When President Barack Obama takes the stage on Tuesday night to deliver his State of the Union address, he’ll attempt to take the pulse of the nation and prescribe a cure. His message is going to focus on the economy and helping the middle class. But his prescriptions, as leaked to the media, appear to be standard political fare—boost R&D, build infrastructure, more clean energy, and better schools.
That’s all good, standard stuff but familiar stuff. The problem is that Obama isn’t a very creative president. He’s progressive (which is great by me) but not creative in the sense of sharply reframing our national narrative and offering dramatically different solutions to our challenges.
Creativity is the source of economic value. Creativity takes what money can’t buy and transforms it into what money can buy. We have spent decades focusing on efficiency, and it has brought us stagnating incomes and falling mobility for the middle class. It’s time to focus on creativity.
How could the president amplify the nation’s creativity? Here are four major reframes of our national economic narrative, Mr. President.
According to Bruce Nussbaum, author of a new book titled Creative Intelligence,”Creativity is learned behavior that gets better with training—like sports. You can make creativity routine and a regular part of your life.”
Here are 4 Ways to Amplify Your Creativity today.
1. Assemble a creative circle.
So you need to engage with creative people. Ask yourself, among your friends and colleagues, who is the most creative? Who brings out the most creativity in you?
2. Belong to a pivot circle.
Successful creativity requires scaling your new concept into an actual product. You have to pivot from creativity to creation. To do that, you need to find the resources to transform your concept into reality…I like to call them “wanderers,” people (or smart crowds) experienced enough to screen new ideas, pick those likely to succeed, and provide the resources to try them out.
3. Conduct a creativity audit.
So take a moment to take a creativity audit. What do you really know that might be of value? What does your generation, your group, your family, your hobbies, your obsessions give you that might connect to new technologies or other bits of knowledge that might lead to something new?
4. Map your creativity.
Being creative means leading a creative life. We need to reflect on what we do, with whom we engage, how we act in order to increase our creative capacities. One easy way is to keep a creativity journal and map our creativity.A creativity map can reveal your process of creativity. Or it can show the banality of your life and why you should change it.
How else can you be more creative today?
Musical Swings. Yes it must be award season for creativity soon…
“If you want to do something sharp and innovative, you have to know what went on before. Museums are custodians of epiphanies, and these epiphanies enter the central nervous system and deep recesses of the mind.”
“A lot of ideas come at the beginning. Most you should throw out.” - Gerry Graf
Joss Whedon took a detour from mega-budget filmmaking to direct a passion project, the much smaller budget film, Much Ado About Nothing. “When you work at something really hard, then working at something else is a vacation. I remember returning to work on The Avengers (after taking a break to direct Much Ado About Nothing) with a clearer eye and being more invested not because I have my art and this is my commerce but because the joy of storytelling is back.”
“Just as smartphones revolutionized how we avoid talking to each other and food trucks changed our tolerance for eating while standing on the street, the emergence of data science as a vehicle for expression is going to radically change how we create. It gives us a new way to tell the story of the world around us. Even if it’s just to find out how racist our current location is.”
“When you’re manic, you get more things done, but you also get more and wider ideas. And the more ideas you have, the more creative you are.”
Pow! What can the wacky sport of chessboxing teach us about creativity? Are you good at switching between opposing brain functions?
This is a branch of the Second City improv theater that launched the careers of Steve Carell and Tina Fey among many others. I had no idea they did public workshops until seeing them at our event a few months ago — the audience loved it.
Second City Communications applies the wisdom gained through improv comedy to help companies be more innovative and creative with their thinking. What Yorton has learned is that many folks in the business world simply lack experience thinking in uncritical ways. “People are expected to be good at this stuff, but it’s an unrealistic expectation given the amount of practice they get. So it’s not surprising that people aren’t really comfortable with it.”
Here are seven tactics to help spur uninhibited expression. With any luck, it’ll be raining innovative ideas in no time.
The legendary writer and actor recently enlightened a group of advertising types about the best ways to put yourself in a creative state of mind. Here’s what he said.
I’m no neurologist but I am now certain that the synapses in your brain like the familiar path. It’s fast and easy. Diverting hurts. While I consider myself an open-minded person, apparently I’m not as open as I thought. That’s like finding out you have a bad habit that you didn’t know you had. Great!
Finding topics that you can’t work up any interest in is not as easy as you’d think. But I was on a mission. A mission that led to mental stretching with subjects like…
The most interesting and exciting part of the show is the relationship that I have with the audience. So in thinking about doing this again, that was certainly the first place that I looked. And thinking about, “Well, if I’m gonna do this, it’d be nice to get a little bit of a gauge of if they’re interested and whether they’re willing to support the effort.” The Kickstarter video was a little bit of a test in that way, saying that it was going to be different than the original. And it was just an amazing thing. I set kind of an arbitrary goal of $50,000 and we hit that in, I think, eight hours. And it ended up a little shy of $150,000. I ended up using Kickstarter as a background to actually start brainstorming about the show itself and reconnecting with folks who were interested in helping. I actually wound up meeting an animator through that experience; he’s now animating user dreams for a segment.
Simon has said that he never wanted to see the camera “fish” on the show: ”I never wanted to see the camera know more than it ought to know.” The result is, for example, that during a conversation, the camera moves to the next speaker after he has started speaking, not before, as it would in a documentary.
A Norwegian academic breaks down the visual style of The Wire and in so doing, illustrates why creative integrity matters. Read on->