exercise, creative thinking requires warm-ups. Also if you are in an organization, cultural alignment is necessary.

3. Discover: Seek creativity in the unlikely corners of your life. You may be surprised by what you find.

4. Ignite: Where the rubber meets the road. Use as many different tools and techniques to spark ideas individually or in a group. 

5. Launch: Bring your analytical mind back into the picture to sort through all of the ideas you generated in the last step in order to choose the best ones to  pursue.

Now, I can't guarantee that you will become a creative genius after reading this book and following the Disciplined Dreaming process, but I am pretty certain that Linkner's infectious enthusiasm about all things creative will at least make you look at problem solving and creativity a lot differently.

  • Now go and create some new ideas!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Creative Slump

After a really productive and inspired late spring and early summer, I hit a creative slump - you know the one where it feels like all of your ideas have evaporated and you panic because you don't know when a new set will show up?

Yep, that's me!

At first when it hit, I just tried to ride it out and enjoy the downtime. I figured, like most blocks, if I ignored it it would go away. Well after several weeks, I started getting frustrated, because it was still there.

So then, I started to take my own advice. I got up on the opposite side of the bed, tried new foods, met old friend in new locations, but nothing.

Last week, I thought the slump had been broken. Things in my life began to shift, and I felt change was approaching. I rode this wave for a couple of days, but it didn't last, and I ended up back in my dry spell.

As I enter the second month of this creative slump, I am desperately looking for a breakthrough. That is why I am turning to you, my loyal readers.
  • Tell me how you've overcome a creative slump.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Build Your Creative Dream in 5 Minutes a Day

Yesterday, while looking through my google reader, I noticed a post by my fellow creative blogger Tanner Christensen on creating the work you dreamed of.. It was a deeply personal post that touched a nerve with me and I am sure many other "creatives" out there.

In it, he tells his story of being a creative who, listening to everyone around him, forgoes a career as an artist to become a designer - considered to be a much safer choice. But like a lot of us out there in similar situations, he still longs to be an artist and challenges his readers (and I assume himself too) to take just 5 minutes a day to do something creative, whether it's writing a quick poem, taking a photograph, or doing a simple drawing to get back to your creative dreams.

I believe the reason his post and suggestion resonated so strongly with me was because, I too, have gotten into a place where I am safe and doing work, that while still part of my dream, is comfortable. No matter who we are, we get in that rut of doing the same thing almost everyday and forget about our lost creative dreams.

Like Tanner, I believe in the power of short - planned or unplanned stints of creativity. Small steps are what helps to build a larger practice of creativity. Recently too, I've tried to weave this into my own life, whether it's creating redesigned website wire frames on post-it notes during my lunch break, or snapping images of my daily life and altering them on instagram, or even pledging to create one thing a day for the next thirty days.

Let's start a Build Your Creative Dream in 5 Minutes a Day Challenge, where we take that short amount of time each day to express ourselves and rediscover our lost creative dreams.
  • What can you create in 5 minutes?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Even More of My Favorite Creativity Blogs

It's that time of year again. Yes, the time time where I recommend my favorite creativity blogs to read. I hope you'll check them out and grow to enjoy them as much as I do. Also, have a look at my lists from 2009 and 2010 for further inspiration.

The Artist's Road
I am so glad I discovered this blog and even more so, it's wonderfully creative author. Patrick delves deep into the creative experience and topics that other blogs just gloss over.

Cup of Creativi-Tea
Another kindred spirit I found this year is Thien-Kim or you can just call her Kim - I do! Her creativity blog covers everything from inspiration to food to crafts. Truly one of the most well-rounded blogs on creativity.

Creative Instigation
I am not sure why it took me this long to add Jan's blog to this list, because it's probably one of the first creative blogs I started reading. Jan's brevity is something I really admire, as well as her creativity tips, which are inspired by everything and anything and are (in my opinion) pure genius.

Creative Liberty
The best part of Liz's blog is her interviews with artists and creators, and I am not saying that just because I was once featured. Her interviews really give you an inside glimpse into the various creative processes out there.

The Creative Practice
Kira's blog is relatively new to me, but her content is outstanding and worth checking out. She dives into expression and creativity with a sense of thoroughness like no one else.
  • What creativity blog(s) are you reading?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Gets Your Creative Juices Flowing?

Earlier this year, while flipping through my favorite magazine, Whole Living, this question leapt off the page. Immediately, I began thinking about it and how in my own life I get my creative juices flowing.

A couple of days later, while feeling very inspired, I sat down and wrote the above statement and emailed it off to the magazine never imagining that I would be chosen as the grand prize winner.

