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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Focus on Learning: 5 Tactics to Fuel Your Mind

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As a grad school graduate, I’ve done a great deal of thinking about how to satiate my renewed appetite for learning and how to keep it alive going forward.  It was surprising how easily I had forgotten my own love for learning and never want to be in that position again.

Recent brain science reveals useful information about how we fuel creativity, innovation, and make go-forward changes in our lives by changing the way we think as well as the health benefits of keeping our minds active.  All are tied to fueling the mind and learning.  So the question to ask yourself is…

What are you doing today to fuel your mind and keep learning?

Following are five tactics to consider:

1. Read Different Things

Not just the usual books or reading material that you have always enjoyed, but stretch yourself to read unexpected topics and resources.  Subscribing to various blogs can be a great way to expand exposure to different fields and perspectives.  One thing I do is to always have a couple of different books going.  For example, I am currently reading about Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and how he built his unique cabinet (history, politics, leadership and team-building), A Passage to India (a classic historical fiction novel), a couple of books on complexity science, a book on how to be a successful “free agent” in the emerging world of work, a fun teen oriented fiction novel from a series that my daughter is also reading, and I just finished a book about the history of philosophy.

Read more…

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What Good Ideas, Coffee Shops, Incubation, and GPS Have in Common

September 27, 2010 1 comment

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Steven Johnson, a writer who focuses on where science and technology intersect, is coming out with a book about where good ideas come from.  This past summer, he shared some of his findings during a TEDtalk in England.  Following are key points:

  • An idea is not a single thing (a eureka moment, lightbulb turns on, a stroke of genius, …)
    • We think it’s that expensive innovative one-of-a-kind idea
  • An idea is a network
    • Really it’s what we piece together from whatever spare parts we happen to have around
  • Most great ideas are formed over a long incubation period (The slow hunch)

Therefore, spaces that creative an environment that will foster good ideas / innovations must:

  • Be more like a coffeehouse
  • Invite people of diverse backgrounds to engage with each other
  • Be a bit chaotic
  • Bring people together (The Liquid Network)
  • Enable people’s hunches to interact with each other’s

As a result, GPS is born out of a casual conversation, incubated over time through interaction of people from diverse backgrounds to be amongst the first open platform technologies; which you have probably recently used to find a coffee shop near you.

On a personal note, I often describe myself as an “oral processor” and am recognized as an “ideator.”   Johnson’s findings resonate quite loudly for me as I also craft ideas over time through interaction with other people.  Maybe it’s something that came natural for me, but it certainly is a pattern that anyone can replicate.

Think about how this would impact the way you:

  • design an office space,
  • set-up an online community,
  • re-arrange a classroom environment,
  • interact with your family and friends in a completely different way,
  • expand the breadth of people you choose to interact with, and
  • leverage the interactions with all people in your life.

It’s worth your 18 minutes to watch the video &/or peruse the interactive transcript available on the TED website:

or if you prefer to watch illustrated presentations, check-out this 4 minute version:

Gulf Oil Spill Design Jam 5/25-6/1

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  • Are you an innovator?
  • Are you a designer?
  • Are you an ideator with ideas swirling around in your head?
  • Are you an engineer?
  • Are you a creative collaborator?
  • Are you concerned about the short & long-term impact of this oil spill?
  • If you can identify with any one of these statements, then you are cordially invited to participate in a one week Twitter event to invite the collective creative expertise to step in and solve this crisis.  YOU CAN make a difference – participate in this DESIGN JAM …

    HOW DOES IT WORK?

    Post your initial ideas on Twitter using the hashtag:  #oilspilljam.  Use your blogs as a way to capture more details about your ideas and post the link to Twitter.

    Search the Twitter tag #oilspilljam, glance through ideas, comment, and build upon the ideas of others.  This collective collaboration is a platform that could produce critical solutions to solve the most devastating man-made disaster ever experienced in this part of the world.

    WHAT CAN I DO?

    Besides participating in the jam, you can spread the word.  We have the memorial holiday weekend coming up in the US this weekend, but time is not our friend with this crisis. It’s a simple three-step process:

    1. POST your thoughts on Twitter via #oilspilljam
    2. COLLABORATE by reviewing others’ posts and building upon those ideas
    3. SPREAD the word via whatever networks you have: Twitter, Blog, LinkedIn, FaceBook, email, etc…

    WHY IS IT CALLED A “JAM”?

    It’s like a bunch of musicians coming together in a jam session – each one being inspired by the other to collectively create something new that the individuals could never have created.  This concept was inspired by the “innovation jam” events hosted within the IBM corporation  (giving credit where credit is due).

    MAKE A STATEMENT!  HAVE AN IMPACT!

    Let’s see if we can generate enough ideas and enough buzz to capture the attention of BP, the US Government, and key decision makers.  With your participation and by helping to spread the word, we CAN make a statement and we CAN have an impact!  What are you going to do?