Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

The trap of listening to feedback

“If I listened to feedback, I would have quit on the first day.”

You’re devoting your life to making something important. Something helpful. Something that matters. Mostly, something that hasn’t been done before, that’s going to bend the curve and make an impact.

If you begin and end with surveys and focus groups, all you’re going to do is what’s been done before.

We’re counting on you to trust yourself enough to speak your own version of our future. Yes, you’ll need the empathy to put yourself in our shoes, and the generosity to care enough to make it worth our time and trust. But no, don’t outsource the hard work of insight and creation to the rest of us.

That’s on you.

Reblogged from: here

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Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

When creativity becomes a profession

It often stops being creative.

Ad agencies are some of the most conservative organizations you’ll encounter. They’ve been so trained by fearful clients, they censor themselves regularly.

Successful authors are pushed by concerned publishers to become more true to their genres.

And the movie industry… well, it’s an industry first.

This is why so many bestsellers are surprise bestsellers. In the words of William Goldman, no one knows anything. But, even though they don’t know, the industrial protocol demands that they act like they do. Shareholders hesitate to give bonuses to CEOs who say, “I don’t know, let’s try it.”

If you want to be creative, truly creative, it might pay to avoid a job with the word ‘creative’ in it.

Reblogged from: here

Uncategorized

Are you solving a problem or creating a problem?

Uber solves a problem. You always needed a reliable way to get from a to b, and Uber does that, in many ways better than a cab.

Lady Gaga solves a problem. You have neophilia when it comes to music, and she’ll bring you new music to satisfy your curiousity.

Same thing goes for Zara. They solve the ‘what’s new in fashion’ problem for a lot of early adopters.

On the other hand, Uggs created a problem for people who aren’t necessarily fashion forward but want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Once “everyone” was wearing Uggs, these fashion-laggards had a problem—if they wanted to keep up, they had to go buy a new pair of boots.

In most successful business-to-business selling, the big wins come from creating problems. Once the competition is busy using your new innovation, the other companies have to buy it to keep competitive. Once other brands are using your social medium, the laggard brands do too—not because you’ve solved their problem, but because you’ve created one. The people in a traditional bureaucracy buy something new when they have to, not when they want to.

(It’s interesting how we recoil from the idea of creating problems. Of course, progress is about creating opportunities, and opportunities always bring along their close colleague, problems.)

Or consider the case of a non-profit seeking to raise funds or gain government support. Without a doubt, they have to create a problem in the mind of the donor, or there will be no funds or no support to solve that problem.

It is clearly more fun (at first) to solve problems because everyone is happy to see you and the discussion is simple indeed, “You know that problem you used to have? We just solved it.” The innovations that change the world, though, often create (or highlight) problems before they solve them.

Reblogged from: here

Uncategorized

Despite, in spite of, because… three ways to manage creativity

The people you hire will do creative work despite your management style, sometimes.

Or they might do it in spite of your approach, rarely.

But the most likely way to get the work you seek is to earn it, to have people bring their best ideas forward because of the leadership and guts you bring to the table.

You can’t demand creativity, not for long. You can earn it though.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

The 5 Most Dangerous Creativity Killers

It’s important to recognize these impediments to the creative thought process because many are insidious, and worse yet, most can be made on the managerial end, meaning we may be stifling our creative workers without even realizing it.

For those of us doing creative work, we must be mindful of these deterrents of the creative process so we can continue to put out our most novel ideas.

1. Role Mismatch

As Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Placing people in roles that they are not fit for is a surefire way to kill creativity. Although this may seem like a managerial concern, there are personal consequences here as well. Additional research has shown that we are at our best when we are “busy” (and pushed to our limits), but not rushed. In the wrong role, we can struggle to keep up and live in a constant state of creativity-crushing panic.

2. External End-Goal Restriction

Although self-restriction can often boost creativity, the Harvard study shows thatexternal restrictions are almost always a bad thing for creative thinking. This includes subtle language use that deters creativity, such as bosses claiming “We do things by the book around here,” or group members implicitly communicating that new ideas are not welcome.

3. Strict Ration of Resources

While money and physical resources are important to creativity, the Harvard study revealed that mental resources were most important, including having enough time.

Creative people re-conceptualize problems more often than a non-creative. This means they look at a variety of solutions from a number of different angles, and this extensive observation of a project requires time. This is one of the many reasons you should do your best to avoid unnecessary near-deadline work that requires novel thinking. Also, when we are faced with too many external restrictions we spend more time acquiring more resources than actually, you know, creating.

4. Lack of Social Diversity

Homogeneous groups have shown to be better able to get along, but it comes at a cost: they are less creative. This even applies to the social groups you keep, so beware of being surrounded by people who are too similar all the time, you may end up in a creative echo-chamber.

5. Discouragement/No Positive Feedback

It’s tough to continue working on novel ideas when you haven’t received any positive feedback. This feeling is backed by psychological research that shows people who’ve started a new undertaking are most likely to give up the first time things come crashing down, also known at the “what the hell!” effect.

Creative people thrive on having others impacted by their ideas. Without feedback, their motivation begins to wither and die.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

What’s the Point of Creativity?

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Creativity and innovation are hot topics these days, and they are being studied more frequently and intensely. Great observations have come of the attention, as Will Burns writes for Forbes: A coffee-shop study from the University of Illinois concluded that moderate levels of noise, as opposed to high or low levels, foster greater creativity. A study from the University of Stuttgart found that low levels of lighting enhance creativity. And then there’s my favorite, another study from the University of Illinois, that concluded that alcohol intoxication improves creative problem solving.

The attention is good, but too often creativity is studied and written about without examining context. Why would we want to be more creative? Why bother fostering the conditions for creativity? Why dim the lights, adjust the volume, and get drunk? What’s the purpose of it all?

The unspoken assumption is that our goal is to gain competitive advantage, to crush the competition, to win. But I believe that the best creativity comes from a much deeper place than the desire to win. It comes from a desire to contribute to the lives of others, either by introducing something new that improves the quality of their lives or by showing people that something thought to be impossible is in fact possible. When you change people’s perceptions about what can be accomplished or achieved, you contribute to their humanity in the richest possible way. You give them hope for the future — a sense that life is not the demoralizing, unchanging drudgery day after day that the world so often teaches us that it is. When you change the way people think about possibility, it is an existential experience. It makes them feel understood. More than that, it makes them feel loved.

When JetBlue said it was going to bring humanity to its business, it reunited two worlds that had been estranged for decades. When it put those TV sets in the backs of the seats, upholstered the chairs in leather, and gave everyone a little more room, people felt loved. “You know what it’s like to be crammed in one of those tiny seats for five hours going out of your mind with nothing to do! You’re one of us! You understand me!”

This, in a world in which people so often feel not just that they’re misunderstood but that no one is even bothering to understand them. Have you ever been on hold with customer service and heard a recording that says, “This call may be monitored for quality assurance”? Have you ever once seen evidence of customer quality improving as a result of all of that monitoring?

Increasingly, creativity — and the study of it — is divorced from the real needs of real people. Adding ever more gimmicks to a smartphone in the interest of increasing market share, rather than giving people something revolutionary that will make their lives better, reeks of something other than love and has no power to stir peoples’ enthusiasm.

So the question we have to ask ourselves in business is this: Why create? Are we doing it for the gratuitous sake of creativity itself, without any larger purpose? Are we doing it because Harvard Business Review writes about it all the time? Are we doing it out of fear? To make more money? To get on the cover of Wired? Or are we doing it out of a desire to improve people’s lives and transform their sense of what possibilities life itself has to offer?

I write a lot about philanthropy. Philanthropy means, literally, love of humanity. You don’t have to give a million dollars to charity to be a philanthropist. You simply have to actively demonstrate your love of humanity. Your empathy. If the purpose of our creativity is philanthropy — if it is love for our fellow man, an appreciation that people struggle in their lives, and a desire to somehow lessen that struggle and increase their joy, with a little more leg room or with an iPad — it will change the world. And that is the greatest competitive advantage of all.

 Reblogged from: here