Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for September, 2008

The 6 Myths of Creativity

Posted by Plish on September 30, 2008

This article from FastCompany is amazing and eye opening.  Copy it and post it on your bulletin board at work! Okay, maybe just bring it in to your boss or team and discuss it.  What are your thoughts on this?

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Are you creative?

Posted by Plish on September 29, 2008

Creativity is not something that is passed on to some people but not others.  All people by nature are creative.  That means that if you’re reading this, or even understanding it because someone else is communicating this to you via voice or sign, you are a creative being!

“If I’m creative,” you say, “why don’t I come up with brilliant ideas?”

First, every day you are conceiving new ideas and using them to get through your day efficiently.  It’s just that they’re not high profile ideas in the world of corporate America.  That’s ok!  You’re still being creative! 

Second, if you think you’re not creative, or even questioning the fact you’re creative, you are breaking the link to your Creative origins and your creativity will falter. 

I invite you to go for a walk in the woods, or somewhere in nature.  Pay attention to that little corner of the Cosmos you find yourself in.  Absorb and soak up the experience of being a human in nature.  You are not outside of this unfolding dynamic drama that started with a bang millions of years of ago. You are a part of it!!  A conscious part of it!  

Cultures spanning the globe have referred to this universe as Creation – it is a reflection of Creativity.  As we live and love, we build upon and within Creation, we co-create and even pro-create.  As the universe unfolds in its splendor, we contribute to this unfolding!  If that isn’t being creative then I don’t know what is!

So stop doubting that you’re creative.  Accept it as your nature! Rejoice in it!  Then share it and your family, neighborhood, country, world, and universe will be better for it.

Posted in Brain Stimulation Tools, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Peppers, Nuts and Diamonds…

Posted by Plish on September 26, 2008

When looking for solutions it is often extremely helpful to look at other technologies that are similar.  Sweet peppers, nuts and diamonds actually share something in common.  Similar techniques are used on all of them to break them apart.

Sweet Peppers: They are placed in a pressure tight container and the pressure is raised causing micro fractures near the stem and the air to infiltrate the pepper.  The pressure is suddenly dropped in the tank and the tops of the peppers explode off carrying the seeds with them! 

Nuts: They are placed in a pressure cooker, the water pressure is increased, and the pressurized water seeps through micro-cracks into the seeds.  The pressure is dropped and shells explode! Instant shell removal!

Diamonds: Imperfect diamonds are placed in an airtight vessel and the pressure increased.  Air gets into tiny imperfections, the pressure is dropped and…yup, you guessed it, the crystals break apart.

The patent for blowing apart the peppers was issued in 1968.  The nut process in 1986 in Japan.  The diamond process years after that.

Think of all the time wasted between innovations.  If someone was astute enough to see similarities to other processes, these ideas would have occurred much quicker.

The lessons? 

  • Keep your eyes and ears open – be attentive to the world around you! 
  • THINK ABSTRACTION!  Look at the fundamental concept beneath the problem.
  • Read and don’t be afraid to look outside your area of expertise.  Patents are great source of creative information. Could be that someone else may have already solved your problem. 

Also look at tools such as TRIZ.  They can be helpful at arriving at solutions through categorization of abstract physical processes.

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The Problems with Traditional Brainstorming

Posted by Plish on September 26, 2008

Diehl, M., & Stroebe, W. (1991). Productivity loss in idea-generating groups: tracking down the blocking effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 392-403.

Mullen, B., Johnson, C., & Salas, E. (1991). Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: a meta-analytic integration. Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 12, 3-23.

Bernard A. Nijstad and Wolfgang Stroebe; How the Group Affects the Mind: A Cognitive Model of Idea Generation in Groups; Pers Soc Psychol Rev 2006; 10; 186


A perusal of any of the above peer-reviewed articles (and there are many more where those came from!) shows that there are some serious problems with traditional brainstorming sessions.  You know the type.  We’ve all been a part of those pull-multiple-people-into-a-room-for-hours-if-not-days-at-a-time-to-come-up-with-ideas meetings.

 The main issues with these types of meetings are:


  • Producton Blocking (People need to take turns to express ideas. Yes, this is a problem and it is the biggie!)
  • Social Matching (the lowest producing member of the group sets the pace for the meeting – believe it or not!)
  • Evaluation Apprehension (fear of judgement – shy team members are especially sensitive to this)
  • Free Riding (Individuals can’t really be held accountable in brainstormings so not everyone contributes.  It is an issue but very minor.)

Yet, in spite of the issues with brainstormings they continue to be done,most likely because most people never realized that brainstormings were inefficient in the first place.

Before I mention how we can improve our brainstormings, I’m sure many will say, ” Hey, we got the multi-million dollar idea out of a brainstorming!” To which I’ll respond, “How many more multi-million dollar ideas never even made it out into the open because of the inherent inefficiencies with brainstorming?” 


Think about it…


Can any of us afford to not benefit from the creativity of every individual to the utmost?

So…how do we make brainstormings work again?

The first way is to only use two people.  It seems that the above problems are minimized when only two people brainstorm with each other. Apparently there is something to be said for “bouncing ideas of someone.”  But when you only have two people, then you lose the effect of having more brains working on a problem.

The second is to go the ZenStorming route.  This method essentially permits everyone to create ideas simultaneously without fear of repercussion while also building upon each others’ ideas.  No fear of repercussions, no long meetings, and more quality ideas than you’ll know what to do with.

Think about it…

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Did you take your haiku this morning?

Posted by Plish on September 25, 2008

A key aspect to keeping a creative edge is to challenge your mind with new creative experiences.   One way of doing this is to compose a poem that strictly adheres to rules of construction.  Free-form poetry is not what we are talking about here.  We want structure for purposes of this exercise. One such literary form is the  Haiku – poems that are structured 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.   Traditionally haiku are about nature, but for keeping our brains finely tuned for creativity,  we can compose them about anything. 

Before composing your daily haiku look at something as opposed to just letting visual stimulation hit your eyes.  Really look at something.  Let your mind run wild with metaphor for what you see.  Pick some aspect of what you see and use that as the focal point of your haiku. 

Remember, it’s 5-7-5.  Try to have the last line summarize the first two lines.

It’s been my experience that with only a couple daily doses of haiku you’ll find yourself composing them quicker and more of them!  The best news is that they get better and more profound.  I look forward to hearing of your experiences with this!


Fountain within deepest depth

Refreshes the world

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Posted by Plish on September 24, 2008

Welcome to the NEW ZenStorming home page where you’ll get tips, videos, and resources for helping yourself, or your company, become more creative.  Creativity is all about the individual and it’s the interactions between us and our histories that provides fodder for innovation.  So join the discussions and thanks for stopping by!

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