ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

How Would You Heighten The Experience of a Blooming Corpse Flower? (UPDATE!)

Posted by Plish on August 26, 2015

I share this little tidbit because it’s a rare event that will be unfolding before your eyes in the next couple of days at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  And when it unfolds, it’ll be a sight to behold and a stench to remember!

The Titan Arum, or Corpse Flower, a rare Sumatran plant, will be blooming in what could be less than 24 hours.

I’ve made a couple of visits already and am excitedly waiting for it to unfurl.

Only a couple more days (hopefully) until the #corpseflower blooms at #chicagobotanicgarden ! #cbgspike

A post shared by Michael Plishka (@zenstorming) on

This event has gotten me thinking about how else might an event like this be remembered?  We can always take pictures, but they won’t do justice to the whole experience of the flower.  What else could be done to create more buzz and more memories around an event like this? How else might you educate?

I think scratch and sniff cards would be a cool souvenir 😉   What would you do?

Here’s the  live feed archive of the livefeed so you can see it in real time!

UPDATED!

Click HERE to see a great summary page that the Garden put together, as well as this page that has some cool pics.

I was able to check Spike out the day before they moved it out of the limelight.  It’s a pretty amazing plant!

 

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Posted in creativity, Design, Education, Experience, innovation, nature | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

EPA (and all of us) Need to Walk the Talk on Earth Day, with an Emphasis on “Walk”

Posted by Plish on April 22, 2014

Earth Day is a perfect day for people and organizations to ‘walk the talk’ about being ecologically friendly with their products and services.  It’s an opportunity to be innovative, to be creative with ways of making an impact on the world, to show that it’s not just talk.

I was extremely surprised then, when I saw that the EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, is jetting on  a week long, Earth Day themed tour.  Seriously.  Jetting?  When the EPA “ask(s) Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives,” shouldn’t the EPA lead the charge by doing things to reduce pollution?

With a little technology and marketing savvy, much more could be accomplished with much less environmental impact.

What would you think of these ideas?

  • A week long walking/bicycling caravan, with blogging of the entire trip.  Participants would be on “Good Morning America”, and other such shows.
  • A week of Skyping various news, daytime  and cooking shows. (Cooking? Heck yeah!! How much food is wasted, and waste created, in kitchens?)   Punctuate the week by having an open brainstorming discussion with Ms. McCarthy to allow the public to share ideas for ways to be more green.
  • Spend each day giving an interview from a mode of public transportation that’s more environmentally friendly.

 St. Francis of Assisi is the Catholic Church’s Patron Saint of the environment (I’ve created a non-denominational pledge to protect the environment, based upon the one in the hyperlink, below) .  There is a saying that is attributed to him that says: “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”  In other words, a lived message is more powerful, and preferred, to a spoken one.  Not that words aren’t necessary, but they are the secondary means of getting a message across.

Since environmental change begins within the hearts of people who change their behaviors, encouraging others to take “simple actions to reduce pollution,” while not living that message, is at best a lost opportunity, and at worst, a damaging activity – hurting the message and the environment.

What do you think of the EPA doing this?  What would you suggest would be more powerful from a messaging standpoint?

THE PLEDGE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

I / We Pledge to:

MEDITATE and reflect on the duty to care for the environment and how our decisions can also impact the poor, vulnerable, and voiceless in the world.

LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of damaging the environment.

ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, and other affiliations-contribute to environmental damage through our consumption, waste, etc.

ACT to modify our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to environmental damage.

BE AN ADVOCATE for environmentally protective principles and priorities in environmental discussions and decisions, especially as they can impact people who do not have a voice in these discussions.

Posted in Co-Creation, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, nature, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Sustainable Technology, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ideas Aloft – A Reflection on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Posted by Plish on October 28, 2013

Winds rustled the trees and chilled me as I walked through the woods.  A marsh bordered my path and I was amazed by the volume of white fluffy seeds, swirling and dancing on the winds.

It got me thinking about the need for seeds to leave where the place they were grown so that they could begin again.  I thought about ideas and a metaphor presented itself:

What if ideas were seeds?

I filmed what I saw and wrote a haiku to get myself (and you!) to think about the process of getting ideas implemented, of the powers that need to be present to move an idea to fruition.

Alas, I’m writing too much. Here’s the short 24 second video.  Enjoy, and spend some time with the images and thoughts!

I’d love to hear yours…

Posted in creativity, Design, innovation, meditation, nature, Nature of Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Never Underestimate the Power of Beauty

Posted by Plish on September 15, 2013

Think about this, next time you’re designing a product, a service – an experience…

Looks Like Cow Poop to Me

If a fly lands on your food, or your hand:

Wave your hand,

chase it away,

try to kill it!

flies are dirty

they land on manure and waste…
King of the Hill

If a butterfly lands on your food, or your hand:

pause,

don’t move,

gaze in wonder

it’s a sign…

it doesn’t matter where it’s been

it’s here now

and that’s all that matters…

Posted in Arts, Design, Experience, nature, The Human Person, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Many Dimensions of Beauty

Posted by Plish on May 11, 2013

Sustainable innovation occurs when the mind dwells in the many dimensions of beauty,

where like breeds like…

A friend shared the following video on Facebook.

It’s simple and profound.

One could say:

It’s beautiful.

Posted in Arts, Biology, Design, innovation, nature, Science, Sustainability, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Music, Art, Creativity, Nature and More – An Interview with Jon Anderson of YES

Posted by Plish on February 13, 2013

Check out this recent interview with Jon Anderson of YES.   (There is a sign-in on the page but you can click the ‘x’ and listen to the interview without registering if that is your choice.)

He shares perspectives on life, creativity, nature, music and more.

