Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘improving creativity’

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 »

Brilliant Insights Into Creativity, Experience and Human Nature From Joe Howard

Posted by Plish on November 18, 2010

I came across this article/video over at the Jerusalem Post -it’s a short interview with Joe Howard, an archaeologist turned advertiser.  Amazing insights into creativity and creating engaging experiences.  So, I followed the links and came across a three part keynote address.  I’ve put all three parts here for your convenience.  Each piece is about 9 minutes long and contains observations into human nature, creativity, idea generation and more.   Do yourself a favor and watch.  It’ll be time well spent, and you’ll probably find yourself at least a little inspired as well.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Posted in Authenticity, cognitive studies, Creative Environments, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Creativity Videos, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Education, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Interviews, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Optimizing Your Environment for Creativity

Posted by Plish on February 23, 2009

Courtesy of creativeenvironments.biz

Courtesy of creativeenvironments.biz

Researchers have found that the color blue does a better job of bringing out the creativity in people while red drives accuracy.

Interesting study.  I would guess that while there may be cultural component to this (in China, Red is good luck and success), I think there might be some universal aspect in that blue is the natural appearance of the sky and of water. Blue sky is also related to country environments, and perhaps this is also related to the ability to be able to relax.  In other words, blue has alot going for it.

The bigger picture here (colored blue of course) is that our surroundings can and do influence our work and our play. 

Think of how stepping into a room with cathedral ceilings inspires an open spirit and how low ceilings feel limiting.

Think of how natural lighting seems so pleasing and conducive to work while fluorescent lighting seems sterile and cold.

Research in schools show that natural lighting increased productivity, reduced health problems, and didn’t negatively effect stress hormones.

Then there’s the Feng Shui school of thought-that room design be optimized for energy flow.  Regardless of one’s philosophical beliefs in Feng Shui, rooms and spaces organized according to it have a nice harmony to them-they’re pleasing to the senses.  That can only be a good thing.

Then there’s this fascinating work by an artist seeking to beautify  a New York subway tunnel. The entire paper talks about the interplay of  light and environment in public places.

Last but not least, it seems crime decreases in those neighborhoods that are kept clean and orderly as opposed to dishevelled.

The impact of environment is huge when it comes to creative endeavors.

So when you’re frustrated, feeling ill at ease, not feeling creative,  there may be some elements of your environment that are not encouraging to your endeavors.

Use the list below to do an environmental check next time you’re stuck and find a way to immerse yourself in the optimum environment.  

Color -Seek out blue environments, or at least brightly colored environments

Light – Seek out natural lighting, the light of day

Boundaries – Seek out open spaces and higher ceilings

Smell – Seek out those areas that have neutral or positive smells; pleasing without inducing hunger or displeasure

Temperature – If too hot or too cold, seek the moderate, temperate areas

Sound – Seek out music that inspires and elevates; natural environments and sounds.

Peace/Harmony/Beauty – Seek out areas that represent peace, external and internal peace, quietude, orderliness, flowing

What would you add to this list?

What makes your optimum creative environment?

Posted in Authenticity, cognitive studies, Creative Environments, Health Concerns, idea generation, nature, Nature of Creativity, Research, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cotton Candy Capillaries

Posted by Plish on February 13, 2009

courtesy of cottoncandy-machines.come

courtesy of cottoncandy-machines.come

Often the solutions to our problems come from the most bizarre places. This article showcases this phenomenon perfectly.

Making artificial organs has largely been limited by our ability to create networks of capillaries- the fine, tangled vessels that permeate our tissues and bring nourishment and carry away waste products.

Researchers Leon Bellan of Cornell University and Jason Spector of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital thought there might be a similarity in the structures of cotton candy and capillaries.  So they made a mold of some cotton candy, checked it with a microscope and found it had a very similar structure to capillary beds.

They are now working on using this structure to provide artificial blood supplies for implants and ultimately for artificial organs.  


Keep your eyes open! 

When you’re struggling with a problem and have your senses open, you will make connections where connections seemingly don’t exist! 

That’s creativity!

That’s innovation!

And the final lesson??

Don’t ever look down at a cotton candy vendor!



Posted in Biology, Case Studies, idea generation, innovation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Five Ways to Get Employees Thinking Like Entrepreneurs

Posted by Plish on October 7, 2008

Interesting blog post from the Wall Street Journal. 

I have seen industry violate one or more of the above ways time and time again. It is difficult in most of today’s corporate cultures to reward risk because risk is often tied directly into the pending rewards that have already been dialed-in to short term and often long term plans. This means that failure, which should be embraced and learned from in an entrepreneurial company, becomes the enemy and people get various levels of punishment instead of reward for creative thinking.  How have you seen these followed or violated?

Posted in Creativity Leadership, idea generation, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: