ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for August, 2011

Looking for the Secret to Successful Problem Solving? Banish the “…but…”

Posted by Plish on August 27, 2011

Try this concept when problem solving, in brainstormings, in your personal life. 

It’ll work wonders.

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Posted in Behavioral Science, Best Practices, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, culture of innovation, idea generation, innovation, problem solving, Tactics, Traditional Brainstorming, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Holistic ‘Brain’storming – Harnessing the Body (and the Senses) in the Creative Process

Posted by Plish on August 18, 2011

We have a tendency to take our body’s for granted.   As a result we often ignore the connections between mind and body that have evolved to become part of the human condition.  For example, this article points out that when people think about the past they lean backwards, when they think about the future they lean forwards.

Now think about brainstormings you’ve been in.  How many people lean back in their chairs when trying to come up with ideas?  Sure, you can say that people are relaxing, and I’ll be the first to admit that a relaxed mind is a creative mind.  But, having people leaning forward in their chairs is easy to do, and if done in a playful, relaxed way, can’t hurt.

Is a topic important?  Perhaps having heavy-looking objects scattered around the room, or even having people hold heavy objects, can portray the importance of what is being discussed.  

Want people to feel warm?  Have them remember good experiences. 

Have them hold warm drinks  and chances are they’ll view fictional characters as friendly and warm (and vice-versa with holding cold drinks).

If you bring munchies into the meeting and you want participants to think in a more creative (versus analytical) fashion, serving a bowl of a trail mix may help.  Want participants to be more analytical in their thinking?  Bring in a bowl of nuts, one of raisins, one of chocolate bits….you get the idea.  (For more on creativity and our senses see this article.)

The point is, people are more than just brains.  People are holistic, embodied beings and when the body is brought into the creative process, amazing things can happen.

Give it a try, you don’t have anything to lose…

…but a whole bunch to gain!

Posted in Best Practices, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, The Senses, Traditional Brainstorming, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Want to build an Entrepreneurial mindset? Look to INDIE Artists

Posted by Plish on August 14, 2011

There is a growing consensus that when building a successful, thriving, innovative culture, it’s essential that people adopt the mentalities of entrepreneurs.   While there are many different facets, Bob Baker over at The Buzz Factor has summarized them nicely in this great article  (it’s worth reading to understand the nuances of what being INDIE means). 

In summary, people should be:

I – Inspired

N – Nontraditional

D – Determined

I – Innovative

E – Empowered

Adopt these perspectives and foster them in those around you and, trust me, the sky will be the limit.

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, Musical Creativity, Start-Ups, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Insights Into Innovation via the Way of the Mad Scientist

Posted by Plish on August 11, 2011

While at a client’s the other day, a colleague looked at the collection of new and failed prototypes, bits and pieces of scrap, notes, Ziploc bags with components,  and exclaimed, “Plishka, you’re a mad scientist, man!”

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been called that jokingly.  I’ve always considered it a compliment.  Yes, I know,  ‘bad’ mad scientists get much more billing than ‘good’ mad scientists so people tend to think of mad scientists as primarily ‘bad’.  But, since I don’t have people coming after me with torches and pitchforks, I can only surmise that I’m labelled with the moniker because I share certain traits with mad scientists in general – what we’ll call, ‘Common Mad Scientist Traits’ (CMST’s for short).

So, it got me to thinking about traits of mad scientists (good and bad), myself and about other creative people at innovative companies.  A compilation of CMST’s is as follows: 

  • Empathy for the human condition
  • Tenacious, passionate commitment to solving problems
  • Will prototype/experiment before committing to the bigger project
  • Customizes environment and tools to increase odds of success
  • Accepts failure as a learning opportunity
  • Leverages technology
  • Has assistants(team) that share(s) the vision
  • Finds ways to work around bureaucracy
  • Authentic – true to self

Does this list jive with the “Mad Scientists” you know?  How does your business empower  and foster these behaviours and perspectives? Which CMST’s do you have?

Posted in Authenticity, Creative Environments, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, idea generation, innovation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Renaissance Souls, Science, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 Tips for Building Sustainable, Innovative Communities (Chainsaws Included)

Posted by Plish on August 3, 2011

Pic Courtesy of coloradoouting.com

What do you do when the trees in your city park are diseased and need to be cut down? 

You could cut them down and dig out the stumps…

Or…

You could have chainsaw artists come out and convert the stumps into art. That’s what the folks of Craig, Colorado did in 1999.

The event was so successful it became an annual festive event.  (However, due to limited diseased trees (thankfully), stumps are now brought in and sunk into the ground for the artists to work on. )

I bring attention to this festival because it highlights 5 tips for building and sustaining innovative communities:

  1. There are no stupid ideas when brainstorming. If City Employee, Mike Shelton, didn’t suggest this in the first place, something special for the community might never have happened.
  2. The process of creating seems to naturally brings people together.  Don’t miss opportunities to bolster community around  creative output.
  3. Just because people aren’t directly involved in the creative process doesn’t mean that they can’t, or won’t have fun. Creativity breeds interest, and eventually, creative output.  Make creativity visible!! Then let people follow their curiosities.
  4. People take pride in who they are as a community.  Give people opportunities to revel in their commonality and it’ll create esprit de corps.
  5. Share who you are as a community and others will want to be a part of what you’re doing.

What else would you add?

Posted in creativity, Crowdsourcing, Design, innovation, Social Innovation, Team-Building, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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