Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Harvesting Your Dots

January 26, 2015 2 comments


I never liked Dots. Every time I popped one into my mouth, I thought it might pull out a filling. But artistic dots, now they’re a whole ‘nother story.

In “The Art Of Asking“, Amanda Palmer movingly writes about collecting, connecting, and especially, sharing personalized dot-connected products as follows:

 Collecting the dots. Then connecting them. And then sharing the connections with those around you. This is how a creative human works. Collecting, connecting, sharing. This impulse to connect the dots—and to share what you’ve connected—is the urge that makes you an artist. If you’re using words or symbols to connect the dots, whether you’re a “professional artist” or not, you are an artistic force in the world. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected. – Amanda Palmer

If you think mining and connecting seemingly random dots is difficult, exposing the resultant products for all to see can be downright scary. The fear of rejection is always lurking in the background.

Amanda’s dotty insight reminds me of the greatest commencement address I ever heard – Steve Jobs’s speech to Stanford grads in 2005. In that inspirational talk, Steve chronicled how he unknowingly collected his dots over the years and then serendipitously connected them together into the idea that led to the birth of the world-changing Macintosh computer.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life – Steve Jobs

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m full of… dots. I’ve got a boatload of dots hiding out in the deep recesses of my mind that are just waiting to be internally connected and externally shared. This blog is one catalyst for coaxing some of those cleverly concealed dots out of hiding, connecting them together, and sharing the result.

Collect Connect Share

If you haven’t yet discovered the joy of mining, connecting, and sharing your personal dot collection, isn’t it about time that you made an attempt to do so?

The Bastid Jailer

October 27, 2014 4 comments

One would be insane to argue that legendary sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov was not a prolifically creative person. That’s why I rushed to read this essay he wrote waaay back in 1959 on the subject of creativity: Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity.

As expected, Mr. Asimov did not disappoint. Check out his keen insights on some necessary conditions for tricking the bastid jailer of creativity into unlocking the shackles that keep it out of sight:

Creativity arises from an individual constructing mental connections between two or more ideas which might not ordinarily seem connected. This ability to make cross-associations often comes from eccentric individuals (those willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense) with a good background in a particular field, and with a keen interest in solving a specific problem in that field.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Besides the shackles, our bastid jailer controls a powerful anti-creativity force field baked into our minds:

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues. To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

But we’re not done yet. Our bastid jailer is not alone! He has cleverly deputized the entire human race to be on guard against jailbreaks :

The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome.

Bastid Jailer




1D And 2D

In case you didn’t already know, I draw dorky diagrams often, really often. My motivation is to increase understanding by transforming a constricted, sequential, 1D word description of a new, interesting topic into a spatially loose, 2D visualization. To me, the resulting diagrams are not as important as the act of creating them. The iterative thinking and reflection required by the process anchors an understanding (which in fact may turn out to be wrong) in place. Maybe you should give it a try?



Categories: miscellaneous Tags: ,

What Is It?

June 3, 2013 2 comments

Ok dear reader, it’s quiz time! How does an enduring album come into the world? How does a revered painting emerge into being? How does a beloved novel spring forth? Please describe the “Process” in your own words….

Abstract Concrete

Fill In The Blanks

March 27, 2012 5 comments

Hit me with your best shotPat Benatar

While doodling around with my e-sketchpad on a quiet Sunday morning, I conjured up the series of drawings you see below. However, when I tried to make up a BS story that tied the series together in a semi-coherent manner, I failed.

Rather than throwing the series of pics away, it occurred to me to ask for your help. So, can you help me out by filling in the blanks? Think of my plea for your right-brained help as a constrained exercise in creative writing.

The comments section is now open! Please come on down and give it a shot.


<<blank 1>>





Multi-Pronged Response

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

To aid bloggers who’ve signed up for the 2011 “post a day challenge“, e-mails out example topic ideas to stimulate bloggers’ imagination. In “The Impulse to Create”, Daryl Houston poses the question “why do you blog?“.

Hmm. I’ve asked myself that same question several times over the past couple of years. I’ve conjured up this multi-pronged response:

  • To share thoughts, ideas, opinions, experiences with anyone who’s willing to listen
  • To learn more about the subject I’m writing about
  • To blow off steam (against imaginary BMs and BMWs)
  • To make stuff up
  • To manifest the unmanifested
  • To move toward the peak of Maslow’s pyramid: self-actualization

How about you? Is there something you regularly do outside of family and work for your soul?

Set Your Mind On Fire

August 28, 2011 2 comments

One of my favorite authors on the topics of creativity and innovation, Scott Berkun, is about to hatch his fourth book: “Mindfire: Big Ideas For Curious Minds“.

Checkout the innovative way Scott is employing to launch the book: Kickstarter. Of course, I’ve signed up as a backer. Maybe you should too?

Most Days, Some Days

February 24, 2011 2 comments

On most days, the daily view statistics box for this blog looks something like this:

On some days, it looks like this:

It’s the trend in stats snapshots like this latter one that thrills me – not the total number of views. When I see one and two hits on a bunch of posts, as opposed to a bunch of hits on one or two posts, it indicates that I may have actually connected with someone on some level. What it doesn’t indicate, is whether it was a positive or negative connection.

How about you and your blog? What, you don’t write down and share at least some of your experiences, thoughts, ideas, and/or opinions? Why not?

Do one thing everyday that scares you. – Baz Luhrmann

Berkun Myths

January 15, 2011 3 comments

Steven Johnson‘s book, “Where Good Ideas Come From“, seems to have garnered more accolades and publicity, but Scott Berkun‘s “The Myths Of Innovation” is also an insightful, well crafted, and surprising read on much-the-same topic. I haven’t read Steven’s book yet (it’s on my list), but I’ve read and enjoyed both editions of Scott’s book.

Here is Scott’s list of the 10 myths of innovation:

My faves are numbers 4, 6, and 7. Regarding number 4, one of my favorite quotes fits the bill:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. – Howard Aiken

What are your faves? Are there any myths missing from the list? What do you think are the “truths” of innovation? Are they just the inverses of the list?

One-Two Punch Combo

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out this one-two punch combo on creativity and innovation (which fit together like hand and glove) that I randomly stitched together from Chris “The Long Tail” Anderson and Scott “Myths Of Innovation” Berkun:

Scary stuff, no? That’s why I think that the first and biggest obstacle to self-realization through the “create and innovate” dynamic duo is yourself, and not the inevitable downstream naysayers that will peck and gnaw away at your innards. Nevertheless, the second obstacle is huge too, especially if you work in a big, stuffy, corpricracy with an endless queue of risk-averse, (dis)approvers in the way.

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