Thursday, February 22, 2007

My New Obsession: Mail Art

To wake up my creativity during this long winter, I signed up for a mail art class at a local arts organization. The process is simple. The teacher sends out assignments and you respond by creating something and (snail) mailing it to the others in the class. The catch is that you don't meet the other class members until the final exhibition of projects.
  • Join a mail art project here.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Are You Using Your Whole Brain?

I attended a library sponsored book discussion on Dan Pink’s latest book A Whole New Mind thinking it would motivate me to read the book. Well, I certainly didn’t need the motivation. Pink’s book reads in a breezy style and is full of thought provoking ideas.

The book is based on 3 questions that organizations and individuals need to ask themselves in the new economy:

1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
2. Can a computer do it faster?
3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?

These questions lead into his main arguments based on Asia, Automation, and Abundance, claiming that in order to flourish in an age of abundance, we must enhance our creative thinking skills that can’t be outsourced overseas or done by a computer.

The skills are as follows:

"Not just for function but also DESIGN. It’s no longer sufficient to create a product, a service, an experience, or a lifestyle that’s merely functional. Today it’s economically crucial and personally rewarding to create something that is also beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging.

Not just for argument but also STORY. When our lives are brimming with information and data, it’s not enough to marshal an effective argument. Someone somewhere will inevitably track down a counterpoint to rebut your point. The essence of persuasion, communication, and self-understanding has become the ability to fashion a compelling narrative.

Not just focus but also SYMPHONY. Much of the Industrial and Informational ages required focus and specialization. But as white-collar work gets routed to Asia and reduced to software, there’s a new premium on the opposite aptitude: putting the pieces together, or what I call Symphony. What’s in greatest demand today isn’t analysis but synthesis – seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries, and being able to combine disparate pieces into an arresting new whole.

Not just logic but also EMPATHY. The capacity for logical thought is one of the things that makes us human. But in a world of ubiquitous information and advanced analytic tools, logic alone won’t do. What will distinguish those who thrive will be their ability to understand what makes their fellow woman or man tick, to forge relationships, and to care for others.

Not just seriousness but also PLAY. Ample evidence points to the enormous health and professional benefits of laughter, lightheartedness, games, and humor. There is a time to be serious, of course. But too much sobriety can be bad for your career and worse your well-being. In the Conceptual Age, in work and in life, we all need to play .

Not just accumulation but also MEANING. We live in a world of breathtaking material plenty. That has freed hundreds of millions of people from day-to-day struggles and liberated us to pursue more significant desires: purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment."

  • Which one of these can you add to your work?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Why I Love Art-o-Mat

I admit I am a bit of an art junkie. That's why I think art-o-mat is so fabulous. For only a few dollars, you can own a mini-masterpiece and become an instant collector. It's truly an innovative way to sell and purchase art.

I can't remember where I first heard of it, but soon after, I tracked one down in Arlington, VA - which is no longer there. Excitedly, I bought 2 tokens at the Ellipse Art Center and after a decidedly long and deliberate process, I chose my new pieces of art. They stayed on my kitchen counter for years till I moved.
  • I've also made trips to art-o-mats here in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Why don't you make your own pilgrimage for art and start a collection?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Test Your Creativity

Some people think creativity is just for artists. Not so! We are all creative in our daily lives; it's just exercised to different degrees. For instance, a designer deals with creativity every day, but so does an accountant who gets dressed in the morning, drives to work or makes dinner. They all involve making creative decisions, especially if you encounter a traffic jam and need an alternative route.

  • Take this fun quiz designed by Dr. Robert Epstein to see how your creativity rates.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Inspirational Quote

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” - - - Charlie Parker
  • Create your own music.