Monday, February 1, 2010

Creative Buzz

Week of February 1, 2010

Yesterday, while helping to prepare for this week’s 4th annual Sarasota International Design Summit, hosted by Ringling College of Art and Design, the buzz in the room of volunteers was palpable. The play list of speakers is sure to galvanize any non-creative, as the infusion of creativity into the marketplace is certain to wow the crowd on Thursday and Friday. Of special note, is Sir Ken Robinson, who is a delightful and shrewd observer of the social sciences. His dedication to insisting that creativity belongs in our business and educational institutions is both relentless and powerful. His message is a good one.

Sir Ken Robinson is a consultant for the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. He works with governments in Europe, the UK, Asia and the U.S., Fortune 500 companies and worldwide cultural organizations. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick in the UK, and travels around the world speaking about the creative challenges facing business and education. This week, at Ringling College where I teach, Sir Ken is a featured speaker. The Summit theme is: The Art of Designing Business Solutions.

What have I learned from Sir Ken? In his book, “Out of Our Minds,” (which he was so gracious to sign for me last year), Sir Ken speaks to “Looking for Creative Ability.” He maintains that there are really no assessments for institutions and business that will determine a person’s creativity – that creativity is essential in any successful organization. So how do we figure out if our creativities align with the organizational landscape in which we find ourselves?

1) Brainstorming. In previous Marketing Mindfulness articles, I have addressed the importance of allowing free associations and ideas to spring forward (Charles Warren of Google does this with his team) without any censoring, critiquing, or questions. Allow a fluid train of thought and creativity to spew forth, geyser-like, without interruption. No blocking. No quelling. No stop gaps.

2) “Domain Specific Creativity.” Sir Ken speaks to both the medium and the environment in which the creativity is allowed to come into play. What is the setting that will most enhance one’s creativity to emerge? In his book, “Out of Our Minds,” Sir Ken offers this: “Some forms of creativity require skills that are specific to particular domains: to music, to mathematics, to poetry, to dance, to design, to engineering…” Being a keen observer of our work/life will enable us to utilize our best practices for eliciting our own creative flow.

What if we are a solo-professional without a team with whom to brainstorm; how do we infuse creativity into our work/life? It is possible to be a team of one who mindfully self-brainstorms in order to rev up our creative engines. I do this by painting with color and form; I literally PLAY with watercolors on my canvas. I know some who get creative when they clean and bring order to their external environment. Some elicit creative flow when they make lists, prioritize systems, or read thought provoking articles or blogs.

And very often I find that when we engage with another in our personal or professional lives, and specifically focus our attention on them, we generate a lively atmosphere of creativity. Identifying our strengths and creative traits is essential in our personal and professional success. We do this by asking ourselves questions; if we can do this with someone else – interview style – even better.

At Coach Poppy, getting to the heart of “domain specific ability” and what makes you most alive with creativity, is the cornerstone of my business. We all have an abundance of “creative ability;” we only need to access it. What can you do today, to get creative buzz?

Mindfully yours,

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