ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for May, 2012

New, Transparent Paint to Create Whiteboards…Anywhere…

Posted by Plish on May 23, 2012

 

A few years back, I blogged about IdeaPaint’s Whiteboard paint.

Now they’ve gone one glorious step further:

CLEAR Whiteboard Paint!

That is correct.  You don’t have to change the colors of your walls, or any other surfaces, for that matter.  Just cover them with this transparent, writable glaze and you’re ready to go.

There really is no excuse for not having a whiteboard space.

Thank you, IdeaPaint!

Posted in Creative Environments, culture of innovation, idea generation, imagination, Sketching, Traditional Brainstorming, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Leap – A New, Very Cool Way of Interacting With Computers

Posted by Plish on May 22, 2012

 

“The Leap” has serious ‘fun’ potential; and if something is fun, coolness and utility follows.

*I’ve already pre-ordered one. Stay tuned…

Posted in Design, innovation, invention, Play, software, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Censoring the Censor – The Key to Increasing Creativity

Posted by Plish on May 12, 2012

Inside your brain there’s a creativity censor.  With finger poised above the ‘Bleep’ button, he’s constantly protecting you from ideas that he deems useless, or worse: foolish.  He knows what every boss wants, what every friend thinks of you, what strangers see when they look at you.  He knows what’s best for you and the best way to get it.

On more than one occasion I’ve seen this censor, singlehandedly, dull brilliance and turn a symphony into an energy sapping drone.

Why would the censor do this?  Because he’s protecting you!  Give him a free rein and you will comfortably reside in the Status Quo.  You won’t look like a fool, you won’t push the envelope, you won’t feel uncomfortable.

Your creativity and the potential for great ideas will also come to a screeching halt.

Ideas build upon ideas – yours and others.  They are stepping-stones.  Remove one and things might be okay…might.  Remove two or three and you’re constrained to walking on one plane.

So, what can you do?

You need to teach yourself to not listen to the censor, but instead to listen to the ideas. When you hear the “BLEEP!” you need to ignore it.  Instead, write the idea down and play with it. See where it leads.  Nowhere?  That’s okay!  But, the very act of acknowledging that idea has now given you a stepping stone to another idea, and another, and….

Don’t get me wrong.  There is still a time and place to listen to the censor.  But, when you’re trying to come up with ideas, looking for new possibilities, exploring the unknown, your imagination is your friend, your light.  Work together with your ideas!

This is exemplified beautifully in this blog post over at Thoughts on Theater.  I’m going to end this piece with  a quote directly from her post, as it’s a wonderful read (as is her entire blog).  It’s about Academy Award winning screenwriter, Robert Pirosh.  He was a copywriter that wanted to become a Hollywood screenwriter. Here’s how he finally landed his dream job:

(Pirosh) sent the following note to all of the major studios, received a slew of interview requests, and finally accepted an offer as a junior writer at MGM. From there he went on to win an Academy Award and write for some of the best and brightest (including the Marx Brothers). Just another testament to the fact that you should not water yourself down in order to obtain the dream job. Do not censor the you that just might land you the gig.

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh

385 Madison Avenue, Room 610

New York Eldorado 5-6024

 

Posted in Authenticity, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is There a Will For The “Why?” – Uncovering Innovative Product Opportunities

Posted by Plish on May 4, 2012

One of the best ways to generate innovative ideas is, in some ways, the simplest (but not necessarily the easiest!)

When confronted with a problem, don’t just brainstorm to solve the problem.  Ask, “Why is it important to solve this problem?”

For example, if someone asks you to design and build a boat, the typical response would be, “Okay, what type of boat?”

But, if you really want to generate some innovative solutions ask him, “Why?”

The answer might be, “I want to get from here to Hawaii and I can’t fly.” Or it might be, ” Only rich people have boats and I want people to respect me.”  Or, “I’m going fishing with a friend on a small lake and we need something for us to fish from.”

Too often, we let the problems, or stated needs, morph into the problem statement without much of a challenge.  Someone says she needs a boat, so let’s build her a boat!

Occasionally that’s the right way to go. But, when we need to generate creative solutions, and we really want to shake things up, it’s important to find out what it is that’s really needed.

If, as per the example above, someone wants more respect, is a boat really the way to go?  Similarly, a boat to get to Hawaii is nice, but is it prudent? Why can’t the person fly?  And, there are other ways to fish.  Depending upon the body of water, a boat may actually be limiting! Is it needed?

Getting answers to these questions will open our eyes to alternate products or services that meet deeper needs.   We see that we may not need to design boats at all; we need a way to bolster self-esteem!

But, what if we are boat builders by trade? 

We then are confronted with two choices.  One, we simply get the specifications for the boat, build it and get paid.  The other choice is more of a challenge, but its rewards could be magnitudes greater: We stretch ourselves with the goal of delivering products or services that will meet those, until now, unspoken needs.

This stretching means that we may need to partner with new suppliers or even restructure how we currently do business.  That is why the title of this piece is, “Is There a Will For The ‘Why?'”

Finding out these needs and then acting on them will take some serious will power and maybe even soul-searching. The following are types of questions and solutions we might have to wrestle with.

How can we, as a company, help people feel good about themselves?  What if instead of building a boat, we provided a service whereby sponsors pay for the building of fishing boats for families who lost their livelihoods to a hurricane?  What if we sent “Thank You!” videos from these families to their sponsors, or maybe even made the sponsors part of their businesses so that they got a small percentage of the profits until the boat is paid off?

For those afraid of flying to Hawaii, what if we held a series of workshops for people on conquering their fears?  These workshops could include conquering fear of water, boating, flying, etc.

Similarly, what if we held workshops on, ‘How to Fish Various Bodies of Water?”  What if we partnered with another company to design a line of fishing waders?  What about creating a division to provide rental boats based upon the type of water a person intends to fish?

All these opportunities to differentiate ourselves from the competition would be lost if all we did was take a customer’s money and build a boat.

It ultimately comes down to answering the question:

Is there a will for the”Why?”

Posted in Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Emotions, Experience, idea generation, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Service Design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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