- Arts and Entertainment Blogs

Friday, October 14, 2016

Need Help With Improving Your Creativity?

While my book MicroCreativity: Basic Training is currently available through Amazon, perhaps you'd like a more personalized experience. If you like the idea of creativity coaching, available online, please message me and I will design a program for you along with all the support you need for your efforts.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Now Available "MicroCreativity: Basic Training"

My new book explains my theory of personal creativity and how you can improve it by practicing techniques that people working in creative industries use every day. Practice makes perfect, right? Learn a different technique every day for 30 days and you'll learn how to integrate creative methods into your daily life.

Available now at Amazon; MicroCreativity: Basic Training

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Guidelines for a Creativity Training Program

Here are some guidelines for designing a creativity training program. The program should:
  • Be easy to disseminate to the creativity-challenged (e.g. inexpensive, any-time access)
  • Teach a collective group of skills beneficial across all fields (domain general). There could be components of a modified program that would be domain specific
  • Use divergent and convergent skills in conjunction with each other
  • Teach creative thinking heuristics
  • Teach problem-solving skills and tolerance for mistakes or unexpected results
  • Encourage the development of conditions where creative solutions can be achieved, for example, serendipity, a stimulating environment
  • Build support systems that do not emphasize extrinsic rewards
  • Use repetition of skills so that they become automatic and are incorporated into a normal daily routine

The Concept of MicroCreativity (TM)

The concept of MicroCreativity (TM) focuses first and foremost on the individual:
  • That the individual is the catalyst for creativity and subsequent innovations
  • That all individuals are capable of creative activity to some extent
  • That the individual is responsible for enhancing their own personal creativity
  • That the individual should have easy access to resources and training that will help them become more creative
  • That the individual should be informed of the benefits and rewards of creative practice, which include (but not limited to) improved brain activity, stress reduction, and increased economic opportunities

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Boosting the Economy with Innovation Districts

I came across this paper on the Brookings Institute site. The title is "One Year After: Observations on the Rise of Innovation Districts" and is written by Bruce Katz, Jennifer S. Vey, and Julie Wagner.

The concept is a good one. Create an area in an urban district that brings together a diverse group of companies and individual businesses that feed off each other in terms of innovation and development. Brainstorming at the macro level, if you will. This collaboration self-perpetuates by growing new businesses and creating jobs. If people are encouraged to stay in the area after hours this produces more opportunities to network and invites the cross-pollination of ideas. If located in a depressed urban area there is a potential to develop the area economically and increase tax revenue. Extend this idea further and now we have new educational opportunities, increased knowledge and a more motivated work force.

This isn't a new idea. Artists and writers hanging out together in 19th and early 20th century Paris provided enough competition and motivation to create new ways of thinking. More recently, technology benefited greatly from the concentration of like-minded businesses in Silicon Valley.

If the use of Innovation Districts, Artist's Colonies or Technological Corporate Parks stimulates the rise of innovations and personal creativity, then that sounds like a good idea to me.

To read this paper in its entirety, see the post here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Using Your Hands to Improve Your Brain

What if there was an activity that can help mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain, which also makes you happy and protects your brain from aging? And which, by the way, is completely legal.

This is the psychological state known as flow, made known by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his 1990 book of the same name. Engaging in hand crafts such as painting, knitting, and woodworking can produce this condition. Briefly, when you're engrossed in an activity to the extent that you don't notice time or whatever else is going around you, that's flow. And according to researchers, flow produces the same benefits as meditation.

Doing an art or craft we enjoy stimulates the production of dopamine in our brains which makes us happy, and if we do it well, it also bolsters our sense of self-worth. Since doing something by hand involves many different areas of the brain, we are also bolstering brain connections which help fight aging.

With all the benefits of being involved with artistic pursuits, why not try a little painting after a tough day at work? It may just be the therapy you need.

This is an excellent article from CNN about creating handcrafted work and how your brain benefits.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Idea Generation Techniques Part of Creative Process

Anyone interested in creativity gets inundated with a few million or so page hits when they enter that term into their search engine. Try the scholarly searches and specialty databases and you can add a few million more. Many of the hits are the ubiquitous "10 ways to be more creative" or "how to be creative" if the author is really bad at title writing.

As a creative industries worker I often wondered if there was an easier way to get ideas. This usually happened as I tried yet again to write original and witty copy for home window replacement. Or technical specs for industrial ovens. And, like anyone else, this was usually within hours of a deadline.

So I read all the creativity books that suggested I needed a whack on the side of the head or that I needed to wear different hats, a total of six. This is not to say that authors Roger von Oech or Edward di Bono were wrong, I was able to pick up some pointers and struggle through many a writer's block. In the end and a library full of self-help books later I had quite a collection of ways to generate ideas.

The problem is, those methods don't exist in a vacuum, they are just part of a process. Factors like motivation, interest, and social support can impact your ability to generate the results you want. And as for impending deadlines, those that swear they do better work under penalty aren't being truthful. You may come up with something, but it isn't necessarily your best work. You may be able to get away with less than stellar results for a while but you aren't being creative.

Creativity doesn't work on a 9-5 schedule either, no matter what your boss thinks which is why I think naturally talented creative people need to find work that suits their personality, not their paycheck.

For the rest of us, learn those idea generation techniques, find out what is the optimum environment for the projects you do, and make sure to surround yourself with people who appreciate you for the creative person you are. Everyone has creative ability, it's just a matter of to what degree and how you train yourself to improve it.