Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

Warning: Creativity Ahead

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Creativity is disruptive.

My friend Leena shared that her "creativity has stirred up some unintentional panic situations." I believe it. Creativity is about change, newness, and something different. It can be scary, intimidating, and leave some feeling left out. 

One of the biggest impediments to creativity is fear. This fear is more about external/institutional issues then internal/personal ones. It's simplest definition and symptoms are we've-never-done-it-that-way-before-itis. Any change is seen as a indictment of the way things were done before and the persons connected to them. 

So, where to begin? 

Unfortunately, I have yet to discover a quick cure for this all-to-common malaise. What I have found to be a helpful remedy is:
  • listening to the incumbents (repeat frequently)   
  • honesty (applied gently yet firmly)
  • time (patience, persistence, and politeness)  

I've joked with the manager of the team I am on for an event we're part of that I should probably come with a warning label. It seems that somewhere in the timeline of this event I always manage to push at least one (okay, more like five or six) uncomfortable edges for folks. I suggest ideas and concepts that make perfect sense in Michael-land, but can be extremely foreign to others in the rest of the universe, usually because they've never been done before. I'm still learning how to best suggest the change(s) I passionately believe in for this event, and how to follow my own remedy above. 

I've seen progress, though, in both myself and in those whose edges I'm pushing. Now, I just need to figure out how to speed up time…

When have you been successful in creating in the midst of or in in spite of a fear-based environment? How did you deal with the fear in the institution?

The Limit’s The Sky

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Limits are a good thing. 

I often hear "We don't have the budget/time/people/etc… for this!" My recent response has become, "I know, isn't that great!?"
Limits force me to not rely on old tried (or tired?) and true methods. Limits force me to seek solutions in new places. Limits force me throw out the old rules and create new ones. 

Limits are freeing. 

If the options for what you can do are limited, then a lot of wrong solutions have just been eliminated and no time needs to be wasted on them.
In the spirit of embracing limits, I'm typing this post on my iPhone, using its smaller keyboard and screen as my limiting factors. I also took this post's picture with the iPhone's limited camera, rather than my almost-unlimited Nikon D300. 

Sometimes when I'm stuck on a project, I'll create some artificial limits to help me think differently. For example, since I tend to be pretty linear, I've limited myself sometimes by deciding "no rectangles/right angles on this one". Or, just using two colors instead of full color. These limits make me go in a different direction than I would have otherwise, and my work is usually better for it.

How can you embrace the existing limits in your project, and turn them into an asset? If you're stuck, what artificial limits can you place on yourself to get you going in a new direction?