From the webpage:

Millions of enthusiastic concert goers during the 1970′s and early 1980′s had a marvelous treat on their hands, going from one progressive rock concert to another. Whether it was a live concert or gazing into the magnificent dreamlike artwork of Roger Dean or the sounds of Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Nektar or Yes, the music evoked beautiful images of the night sky, where we could gave at the shining stars and create our own “Wondrous Stories.”

Verge Multimedia’s Steven Zuckerman had the opportunity to spend about 40 minutes in conversation with world renown singer, songwriter and artist Jon Anderson who spent a majority of his career as the front-man of YES, bringing the audience into a world of beautiful imagery and ideas that resonated in the hearts of the band members.

Jon told (Zuckerman) that the music begins with the creator, and, in other words, flows through him. Composing and singing songs about the earth, environment, peace, love, harmony and beauty are not personal songs for the composer, but they’re Wondrous Stories (no pun intended) to arouse curiosity and confirm that as human beings, as part of this place we call our home, (we) need to be in balance with Nature, for without Nature, we are nothing. We are all part of the same material.

Said Zuckerman, “(While I) originally penned out several questions before the conversation, I tossed them aside to “just have a conversation.” We hope you will enjoy the conversation we had.”

Enjoy!

Posted in Arts, Creative Environments, creativity, Great Creative Minds, innovation, Interviews, meditation, Musical Creativity, nature, Nature of Creativity, Play, Social Responsibility, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Innovation and Weeds

Posted by Plish on November 10, 2012

First on the scene – last to leave

Opportunistic

Propagate brilliantly

Efficient

Thrive where others struggle

Become the new ‘normal’

Difficult to get rid of

WEEDS

Who wouldn’t want their organization/product/service to have the above traits – to thrive like a weed in a field where others struggle?  Differentiating and proliferating, authentic and proud!

~~~

When I was younger we were on a family camping trip.  In the morning we went on a hike, escorted by a local ranger.  He would point out various plants and say, “Weed, or wildflower?” His point was that depending upon the context, one person’s weed was someone else’s wildflower.

Weeds are in the eyes of the beholder.

What do you think  Hewlett-Packard thinks Apple is?

Posted in Authenticity, Brands, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, nature, Service Design, Start-Ups, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Innovation (and Living!) Starts with Seeing

Posted by Plish on November 3, 2012

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

At the end of August I was watching a bumble bee go from flower to flower.

“Hmmm…” I said out loud.  I went inside and grabbed a camera.  You see, these bees didn’t go inside the flower.  They landed on the outside of the flower, did something with their mouths, went off to the next flower, and did the same thing.

Today I mentioned this to a neighbor who used to raise honey bees.

She had no idea what they were doing. She had never seen, nor heard of that happening before.

Now, I grew up around hostas and bumble bees my entire life, and I’d be willing to bet  that this particular species of bumble bee is not only doing this behavior in my yard, this year.  Yet, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen this.

I have been looking at flowers and bees all my life! But, what had I seen? What do I see?

How much do we really see when we look at things?

If we’re not seeing, how can we ever know – really know?  What opportunities for enrichment have we missed?

Spend some time consciously seeing.  Not only will innovation opportunities become apparent, your life will become richer.

 

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Design, innovation, nature, The Human Person, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Animals, Architecture and Design – Are We Losing the Connection?

Posted by Plish on September 22, 2011

There’s something about animals.  They can evoke fear, joy and myriads of other emotions.   Once upon a time, gargoyles and various other creatures were regularly incorporated into the design of buildings.  But now?

With the exception of clothes, how often do you see them in modern architecture and products?

Other than the Milwaukee Art Museum’s , Quadracci Pavilion,  which evokes a bird with its flapping wings and soaring demeanor, I can’t think of any other buildings.

Marketing campaigns have not been shy about using animals.  And for good reason.  It’s probably the same reason that older/ancient architecture utilized animals in both serious and whimsical fashions (and why people are attracted to furry, animal patterned garments).

Human brains are hardwired to respond to animals.

The above study shows that animals evoke pretty strong reactions in our amygdala’s – that older part of our brains that is largely responsible for emotional responses.

Which brings me back to my original question:

Why aren’t animals used more prominently in modern architecture and innovative products?  Sure, we use the mechanisms of animals to improve our products and ventilation systems, but we still insist on soaring glass and steel, monoliths with gold accents.  In a world that is trying to recapture a respect for nature, shouldn’t there be less techiness in our structures, and more ‘down-to-earthinesss’? Shouldn’t we celebrate our connection to animals in ways that doesn’t cheapen them or make them solely articles of (literal) consumption?

What do you think?

 

 

Posted in Architectural Design, Biology, Design, Evolution, innovation, nature, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Art Always Accessible? Help us Research This and Maybe Win $25.

Posted by Plish on September 12, 2011

I had some conversations recently regarding Bonsai.  Yup, the living art-form where trees are planted in pots and grown (metadesigned?) to look like aged, mini-versions of full size trees.

We spoke about multiple aspects of Bonsai, but one of the topics that stayed with me was the popularity of the artform.  How accessible is it to most people?  What do people really think about it?  Can it ever be as popular as say,  scrapbooking? 

Being who I am, I couldn’t simply let these questions go unanswered so I figured to get the ball rolling and start by getting at some basic perceptions about Bonsai.

I’ve created a very basic, two question survey to get at perceptions of the art of Bonsai.  You can check it out here.

So, whether you’re in to Bonsai or not, take the survey and you’re entered for a chance to win $25.  Be honest and upfront.  We’ll analyze the responses and repost on this topic in the beginning of October.

I could say more but I don’t want to impact your thoughts in any way.

Thanks for taking part in this project!

Posted in Authenticity, Contests, creativity, Design, imagination, innovation, nature, Surveys, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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