Actually, I let it go completely from my mind until just a couple of weeks ago, when I excitedly received the May issue that arrived on a particularly busy Saturday. It wasn't until later in that day, when I opened the magazine to start casually reading it that I saw my entry had been chosen as this month's winner.
  • What gets your creative juices flowing?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Guest Post for Indie Biz Chicks

I was excited when Crissy Herron asked me to write a post on creative inspiration for her amazing site Indie Biz Chicks. The site provides useful information and tips on business, marketing and publicity for small women-owned businesses. It was a natural fit for me, so I jumped at the chance.

I also loved that the tag line for Crissy's site is:
"For Women Who'd Rather Work For Themselves, Than Work for the Man"
My post focuses on helping those of you who've been feeling that you need a way to re-invent yourself or your business, keeping in mind that Spring is the best time to make a fresh start!

5 Creative Tips For The Uninspired 
by Melanie Sklarz

We’ve all been there at one time or another. We found ourselves just stuck. It may have seemed like everyone else had already come up with all of the good ideas, and we had nothing. Or we had been working so hard on our passion that once we finished it, we didn’t know where to go next.

The best thing to do in a situation, like this when you feel stagnate, is to create movement, no matter how small, day every day. Movement increases the flow of energy around you and your ideas and before you know it, you’ll be inspired!

I’ve created 5 simple tips to try when you’re feeling oh-so uninspired.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Inspired Conversations

When was the last time you had a REALLY inspired conversation? I mean the kind where you learn something new about yourself or gather interesting information from someone else.

Earlier this month, I had one of those kind of inspired conversations with @Cnvrgnc. Rasul and I bonded on Twitter over an article that I tweeted about creating a Rock 'n' Roll theme throughout the city of Cleveland. We played online tag for the next several months promising to schedule a phone conversation. Finally, our schedules cleared and for about an hour we chatted on the phone like creative kindred spirits.

From this experience - that left me creatively invigorated -  I developed some tips for inspired conversations:

1. Meet Offline. I am sure you know a lot of people online. I know I do! But how many of them can you you say have met in person or at least heard their voice? Meeting offline gives you a space to really explore the nuances of your conversation.

2. Ask Questions. Want to know more during your conversation? Just ask. Asking questions is the perfect path to new knowledge.

3. Connect. Look for places in the conversation to connect and bring in your personal experiences. In my case, I had lived for many years in Washington, DC, where Rasul currently lives and works. It turned out we had some common acquaintances and friends.

4. Continue Sharing. Not only is it important to share ideas and resources during your conversation, but also keep the dialogue going. After the conversation, send them interesting links or leads relevant to what you talked about.

Before long, not only will you have a new perspective, you may also have some new creative ideas or at least a new creative cohort to add to your circle.
  • Schedule an inspired conversation today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Creative Birthday Wish

Today is my birthday. I am another year older, and hopefully another year wiser. This year is a milestone birthday for me (I am not telling which one!), so I thought I'd make a creative birthday wish for the year ahead.

For the next year, my wish is to fully embrace my creativity and all that goes with it. With that said, here are the ways I intend to use my creativity in the upcoming year.

  • I will create a community around creativity both locally and nationally. I will work to connect with my fellow creatives both online and in person. I will treasure the insights I gain from this community and give back all I can.
  • I will share my creativity with others. I will inspire them through my writing and offer them tips to help them be more creative in the upcoming year. I will let my light shine and let it lead the way for other aspiring creatives.
  • I will express myself through my creativity. I will use it to improve my well-being and create balance in my own life. I will even explore new mediums in this quest to express myself more fully.
This my birthday wish. Well, ok 3 birthday wishes for a more creative year ahead.

  • I hope you'll join me!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creating More Little Aha's

Maybe it's the new year or maybe it's the winter weather, but recently I've had some revelations that have changed the way I think about creativity.

First, I had an inspiring conversation with a very creative friend. We were discussing our thoughts on creativity and comparing them to what we normally see portrayed by other creatives. What we came to the conclusion is that unlike of them, we were more interested in practical creativity.

The kind of stuff that gets you through your day. The small innovations you make to your daily life to make it easier, more interesting, etc.

Then, while reading ahead for one of my classes, I came upon a chapter on creativity and business innovation. There was an abbreviated version of an article published in 2006 in BusinessWeek, entitled The Myth of Creativity. In it, the author declares the whole concept of creativity training to get the big aha out of people as merely a waste of time.


Because creativity is more about the little aha's and the small changes we make to our lives than the big idea that would make us a hero. Every one of us does this on a daily basis, whether we are conscious of it or not. So instead of encouraging people to have grandiose creative ideas that change the world, let's encourage them to start with the little aha's that grow into big aha's.
  • How can you create more little aha's?

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year, New Creative Goals

As I looked at the list of my creative activities from  last year, I was startled and saddened how few there were. Yes, I started school, took a few art/jewelry classes, attended some exhibitions but none of those were planned, they just happened.

I have also mentioned in the past how much I dislike New Year's resolutions, because, well I never have time to do them in the beginning of the year and then I just feel bad for the rest of the year because I don't have any!

This year I've decided to be more intentional about my creative activities. That's why I've chosen to focus on three specific creative goals. The activities for each goal are meant to not be spontaneous but involve planning and stretch my creativity in ways that may have scared me in the past.

Here they are:
  1. Learn the art of glass blowing by taking a class at the Glass Bubble Project.
  2. Try improv by taking a class at Something Dada.
  3. Write some poetry and have it critiqued during a workshop at the LIT.
As always, I'll be blogging about my creative adventures during the year. I hope you'll join me!
  • So what are YOUR creative goals for this year?

Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Musings

As we close out this year and usher in a new one, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before: a yearly wrap up!

This year has been a wonderful one here at Dose of CREATIVITY, and a big thank you goes out to all of you who made that possible by reading, commenting and sharing.

Here are my favorite 5 posts from the year:

1. My Everyday Creative series in which I spent an entire year following The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel to see if I could really become an everyday creative person.

2. The Five {5} Creative Questions series. It was exciting to introduce you to an amazing group of women and learn their creative secrets.

3. I had the honor of reviewing Dawn Devries Sokol’s book Doodle Diary, which was a great delight. The book brought out my inner doodler and so much more.

4. After creating my first list of favorite creativity blogs last year, I wrote another one and included even more fabulous reads.

5. Finally, I created and went on my own creative retreat. I had such an inspiring time I am already planning my next one!

  • Stay tuned for a super-creative 2011

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Setting Creative Goals

Last year, I wrote a post encouraging you to do a mid-year reflection of your goals. The post was so popular (and useful) that I thought I would try it again.

Find some quiet time and ponder the following questions:
  1. How am I feeling creatively? 
  2. What creative projects have I completed in the last 6 months, 3 months, 1 month?  
  3. What creative projects have I started that need to be put aside or completed? 
  4. What new inspiration have I found? Where? 
  5. Have I tried to create in a new medium? If not, what can I try?
My own reflections on these questions focused on my ongoing collage challenge success, school design projects, new found love of technology and old glass, and the altered book class I took last week.
  • How have you creatively grown in the past 6 months?

Monday, June 28, 2010

What’s Your Creativity Ritual?

Starting back to school earlier in the month has been a great learning experience but has also put a damper on my creative time. With classes, homework, work and other commitments, I am finding less and less time to create.

My latest collages are now being created on my bed spontaneously in the middle of getting ready for work in the morning!

I realize that this is not the ideal environment to be creating in, so I am making the best of it. I have never been a person who has a ritual to complete before creating but am thinking maybe now is the time to craft one. The thought of being able to shift my focus and to utterly concentrate on my creative work, even if just for a half an hour, sounds divine.

I am wondering what other people do to get in the creative mood when life just gets in the way.
  • Do you have a ritual that inspires your creativity?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Favorite Creativity Books

I love reading lists, so after creating lists of my favorite creativity blogs here and here, I decided to try creating a list of my favorite creativity books. While the books I have chosen may not be considered classics, they have helped me in some form develop or further enhance my own creativity.

A Whole New Mind
by Daniel Pink

The first book I reviewed on my blog still holds a place in my heart. Pink makes creativity and innovation practical and challenges the reader to interact. Could be considered a contemporary classic.

Guerilla Art Kit
by Keri Smith

In addition to being the most interactive book on the list - she actually gives you ideas for getting out and expressing your creativity - this post is one of the most popular on my blog. A guide for anyone wanting to encourage creative thinking in a non-traditional way.

by Gregg Fraley

Since reading this book late in 2007, I've had the pleasure of meeting the author, Gregg Fraley, online. In Jack's Notebook, Fraley weaves a fictional tale using Creative Problem Solving (CPS). Truly a rare find among creativity books.

by Steven Pressfield

I learned about this book from a workshop I took many years ago. When I finally sat down to read it one winter, I was blown away. Such a simple concept but written so powerfully. Mandatory reading for anyone working on a creative venture.

The Creative Habit
by Twyla Tharp

Written by the acclaimed choreographer, the Creative Habit explores just that from a truly inspiring creator.
  • What's your favorite book on creativity? 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creativity is…Taking a Leap

In a previous post, I mentioned the concept for a series on Creativity is… I even alluded to a future post I would write on this topic revealing something about my own future.

Well, now is the time to reveal that creativity is…taking a leap. So how did I come to this conclusion? Several months ago a good friend gave me the idea to go back to school to study interactive media and graphic design. The more I thought about it, the more I began thinking about it as taking a leap. I would be jumping back into school, a place I thought I’d left for good 10 years ago after earning my MA. Then, I began to consider that any great creative idea is also like taking a huge leap forward.

Think about it. How many creative ideas have been generated when someone just stood still and didn’t take in any new ideas, didn’t explore new places and made no new connections? I am guessing the number is pretty low if anything at all. That’s why creativity is…taking a leap.
  • What has been your biggest creative leap?

Monday, April 26, 2010

More of My Favorite Creativity Blogs

Last year I created a compilation of the creativity blogs that I read and enjoy. Now, I’d like to share a few more blogs that I’ve discovered since that last post.

Creative Something
This blog is written for the creative person in all of us. Tanner Christensen covers a wide range of creative ideas and specializes in inspiration and motivation.

Creative Every Day
Leah Piken Kolidas is the creator of the Creative Every Day Challenge and Art Every Day Month Challenege. An artist, who inspires readers to live a more creative life, Leah encourages readers to join her in her Challenges.

A whimsical blog filled with tips, inspiration and motivation for anyone on a creative journey. Andrea Schroeder is a multi-talented artist with a passion for the spiritual side of creating.

The brain child behind this blog is innovator extraordinaire Mike Brown, who takes a practical approach to creativity, focusing on it from an implentation and strategic perspective.

Jamie Ridler Studios
A creative self-development coach based in Canada. Jamie Ridler’s blog is filled with creative inspiration. Also check out her amazing Creative Living podcasts.
  • What's your favorite blog on creativity? 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Creativity is…{Fill in the Blank}

A few weeks ago an idea for a blog post popped into my mind. It was about how creativity is a leap that you take. When I thought more about the idea, I remembered I had recently done a post on how creativity is about perspective, using an idea from my own experience to highlight how it was similar to creativity. I also remembered another post I’d written awhile ago on how creativity is about persistence.

And in that moment, a blog series was created. Creativity is… asks the question what is creativity like and what does it mean to you. So, I took to my twitter account to test the waters and see what other people think creativity is. The responses I received were varied and included:

...a lifestyle choice of curiosity & adventure from @bcre8uv
...imagination in action! from @creativityassoc what soothes my soul from @DeBelle77

Soon, I’ll return to that initial idea that creativity is…a leap to share the exciting things that are going on in my life that made me link the two in the first place!
  • In the meantime, creativity is…{fill in the blank with your answer}

Monday, February 1, 2010

Creativity is About Perspective

The other day, while taking off my earrings, I dropped one on the floor. I looked down but couldn't see it. The tiny earring blended right into the hardwood floor. I decided the only way to actually find it was to change my perspective by getting on the floor to locate it.

Voila! Within seconds of bending down and getting on the floor to look for it, I found the earring. It reminded me that creativity is also all about perspective.

Similar to me not being able to find my earring while staying in the same position, creative ideas aren't usually found by thinking the same thoughts. Creativity requires us to take a different approach to finding the answers, like I took a different approach to finding my earring. I could have stood there all day looking for it, but if I hadn't changed my perspective I would have never found it.
  • How can you change your creative perspective? 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Calling All Creatives: From Vacant Lots to Vineyards

(Image Re-Imagining Cleveland)

What is the role of creativity? We all know the function that creativity plays in art and innovation, but what is the purpose of using creativity to build and enhance our communities? I’d like to look at using creativity as an agent of change and encourage you to think more creatively about your community.

I first encountered the idea of creativity for change while an undergraduate studying art history. This is where I first learned about art movements, primarily in the late 20th Century, using creativity for social change. Years later while working in museums in Washington, DC, I encountered another way that the arts affect change through my personal interactions with inner city school children. For them art was a way to escape, but not change their social situation.

Now, I’d like to explore how the ideas behind the art (aka creativity) can generate community. But I am not talking about Richard Florida’s concept of the Creative Class, which while a wonderful theory only takes into account the people that use creativity for their profession. What I’d like to see more of is everyone, not just professional creatives, using their ideas to improve the quality of their cities and neighborhoods.